The World’s Ultra-Wealthy Population, in One Chart
Reaching the status of “millionaire” used to be a big deal.
But with rising inflation, a higher cost of living in cities, and changing perceptions around wealth, the six zero milestone doesn’t mean as much anymore.
Heck, there are over 16 million millionaires globally, and 4.3 million in the United States alone. Therefore, to really get a sense of the makeup of the world’s ultra-wealthy population, we need a more exclusive and finely-tuned indicator.
The $50 million Benchmark
Today’s infographic comes to us from the Knight Frank Wealth Report 2018, which you should absolutely check out if global wealth is a topic of interest to you.
The visualization breaks down the world’s 129,730 people that have fortunes of US$50 million and above. It’s a much narrower measure, representing just the upper echelon (top 1%) of the world’s millionaire population.
The graphic sorts these ultra-wealthy people by country and region, but also breaks down the change in population between 2016 (Q4) and 2017 (Q4).
The Ultra-Wealthy by Region
Here’s the $50 million and above population sorted by region:
|Rank||Region||Ultra-wealthy pop (>$50mm)||1-yr growth rate|
|#6||Russia & CIS||2,870||+26%|
North America still reigns supreme, but Asia is fast catching up and has already surpassed Europe in this measure of wealth. It’s worth noting that in the one-year span between 2016 (Q4) and 2017 (Q4), the ultra-wealthy population for Asia grew a solid 15%.
It’s also surprising to see that Latin America and Russia & CIS are experiencing such high rates of growth in their >$50 million populations, as well.
Top 10 Ultra-Wealthy Countries
By absolute population, here are the top 10 countries for the ultra-wealthy, based on the above data:
|Rank||Country||Ultra-wealthy pop (>$50mm)||% of global total|
|#7||Hong Kong, China||5,140||4.0%|
The U.S. holds about 30% of the world’s ultra-wealthy population, while China adds up to nearly 11% when including both Mainland China and Hong Kong in the calculations.
Switzerland (8.4 million people) punches above its weight class, hitting the #9 spot globally, while Canada takes the #5 spot despite having fewer people (36 million) than the majority of the countries on the list.
Mapped: The Wealthiest Person in Every U.S. State in 2020
The biggest state fortunes range from $0.3 billion to $117.1 billion (Jeff Bezos). See the wealthiest person in every U.S. state on this map.
The Wealthiest Person in Every U.S. State
There are different degrees of wealth that exist, even among the richest in America.
For example, a heavy-hitting millionaire might have the most impressive fortune in his or her home state — but venture a few miles across the state border, and suddenly they become a small fish in a much bigger pond.
Today’s map comes to us from HowMuch.net, and it shows the incredible variance in the biggest fortunes on a state-by-state basis.
The Rich List, by State
Below is the full list containing the wealthiest person in every U.S. state, based on calculations by Forbes in early March 2020.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos tops the list with a net worth of $117.1 billion in the state of Washington — meanwhile, the smallest fortune on the list is located in Alaska at just $0.3 billion.
|Rank||Person||State||Net Worth ($B)|
|#4||Michael Bloomberg||New York||$58.4|
|#9||Phil Knight and family||Oregon||$40.0|
|#17||Thomas Frist Jr and family||Tennessee||$13.0|
|#18||John Menard Jr||Wisconsin||$11.7|
|#22||Harold Hamm & family||Oklahoma||$9.7|
|#23||James Goodnight||North Carolina||$8.0|
|#25||Pauline MacMillan Keinath||Missouri||$6.9|
|#28||Ernest Garcia II||Arizona||$6.2|
|#29||John Overdeck||New Jersey||$6.1|
|#30||Ted Lerner and family||Maryland||$5.5|
|#33||Les Wexner and family||Ohio||$4.5|
|#37||T. Denny Sanford||South Dakota||$2.4|
|#39||Anita Zucker||South Carolina||$1.9|
|#40||Jonathan Nelson||Rhode Island||$1.8|
|#42||Jim Justice II||West Virginia||$1.5|
|#43||James and Thomas Duff||Mississippi||$1.4|
|#44||Gary Tharaldson||North Dakota||$1.0|
|#46||Elizabeth Snyder and Robert Gore||Delaware||$0.9|
|#47||Andrea Reimann-Ciardelli||New Hampshire||$0.7|
|#48||Mack C. Chase||New Mexico||$0.7|
|#50||Leonard Hyde, Jonathan Rubini and Families||Alaska||$0.3|
While all of the names above are considered extraordinarily wealthy in their home states, there is still a magnitude of difference involved. The low end of the list ($0.3 billion) would need to multiply their fortune by 390 times to get up to the $117.1 billion Bezos level.
To put this another way, the same degree of difference exists between the median household wealth in the U.S. (~$100,000) and a multi-millionaire with $39 million to their name.
Rising and Falling Fortunes
The above figures were obtained prior to the COVID-19 market crash, which will surely impact the size of some of the fortunes listed here.
Who will be most and least impacted by the recent stock market turmoil?
