Visualizing the Global Millionaire Population
A look at wealth by region, fortune size, and city
The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.
When we think of the term “millionaire”, it’s only natural for our thoughts to be skewed towards the famous business magnates that have amassed giant fortunes, like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, or Warren Buffett.
However, the reality is that those types of ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) with fortunes above $30 million are a fairly rare commodity – and when it’s all said and done, they make up a very tiny percentage of the millionaire population as a whole.
|Fortune Size||Number (Globally)||% of Millionaire Population|
|$5mm - $30mm||1,500,000||9.1%|
|$1mm - $5mm||14,860,000||90.0%|
The vast majority of millionaires (90.0%) globally have fortunes between $1 million and $5 million, and you’re probably not going to find many of them with a sprawling mansion or a new Rolls Royce in the garage.
In fact, most millionaires drive a Ford.
So where will you find all of the world’s millionaires?
They are most likely to be found in big cities – places where they can use and display their wealth. These are also the places where big opportunities tend to be found, so it’s no surprise to see millionaires cluster in world-class cities like New York, Hong Kong, London, Tokyo, or Singapore.
Regions below are sorted by the total millionaires in each city. Data comes from the Knight Frank 2017 report.
Top Cities in Asia
|Rank (Asia)||City||Country||# of Millionaires|
|#2||Hong Kong||Hong Kong||227,900|
Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Singapore are the undisputed millionaire population capitals in Asia, but mainland China is coming up quick from behind.
In just the last 10 years, China has upped its millionaire count by 281% to 719,400 in total – and Beijing (with 122,100 millionaires) now cracks the top five list in Asia.
Top Cities in Oceania
|Rank (Oceania)||City||City||# of Millionaires|
Australia’s millionaire count has soared 85% over the last 10 years, thanks in part to red-hot property prices.
Top Cities in Europe
|Rank (Europe)||City||Country||# of Millionaires|
London is the millionaire capital for the world, with 357,200 of them.
Despite its relatively small size in comparison to the European heavyweights, Switzerland also has two cities in the top five: Geneva and Zurich.
Top Cities in the Middle East
|Rank (Middle East)||City||Country||# of Millionaires|
Not surprisingly, Dubai is the biggest destination for the ultra-rich to flock to in the Middle East.
Top Cities in Latin America
|Rank (Latin America)||City||Country||# of Millionaires|
|#3||Rio de Janeiro||Brazil||35,300|
Mexico City, and then the two big ones in Brazil (São Paulo and Rio), are where millionaires congregate in Latin America.
Top Cities in North America
|Rank (North America)||City||Country||# of Millionaires|
|#1||New York City||USA||339,200|
The U.S. has 4.3 million millionaires, and they are widely dispersed through the country.
The Knight Frank 2017 report lists five cities: NYC, Washington, D.C., San Francisco (incl. Bay Area), Los Angeles, and Miami – all of which, according to their calculations, have more than 30k millionaires.
Canada’s Toronto also has broken the six-digit barrier with over 100,000 millionaires. That puts the Big Smoke in pretty unique company, as only 17 cities globally can make such a claim.
The Road to Recovery: Which Economies are Reopening?
We look at mobility rates as well as COVID-19 recovery rates for 41 economies, to see which countries are reopening for business.
The Road to Recovery: Which Economies are Reopening?
COVID-19 has brought the world to a halt—but after months of uncertainty, it seems that the situation is slowly taking a turn for the better.
Today’s chart measures the extent to which 41 major economies are reopening, by plotting two metrics for each country: the mobility rate and the COVID-19 recovery rate:
- Mobility Index
This refers to the change in activity around workplaces, subtracting activity around residences, measured as a percentage deviation from the baseline.
- COVID-19 Recovery Rate
The number of recovered cases in a country is measured as the percentage of total cases.
Data for the first measure comes from Google’s COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports, which relies on aggregated, anonymous location history data from individuals. Note that China does not show up in the graphic as the government bans Google services.
COVID-19 recovery rates rely on values from CoronaTracker, using aggregated information from multiple global and governmental databases such as WHO and CDC.
Reopening Economies, One Step at a Time
In general, the higher the mobility rate, the more economic activity this signifies. In most cases, mobility rate also correlates with a higher rate of recovered people in the population.
Here’s how these countries fare based on the above metrics.
|Country||Mobility Rate||Recovery Rate||Total Cases||Total Recovered|
Mobility data as of May 21, 2020 (Latest available). COVID-19 case data as of May 29, 2020.
In the main scatterplot visualization, we’ve taken things a step further, assigning these countries into four distinct quadrants:
1. High Mobility, High Recovery
High recovery rates are resulting in lifted restrictions for countries in this quadrant, and people are steadily returning to work.
New Zealand has earned praise for its early and effective pandemic response, allowing it to curtail the total number of cases. This has resulted in a 98% recovery rate, the highest of all countries. After almost 50 days of lockdown, the government is recommending a flexible four-day work week to boost the economy back up.
2. High Mobility, Low Recovery
Despite low COVID-19 related recoveries, mobility rates of countries in this quadrant remain higher than average. Some countries have loosened lockdown measures, while others did not have strict measures in place to begin with.
Brazil is an interesting case study to consider here. After deferring lockdown decisions to state and local levels, the country is now averaging the highest number of daily cases out of any country. On May 28th, for example, the country had 24,151 new cases and 1,067 new deaths.
3. Low Mobility, High Recovery
Countries in this quadrant are playing it safe, and holding off on reopening their economies until the population has fully recovered.
Italy, the once-epicenter for the crisis in Europe is understandably wary of cases rising back up to critical levels. As a result, it has opted to keep its activity to a minimum to try and boost the 65% recovery rate, even as it slowly emerges from over 10 weeks of lockdown.
4. Low Mobility, Low Recovery
Last but not least, people in these countries are cautiously remaining indoors as their governments continue to work on crisis response.
With a low 0.05% recovery rate, the United Kingdom has no immediate plans to reopen. A two-week lag time in reporting discharged patients from NHS services may also be contributing to this low number. Although new cases are leveling off, the country has the highest coronavirus-caused death toll across Europe.
The U.S. also sits in this quadrant with over 1.7 million cases and counting. Recently, some states have opted to ease restrictions on social and business activity, which could potentially result in case numbers climbing back up.
Over in Sweden, a controversial herd immunity strategy meant that the country continued business as usual amid the rest of Europe’s heightened regulations. Sweden’s COVID-19 recovery rate sits at only 13.9%, and the country’s -93% mobility rate implies that people have been taking their own precautions.
COVID-19’s Impact on the Future
It’s important to note that a “second wave” of new cases could upend plans to reopen economies. As countries reckon with these competing risks of health and economic activity, there is no clear answer around the right path to take.
COVID-19 is a catalyst for an entirely different future, but interestingly, it’s one that has been in the works for a while.
Without being melodramatic, COVID-19 is like the last nail in the coffin of globalization…The 2008-2009 crisis gave globalization a big hit, as did Brexit, as did the U.S.-China trade war, but COVID is taking it to a new level.
—Carmen Reinhart, incoming Chief Economist for the World Bank
Will there be any chance of returning to “normal” as we know it?
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