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More than 41,000 people became ultra-wealthy in 2020

·1 min read

Data: Credit Suisse; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Pandemic era policies intended to backstop the economy have helped make the rich much, much richer.

Why it matters: Critics of central banks often argue this is an unacceptable side effect of emergency monetary policy.

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By the numbers: At the end of 2020, there were 215,030 adults in the world who were classified as ultra-high net worth — those with more than $50,000,000 in net assets — according to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report released Tuesday.

  • This is up by 41,410 individuals, or 23.9%, from a year ago, the highest rate of increase since 2003.

  • There were 56.1 million millionaires, up 5.2 million or 10.2% from a year ago.

On the flip side: About 2.9 billion adults had a net worth of less than $10,000 as of the end of 2020.

  • The bottom 50% of adults accounted for less than 1% of total global wealth.

What they’re saying: "The lowering of interest rates by central banks has probably had the greatest impact," Credit Suisse analysts said.

  • "It is a major reason why share prices and house prices have flourished, and these translate directly into our valuations of household wealth."

The other side: Policymakers didn’t have many options as they faced a pandemic that forced businesses everywhere to immediately shut down, putting millions out of work.

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