Germany is encountering an exodus of its wealthiest people, according to statistics gathered by the consulting company New World Wealth.
The annual report, which tracks the movement of high-net-worth individuals around the globe, found that around 4,000 German millionaires chose to emigrate in 2016, compared to just 1,000 who left in 2015. In previous years, that number had never broken four digits, the consultancy says.
Germany has the third-highest amount of millionaires worldwide after the United States and Japan. The amount of German citizens with assets of $820,000 or higher grew by five percent in 2016, beating the average growth of worldwide millionaires at four percent.
Germany’s exodus is cause for alarm when it comes to government tax collection, but its figures were low compared to European neighbor France, where some 12,000 millionaires emigrated in 2016, compared to 10,000 the year before. In 2011, the French government passed a controversial solidarity tax on wealth, where individuals with upwards of €800,000 ($848,304) are taxed 55 percent of their annual income and higher on a sliding scale.
As a wealth expert analysis expert told CNBC, the migration of millionaires can be an indicator of forthcoming trends in population migration, since the rich have more means to be geographically mobile. According to the expert, European countries could be facing such an exodus because of increased tensions over the refugee crisis and a recent slew of terror attacks.
The German economy is in good shape as of late, announcing a record-high trade surplus earlier this month. It puts these statistics in stark contrast with the country’s growing poverty rates, as the gap between rich and poor becomes unequivocally higher. According to New World Wealth, the number of millionaires has risen by about 50 percent since 2009. The latest figures from the German government’s Report on Poverty and Wealth found that one in five Germans lives in poverty and around four million citizens are heavily in debt.