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5.2 million people become millionaires in 2020, despite pandemic

·2 min read
ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JUNE 19, 2021: A man jumps into the Neva River from a yacht. The temperature in St Petersburg has reached 30.7°C, breaking the record of 1905. Peter Kovalev/TASS (Photo by Peter Kovalev\TASS via Getty Images)
The UK now has 2.5 million individuals with assets worth more than $1m. Photo: Getty Images

There are now 5.2 million more millionaires in the world than there were before the coronavirus pandemic, despite the toll COVID-19 has taken on global economies.

The Credit Suisse (CS) Global Wealth Report showed that certain actions taken by governments around the world, such as the slashing of interest rates and stimulus measures, sometimes ended up helping the assets of the rich grow in value.

Many ended up benefiting from surging stock and house prices.

56.1 million people had assets worth more than $1m (£720m) in 2020 and those who are millionaires in dollar terms now account for more than 1% of the global population for the first time in history.

“The top wealth groups are relatively unaffected by reductions in the overall level of economic activity and, more importantly, they have also benefited from the impact of lower interest rates on share prices and house prices,” the report said.

In the UK, 258,000 people become millionaires in 2020. The country now has 2.5 million individuals with assets worth more than $1m.

Read more: FTSE rises as UK government borrows another £24bn

Nearly one-third of the new millionaires were in the US, where the total number of millionaires is now 22m.

Around 41,000 people have also joined the ranks of “ultra high net worth individuals” which means their assets are worth more than $50m.

This was a 24% increase from 2019. The total number of super-rich individuals in the world is now 215,030.

“There’s a sort of disconnect between what’s been happening to the wider economies – which have been in serious trouble and required a lot of government intervention – and what’s happened to household wealth, which seems to have just continued as if nothing has been happening,” the Guardian quoted Anthony Shorrocks, an economist at the University of Manchester and one of the report’s authors, as saying.

Meanwhile, a report from November 2020 showed that the UK’s wealth disparity is widening as a result of the pandemic.

Almost half of those who found things “very difficult” financially before lockdown are now reporting things are “much worse,” with a further 23% saying things are “worse.”

Watch: How long does it take to pay off a student loan?