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There Are A Million New Millionaires In The US Since Obama Took Office


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The US has added 1.1 million new millionaires since Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, according to a new survey of high-net-worth individuals.

Amid an election campaign that has been defined by fierce fights over the taxation of millionaires and accusations that Obama is anti-wealth, the so-called "1%" of the population grew by 29%, the equivalent of a thousand new millionaires per day, over the president's first three years in office. According to analyst WealthInsight, those high-net-worth individuals now hold assets worth $18.8tn – 34% of total US individual wealth, well above the global average of 29%.

"It doesn't really fit the campaign rhetoric that one side is against the rich and the other is for," said WealthInsight analyst Christopher Rocks. "The total number of millionaires is growing and will continue to grow whether Obama or [Mitt] Romney is elected."

The number of new US millionaires fell following the financial crisis. At the end of 2011 there were just over 5.1m millionaires in the United States – 165,360 fewer than in 2007, before Obama's election and the worst of the financial crisis. The recent rise in stock markets and signs of a recovery in real estate mean the number of millionaires will be back to pre-recession levels by the end of 2012.

However, their wealth will remain below 2007 levels until the end of 2013. In 2007, high-net-worth individuals' total wealth was about $20tn; WealthInsight forecasts that at the end of 2012 the number will be fractionally lower, at $19.9tn. By the end of 2013, such individuals' wealth will top $21tn, surpassing pre-recession levels. WealthInsight calculates that the total number of US millionaires will reach 6.1m by 2016, when their assets will be worth $23.5tn.

The super rich have come back fastest in the financial services sector. The number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals – those with assets in excess of $30m, excluding their primary residences – in the sector has risen by 12% since 2007. Manufacturing accounted for the wealth of 16% of the super rich, followed by transport and logistics at 10% and technology and telecommunications at 8%.

The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression had little impact on the ultra-wealthy. At the end of 2011, in the US, the super rich numbered 39,378 compared to 40,197 in 2007. Similarly, in 2011 the wealth of "ultras" was about $5.5tn, down from $5.6 tn in 2007.

Connecticut, which is home to many hedge-fund billionaires, experienced the fastest growth in ultra-rich people under Obama, rising 26%. The largest number of ultra-rich people were found in New York, with 4,363 people defined as ultra-rich. Texas came second with 3,828, according to WealthInsight.

"Politics is short-term," said Rocks. "The trend is clear – there are a lot more rich people."

This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk

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