New Indian rich help lift global tally of millionaires to record; US still has largest number

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Want to be a millionaire? Move to India.

The number of millionaires in the country rose 26 per cent last year, the biggest percentage gain among major countries in a report out Wednesday showing the ranks of millionaires around the world at a record. The total number of Indian millionaires — 198,000 — is relatively small, but it’s fast closing in on Italy. That country had 219,000 millionaires last year.

The number of people worth $1 million or more around the world rose by 920,000 to a record 14.6 million last year, according to an annual tally from consultant Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management. It was the sixth straight year-over-year increase as rising stock prices lifted the value of personal wealth in a few key countries.

More than a third of new millionaires — 345,000 — were in the U.S., where a broad index of stocks, the Standard and Poor’s 500, rose 11 per cent.

Among other highlights of the report:

— RECORD TOTAL: The wealth held by millionaires globally also rose to a record — $56 trillion.

— RICHEST OF RICH: The wealthiest millionaires— those worth is $30 million or more — represented only 1 per cent of total millionaires, but held 35 per cent of the wealth.

— GAINS SLOW: It got a harder to become a millionaire as many stock markets in Europe and Latin America barely rose, or even fell. The rise in the number of millionaires — 7 per cent — was about half the rate of the previous year.

— WHERE THE MONEY IS: The U.S. is home to 4.4 million millionaires, the most in the world. Japan ranks second with 2.5 million of them, followed by Germany, with 1.1 million. China, the world’s second-biggest economy, ranks fourth. It has 890,000 millionaires.

The wealth report tracked net worth of individuals, with assets defined as stocks, bonds, cash, but not primary residences.