By definition, a millionaire is an individual whose net worth is at least one million units of money. These units of currency vary depending on the country. Depending on the strength of the currency, being a millionaire may or may not be prestigious. For example, a millionaire in the United Kingdom (which uses the strong Sterling Pound) is someone who has plenty of prestige compared to a millionaire from Iran. A millionaire in Iran is perhaps below the average wealth level in the UK. Another example is a millionaire from Zimbabwe. Going by the financial state of the country in 2007, a millionaire would be an extremely poor individual in the UK and in most parts of the world. As of 2017, there were roughly 15 million high-net-worth-individuals in the globe, that is, millionaires with strong units of currency. Usually, this strong currency is the United States dollar.
Countries With The Most Millionaires
According to the Boston Consulting Group, the United States leads the pack with around 7,085,000 households being millionaires in 2017. China is in second place with 2,124,000 households while Japan comes in third with 1,244,000 households. The United Kingdom and Canada are fourth and fifth with around 821,000 and 485,000 households respectively. Closing the top ten is Italy with around 307,000 households being millionaires.
The high number of millionaires in the US can be attributed to several things. One of those reasons is that the nation has plenty of financial institutions that are always willing to lend. For anyone with a business mindset and a willingness to take risks, then America is a haven compared to other countries. In addition to this, the country, as is the case with almost all countries in the world, utilizes a capitalistic system. This system has allowed individuals to hoard assets while depriving people of lower financial abilities. In fact, this system allows millionaires to be created faster as the rich have more control over most of the money in the economy. To provide perspective on the issue, the common statement that the top 1% households have as much as the bottom 90% is almost true.
In the case of China, the number of millionaires has been increasing ever since the country did away with communism under Mao Zedong. After that, the country experienced a meteoric rise in its economic growth, which increased the per capita wealth by at least 10%. Publicly owned businesses switched hands to private businesspersons who got the opportunity to take advantage of the economy and amass massive wealth for themselves. In addition, the weak laws on tax, environment, and labor have helped these wealthy folk keep their millions. Coupled with the fact that China has high levels of corruption, it is unsurprising that the number is so high.
Capitalism And Regulation
From the above, it is clear that capitalism is the major reason for the growing number of millionaires in the countries on this list. Lax tax regulations and corruption are also additional factors. For example, Italy has recently come up with ways of attracting the rich by offering flat rate taxes every year regardless of income.