The world’s population of the very wealthy fell in 2022 – first drop in four years

According to a report by Wealth-X on Wednesday, the world’s super-wealthy population fell for the first time in four years as portfolios of wealth were hit by shock waves in the global economy.

The ultra high net worth, or UHNW, population — those with a net worth of $30 million or more — fell 6% to 392,410 in the first half of 2022, a sharp reversal of the 14% growth in the year and the first downturn in UHNW numbers since 2018.

Three of the top 10 countries – the United States, Japan and France – have seen double-digit drops in their UHNW populations this year. China was the only country in this group to see an increase, 2.3%, to 51,145, according to the report.

Six US cities rank among the top 10 global cities in terms of ultra-high net worth population: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, DC and Dallas.

The U.S. UHNW population was 10.3% lower in the first six months compared to the same period last year.

However, the United States still had 121,465 people with at least $30 million in assets, more than double the UHNW population of second-place China, and retaining its dominance in the wealth rankings.

The combined wealth of UHNWs worldwide fell 11% in the first half of 2022 to $41.8 trillion. North America saw the largest decline of any region in the first half of 2022, with a 9.7% decline in the UHNW population to 134,530 individuals. In contrast, the number of UHNW individuals in the world’s largest wealth region increased 10.8% year-over-year in 2021, according to the report.

The collective wealth of the UHNW population in North America fell 13.9% to US$14.5 trillion, near its lowest level in three years.

In Asia, the UHNW population fell 3.9% to 116,080 individuals, following double-digit growth in each of the past three years. The combined wealth of UHNWs fell 10.5% to US$11.9 trillion, erasing all significant gains from 2021.

“Economic activity and business confidence have been hampered by China’s zero Covid lockdown policy, which has hampered production and disrupted supply chains across the region,” the report said.

Europe’s UHNW population fell 6.9% to 100,370 individuals, from a 14.9% increase in 2021. Collective net worth fell 11.5% to US$11.6 trillion .

Other key findings from the report:

  • Hong Kong remained the top city with the largest number of UHNW individuals, although the population fell 6.8% to 15,235; New York followed with 14,235 UHNW people.

  • There were six US cities in the top 10 UHNW cities, including, in order of population size, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, DC, and Dallas.

  • London was the only city in the top 10 to see an increase in UHNW population, rising 2.5% to 6,102.

  • While women still represented only 10.8% of the global UHNW population, this proportion has steadily increased over the past five years.

  • Education was the top philanthropic cause among UHNW individuals, with 53.4% ​​of women and 56.3% of men contributing to this cause.

The Wealth Report is the 10th edition of Wealth-X, a wealth data and insights provider part of the Altrata Group.

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