Even though Jeff Bezos has most of his wealth tied up in Amazon stock, so far it has been relatively unaffected by the volatility. With more people staying home because of social distancing, orders on online platforms such as Amazon have exploded.
Similarly to Amazon, the heirs of the Walmart fortune in the Walton family — including Jim Walton, Alice Walton, and Rob Walton — are also seeing Walmart’s stock price hold relatively steady in the face of volatility. In fact, some analysts consider Walmart to be the ultimate “recession-proof” stock, as consumers flock to discount goods in poor economic times.
Warren Buffett is also an interesting case. Though the stock market has certainly disrupted the real-time value of his fortune, that’s not the game that Warren Buffett plays. In fact, he is known for waiting for times of crisis to deploy his cash, and has a significant stockpile of money ready for just this kind of situation.
Billionaires like Sheldon Adelson in Nevada or Philip Anschutz of Colorado might be singing a different tune than some of the other above magnates. Adelson, for example, owns a good chunk of the Las Vegas Strip, as well as casinos and hotels in Singapore and Macao. Unfortunately, tourism-related businesses are some of the hardest hit in the COVID-19 crash.
Meanwhile, Anschutz owns the Coachella Music Festival and stakes in many professional sports teams (LA Lakers, LA Kings, and multiple MLS teams), which have all been impacted by the cancellation of big events and gatherings throughout the country. Like many others, Anschutz is probably itching for things to get back to normal.
Opportunity Zones: Aligning Public and Private Capital
Opportunity zone funds (OZFs) can help the neighborhoods that need it most, while also providing significant tax benefits for investors.
Opportunity Zones: Aligning Public and Private Capital
At the end of 2017, a potential $6.1 trillion in unrealized capital gains was available for reinvestment.
Throughout the U.S., unrealized capital gains have significant tax implications with enormous potential. Unrealized capital gains occur when the value of an asset has gone up on paper, but has not yet been sold for a profit. Taxes are triggered once the asset has been sold.
Investors can offset or defer these taxes in a few ways, including one new strategy: investing in opportunity zones.
Today’s infographic from Bedford Funds explains what opportunity zone funds are, their core benefits, and their potential impact across the country.
What is an Opportunity Zone?
Opportunity zones are U.S. Census tracts whose citizens experience economic distress.
Originating in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, they offer the potential to connect long-term capital with low-income communities across the country to drive return and impact.
How are opportunity zones chosen? The initial base is low-income census tracts, which have:
- Poverty rates of at least 20%; or
- Median family incomes lower than 80% of the surrounding area
The state’s governor or chief executive then nominates up to 25% of these areas as opportunity zones. Nationwide, a total of 8,700 opportunity zones exist, and 7.9 million of the areas’ residents live in poverty.
Overall, 35 million people live in these opportunity zones. There are a number of disparities between opportunity zones and notional averages across key variables:
|Poverty Rate||Median Family Income||Education*|
*Adult with Bachelor’s degree or higher
It’s evident these cities could benefit from increased investment.
What is an Opportunity Zone Fund?
An opportunity zone fund (OZF) is an investment vehicle that provides tax benefits for private capital to help revitalize economically distressed communities. Both operating businesses and real estate are eligible for investment.
Many investor types may take advantage of opportunity zone funds:
- Corporations– Also includes partnerships
- Accredited investors– Defined as high net worth individuals, brokers, and trusts
- Nonresident foreign investors– Only on capital gains earned in the U.S.
- Retail investors– Through funds that have lower minimums, though options are more limited
In addition to their wide eligibility, OZFs have a number of potential benefits.
Tax breaks on capital gains can be organized into three tiers:
- Initial Tax Deferral– Once the previously-earned capital gains are channeled into a qualifying OZF, federal tax is deferred until December 31, 2026 or the date the investment is sold— whichever comes sooner
- Step-Up In Basis– 10% of the original capital gains will be excluded from federal taxes if an investment is held for five years
- Capital Gains Tax Exclusion– Federal tax on capital gains earned within the OZF is 100% eliminated if an investment is held for 10 years
All things being equal, OZFs realize after-tax outcomes that are over 40% higher than a standard portfolio investment. For example, the potential after-tax value of a $100 investment after a 10-year holding period would be as follows.
|Initial Investment||Net after-tax value|
|Standard portfolio investment||$76.20 ($100- 23.8% capital gains tax)||$132.36|
*Note: assumes long-term federal capital gains tax rate of 23.8%, no state income tax, and annual appreciation of 7% for both the OZF and alternative investment.
While it takes a few years to realize these tax benefits, OZFs have long-term horizons to encourage sustained investment with a lasting impact. The result is the potential for sustainable and equitable wealth creation.
Although real estate investments have captured significant attention, recent regulation has clarified that operating businesses are also eligible OZF investments.
By investing in businesses, OZFs can have a direct impact on economic growth and job creation.
Ultimately, OZFs have the potential to catalyze collective impact through their scalable operating company and real estate investments. Working directly with community leaders, OZFs can help drive long-term rejuvenation from within, versus gentrification from outside forces.
Opportunity zone funds are projected to raise $44 billion in capital designed specifically to invest in this future growth.
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