The recession made “wealth” a dirty word. As jobs dried up, companies went bankrupt and national economies struggled, the wealthy were forced to curb their displays of wealth. Today, the Occupy Wall Street movement gains credence largely because of the location. New York has the highest population of ultra-high net worthx (UHNW) individuals, according to a recent study conducted by wealth research firm Wealth-X. UHNW refers to the classes of the super rich. These are people with a net worth of $30 million and above. The $30 million figure includes all assets including property. Yes, these are the very people that the Occupy Wall Street protesters are railing against.
According to the recent Wealth-X study, New York City tops the list of American cities having the highest UHNW population. 7,270 members of the super-rich community have chosen the Big Apple as their home. The runner-up city, Los Angeles, lags far behind comparatively. The latter is home to 4,350 UHNW individuals. San Francisco comes in a close third with 4,230 UHNW individuals. Chicago and Washington manage the fifth and sixth spots with UHNW populations of 2,550 and 2,300 respectively.
So what makes New York City such a big attraction for members of the super rich community? David Friedman, a Wealth-X co-founder, said during a recent press conference, “Certain geographic clusters generate and attract wealth.” Friedman raised a very pertinent question at the event. He asked, “What about New York, or any of the other cities, has engendered unique ecosystems of education, risk capital and human capital that result in prosperity [?]” So the protesters may hurl criticisms at the wealthy bankers that frequent Wall Street, and at the huge income inequalities within the city, but the real question is whether New York’s geography and other characteristics allow people to generate more wealth.
Friedman also highlighted that ours is the era where “financial services” are king. People working in this field are more likely to amass wealth than others. And yes, that involves being good with numbers and being able to gamble on the markets. Such is the current state of affairs that bankers, hedge fund managers and private equity professionals are the flavor of the times.
Conversely, this is also the reason why the Occupy Wall Street movement began in the city. The large number of UHNW individuals that frequent the region is far greater than anywhere else within the United States. However, the big city cluster concept works only to an extent. There are 57,860 UHNW individuals within the United States. Of these, less than a third are concentrated within the top three cities of New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The remainder is spread across the rest of the nation. This begs the question whether more UHNW individuals will eventually move to the big city clusters or not.
Wealth-X’s study on UHNW populations will be of great significance to private wealth firms, luxury brands and non-profit organizations. Wealth-X helps such organizations source clients – most of whom fall into the super rich category. The study found that the number of millionaires across the world increased by a whopping 22 percent.
Ten US Cities With The Highest Population Of UHNW Individuals
1. New York City
Number of UHNW individuals: 7,270
2. Los Angeles
Number of UHNW individuals: 4,350
3. San Francisco
Number of UHNW individuals: 4,230
Number of UHNW individuals: 2,550
Number of UHNW individuals: 2,300
Number of UHNW individuals: 2,250
Number of UHNW individuals: 1,855
Number of UHNW individuals: 960
Number of UHNW individuals: 890
Number of UHNW individuals: 885