The population of millionaires in America is growing again. In 2012, the United States saw more than than 300,000 new millionaires.
The Spectrem Group, a wealth research firm in Chicago, said that there are currently 8.99 million households in America who have a net worth of more than $1 million. That number isn’t quite as high as the all-time record set in 2006 but it’s about 300,000 more millionaires than in 2011.
The United States saw its most millionaires in 2006 when 9.2 million households had a net worth (not including primary residence) of more than $1 million.
But this isn’t exactly good news for middle America. According Spectrem, the number of households with a net worth of $500,000 or more has decreased as the number of new millionaires has increased.
In 2007, there were 15.7 million households with a net worth of more than $500,000. That number has dropped 1.4 million and currently stands at 14.3 million.
So why were there 300,000 new millionaires in 2012 but a smaller number of households with $500,000?
According to Catherine McBreen, president of Spectrem Group’s Millionaire Corner, it all has to do with available money. Households with close to a million likely had more money available to use in the stock market. During a shaky few years in the American economy, many people were forced to pull their money out of the stock market. Now that there’s a little bit of a rebound, people who could afford to stay in the market are seeing a payoff.
McBreen said: “The reason the affluents haven’t recovered as quickly is their stock holdings. Many of them simply pulled out of the market. They have more cash. But more of the high-net-worth households stayed in.”
McBreen also noted that many of the new millionaires were likely older or retired people who no longer had to worry about mortgages or college tuition.
McBreen added: “The affluent group may be high earners, but they also might have high expenses like college tuition.”
The Spectrem Group said that there were 300,000 more millionaires in 2012 but they suspect that the number could be higher now. The stock market has been rising in 2013 and Spectrem believes that the United States may soon break its 2006 record.