A millionaire is a person who has a net worth or wealth of more than one million United States dollars, euros, UK pounds or units of a comparably valued currency.
In many countries or cultures, a certain level of prestige is associated with being a millionaire, which makes that amount of wealth a goal for many. However, the status of millionaire is no longer as exclusive as it once was, and so other descriptions, like multi-millionaire or billionaire have come into use to describe the highest levels of individual wealth. The increasing number of millionaires is partially due to inflation: a million dollars, for example, provides far less purchasing power today than it did in the 19th century.
Many individuals are millionaires on paper, but possess mostly non-liquid and inaccessible assets, such as real estate and automobiles.
Many lotteries offer prizes of a million dollars or more.
Forbes and Fortune magazines maintain lists of people based on their net worth and are generally considered authorities on the subject. According to Forbes' 17th annual list of the richest people published in 2004 there are 587 US-dollar billionaires in the world. The number of millionaires is much, much higher; millionaires form a small but significant fraction of the population within rich countries. There are entire neighborhoods in many developed countries where a majority of families have a net worth over a million dollars. In addition, there are some fields where a majority of workers become millionaires.
World Wealth Report
The "World Wealth Report" is compiled annually by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini.
The 2004 report for the year 2003 tells that "7.7 million people globally each hold more than US$1 million in financial-asset wealth, an increase of 7.5% over 2002." That's up 7.5% (a net 500,000 people) compared with 2002. World population growth 2003 over 2002 was 1.2% (6,299,763,405/6,226,933,918=1.0117) ( (http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/worldpop.html)) (estimated "midyear population"). Note that some of these people gained the status due to the weakening US dollar vs the currency which their financial assets are priced in. The US$ depreciated 16% to the € (1.05/1.25=0.84) during 2003 from ~$1.05 in January 2003 to ~$1.25 in January 2004 ( (http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=EURUSD=X&t=2y&l=on&z=m&q=l&c=)).
Note that this is "financial-asset wealth", not real estate wealth, or "net worth" wealth. There are two categories, "high net worth individuals" HNWIs, with more than US$1 million in financial assets, and Ultra-HNIWs, with more than US$30 million in financial assets.
- Ultra-HNWIs (Ultra-HNWIs Account for 0.9% of All HNWIs)
According to TNS Financial Services 8.2 million U.S. households had a net worth of at least $1 million at the end of 2004 ( (http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/Savinganddebt/Savemoney/P103041.asp?GT1=6113)).
At the end of the third quarter of 2004 the "households and nonprofit organizations" net worth was $46,681.4 billion ( (http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/Z1/current/accessible/b100.htm)). If divided by 131 million tax paying households that makes $356,347 for each (46,681.4/0.131) ( (http://www.irs.gov/taxstats/article/0,,id=102886,00.html)).
"L.10 Assets and Liabilities of the Personal Sector" net worth was $21,022.8 billion excluding "corporate farms" liabilities (31175.7-14035.2+1626.5+2255.8). If divided by 131 million tax paying houeholds that makes on average $160,479 for each (21,022.8/0.131).
According to the Swedish government revenue service (Skatteverket) 7,057,800 people declared income during 2003 (on form "inkomstskatt 1"). "Households and non-profit inst. serving households" net worth was 1,961,561 million kronor at the end of Q3 2004 ( (http://www.scb.se/templates/Publikation____113102.asp)), which includes "tenant ownership rights" (real estate ownership) of 510,002 million kronor. Excluding assets in "collective insurance" (government pensions funds), the net worth is 1,289,812 (1,961,561-671,749), that's 181,664 kronor ($25,000, 7% of amerikans net worth) for each person declaring income (1,289,812/7.1).
- World Wealth Report (http://www.ml.com/about/press_release/20040615-1_world_wealth_pr.htm)