Opaque Affluence

Hard-To-Find Millionaires

Elegantly dressed women watching horse racing at Ascot racecourse in Berkshire source Britain On View Getty Images 61668215
Rich or super rich?
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Precise and accurate information about such things as the number of super-rich people and their holdings now and in the past can provide valuable insights about economies.

  • Facts


    • Last year, consulting firm PwC and Swiss bank USB issued a report that said the world had 289 billionaires in 1995. In 2015, the number had dropped to 126.
    • A new study by Boston Consulting Group says global households’ private wealth rose by 5.2 percent to $168 trillion (€150 trillion) in 2015.
    • BCG has calculated that in 2014, 679 individuals in Germany had private assets of more than $100 million each.
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It makes quite a splash whenever a consulting firm, bank or asset-management company publishes details about the world’s super-rich.

For example, a new study by Boston Consulting Group calculates that private households owned $168 trillion (€150 trillion) in 2015, up 5.2 percent compared with a year earlier.

In Germany, the top 1.1 percent of the population, or 900,000 citizens, owned 27.6 percent of the private assets in the country last year. By 2020, that wealthy group of German people is expected to grow to 1.6 percent of the population and will own 31.5 percent of private assets.

Many studies about the ultra-wealthy make for juicy stories and headlines but are based on pseudo-precise data.

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