Barron’s: Global ultrahigh-net-worth population has fallen in 2022 — first decline in four years


The global ultrahigh-net-worth population has fallen for the first time in four years as wealth portfolios have been hit by shockwaves across the global economy, according to a report released Wednesday by Wealth-X.

The ultrahigh-net-worth, or UHNW, population — those with a net worth of $30 million or more — fell 6% to 392,410 in the first half of 2022, a sharp reversal of last year’s 14% growth and the first downturn in UHNW numbers since 2018.

Three of the top 10 countries — the U.S., Japan and France — have experienced a double-digit fall of their UHNW population this year. China was the only country in this group to see a rise, at  2.3%, to 51,145, according to the report.

“Six U.S. cities rank among the global top 10 cities in terms of ultrahigh-net-worth population: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Dallas. ”

The U.S. UHNW population was 10.3% lower in the first six months than the same period of last year.

However, the U.S. still counted 121,465 individuals with at least US$30 million in assets, more than double the UHNW population in China, in second place, and retaining its dominance in the wealth ranking.

The combined UHNW wealth globally fell 11% in the first half of 2022 to US$41.8 trillion. North America saw the most significant fall of any region in the first half of 2022, with a 9.7% fall in the UHNW population to 134,530 individuals. By contrast, the number of UHNW individuals in the world’s largest wealth region increased 10.8% year over year in 2021, according to the report.

The collective wealth of the UHNW population in North America fell 13.9% to US$14.5 trillion, close to a three-year low.

In Asia, the UHNW population fell 3.9% to 116,080 individuals, following double-digit growth in each of the last three years. Combined UHNW wealth shrank 10.5% to US$11.9 trillion, erasing all the strong gains of 2021. 

“Economic activity and business confidence were constrained by China’s zero-Covid lockdown policy, which hindered production and disrupted supply chains across the region,” the report said.

Europe’s UHNW population fell 6.9% to 100,370 individuals, compared to a 14.9% rise in 2021. The collective net worth fell 11.5% to US$11.6 trillion. 

Other key findings in the report:

Hong Kong remained the top city with the highest number of UHNW individuals, although the population fell 6.8% to 15,235; New York followed with 14,235 UHNW individuals.

There were six U.S. cities in the top 10 UHNW cities, including, in order of the population size, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Dallas.

London was the only city in the top 10 that saw a rise in the UHNW population, increasing 2.5% to 6,102.

While women still only accounted for 10.8% of the world’s UHNW population, the portion has been steadily increasing over the past five years.

Education was the leading philanthropic cause among the UHNW individuals, with 53.4% women and 56.3% men contributing to this cause.

The wealth report is the 10th edition by Wealth-X, a wealth data and insight provider as part of the Altrata Group.

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