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Millionaires and Billionaires Around the World

Updated on May 21, 2014
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Rich people across countries

The number of millionaires in a country indicates the opportunity for wealth accumulation, the dynamism of the economic system and the overall standard of living enjoyed by everyone.

These are the top 20 countries of millionaires in 2010, ranked by the proportion of the population with $1 million USD or more in wealth:

  1. Singapore, 15.5%
  2. Switzerland, 9.9%
  3. Qatar, 8.9%
  4. Hong Kong, 8.6%
  5. Kuwait, 8.5%
  6. United Arab Emirates, 5%
  7. United States, 4.5% (5.2 million millionaire households)
  8. Taiwan, 3.6%
  9. Israel, 3.4%
  10. Belgium, 3.1%
  11. Japan, 3%
  12. Bahrain, 2.6%
  13. Ireland, 2.3%
  14. Netherlands, 2.3%
  15. United Kingdom, 2.2%
  16. Oman, 2.1%
  17. Saudi Arabia, 2%
  18. Denmark, 1.7%
  19. Australia, 1.6%
  20. Canada, 1.4%

The United States stands out in the top ten for the size of its population. The other top ten all have much smaller populations. All of them are under 10 million, with the exception of Taiwan (23 million) and Belgium (slightly over 10 million). By contrast, the American population is over 313 million in 2011. The United States has the third highest population in the world, making its placement in the top ten in millionaire concentration particularly striking. It is indicative of the significant opportunity for wealth accumulation enjoyed by Americans, relative to most other countries.

Conspicuously absent from the top twenty is China, the second largest and soon-to-be largest economy on earth. This is a function of the extremely high inequality in the Chinese economy. Despite its massive size, not even 1.4% of the Chinese population enjoy $1 million in wealth.

According to the Boston Consulting Group, total global wealth stands at about $122 trillion. Of this wealth, 39% is owned by just 0.9% of global households. There are a total of 12.5 million households in the world with $1 million or more in wealth. And of these households, close to half--5.2 million--are in the United States.

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Billionaires by country and city

These are the countries with the most billionaires, in 2011:

  1. United States, 412 billionaires
  2. China, 115
  3. Russia, 101
  4. India, 55
  5. Germany, 52
  6. Turkey, 38
  7. Hong Kong, 36
  8. UK, 33
  9. Brazil, 30
  10. Japan, 26

And these are the top ten cities with the most billionaires:

  1. Moscow, 79 billionaires
  2. New York, 59
  3. London, 41
  4. Hong Kong, 40
  5. Istanbul, 36
  6. Mumbai, 21
  7. Sao Paulo, 21
  8. Taipei, 19
  9. Los Angeles, 19
  10. Beijing, 19

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Wealth around the world

A high concentration of millionaires comes from a number of factors. It certainly helps if a country has a relatively small population, as each additional millionaire will increase the proportion significantly. A culture that values enterprise and the pursuit of wealth accumulation for everyone--not just a small group--is important. The private marketplace is essential to give individuals the freedom and opportunity to pursue financial success.

Government also plays an important role, from education to infrastructure to regulation. Singapore, the country with the highest proportion of millionaires, has a government famous for its benevolent authoritarianism in economic affairs. It features, among other things, mandatory retirement accounts for many workers, potentially instilling a strong sense of thrift and saving, qualities which are essential to financial prosperity.

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Almost all of the countries on the millionaire list are known for their effective government policies and robust and dynamic economic system. By contrast, the list of countries with the most billionaires features more diversity. India, which has a government far more affected by corruption than Germany, nevertheless has slightly more billionaires.

Billionaires are exceedingly powerful in their industry or sector, and enjoy wealth that is not typical even of the very rich. Thus they do not necessarily represent the economic system's ability to deliver wealth to large numbers of people, but rather isolated pockets of massive opportunity in the system.

The intersection of cultural values, effective government policies, and private initiative, has a significant impact on the wealth of a population. Learning about the successes of wealthy nations can help us understand the underlying causes of prosperity.

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    • sameer.anand profile image

      Sameer Anand 5 years ago from Pilani (India)

      Nice piece of information secularist10!!!

      Thanks for sharing!!!

    • secularist10 profile image
      Author

      secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

      Thanks, Sameer! Glad you liked it.

    • Beverly Stevens profile image

      Beverly Stevens 5 years ago from College Station

      Very informative article--thanks for sharing.

    • secularist10 profile image
      Author

      secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

      You're welcome, Beverly, glad you enjoyed it.

    • Evalyn Dae profile image

      Evalyn Dae 5 years ago from MI

      Great article, very informative and interesting!

    • secularist10 profile image
      Author

      secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

      Thanks, Evalyn. It is certainly an interesting topic.

    • jasontapz profile image

      jasontapz 5 years ago

      A Great TOPIC to Reflect...

      Same as this...

      https://hubpages.com/money/If-You-Want-to-Be-Rich-...

    • secularist10 profile image
      Author

      secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

      Thanks, Jason

    • profile image

      madmilker 5 years ago

      Possum Hollow has one person worth $1,784.31 and that's $1,785.00 less than what my bird dog Licker is worth.

      It don't matter how wealthy one becomes here on Earth....

      none will leave this place alive to enjoy it later....

      Job 1:1-22

    • secularist10 profile image
      Author

      secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

      Thanks for coming, Madmilker. So if my math is right, that makes your dog worth $3,569.31. Sounds like a pretty expensive dog. You won't become a billionaire by spending money like that.

    • htodd profile image

      htodd 5 years ago from United States

      Thanks for that ..This is really interesting

    • profile image

      cathy 5 years ago

      inspiring really,thanks

    • profile image

      elene 4 years ago

      so it was very interesting story about billioners :))

    • secularist10 profile image
      Author

      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      Glad you liked it!

    • sixfigureheels profile image

      sixfigureheels 4 years ago

      I loved your post it really made you get inspired!

    • secularist10 profile image
      Author

      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      Thanks, six figure heels, glad you enjoyed it. And great screen name, by the way.

    • sixfigureheels profile image

      sixfigureheels 4 years ago

      Thanks!

    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 4 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      very interesting statistics. good to know, thanks.

    • secularist10 profile image
      Author

      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      Thanks Ruby, glad you liked it.

    • celebassistant profile image

      Brian Daniel 2 years ago from Los Angeles

      Great article. The billionaires keep growing and growing. As of 2014, there are more than 1,500 worldwide.

    • secularist10 profile image
      Author

      secularist10 2 years ago from New York City

      Thanks! Interesting info. China especially seems to be producing a lot of ultra-rich.

    • profile image

      Taniesha Smothers 15 months ago

      I really need help I am a single parent of two I work but not help of a start to get on my feet can anyone help us

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