San Francisco Business Times

The San Francisco Bay Area is expected to compete with major cities of the Rust Belt in the pace of growth in millionaire residents over the next five years, according to the World Wealth Report by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini.

But there is a silver lining. San Francisco is building on a much larger base. And at least this year's report found the number of Bay Area millionaire households grew 11 percent to 123,476, based on research by Claritas. San Francisco's millionaire households are expected to climb 16.4 percent over the next five years vs. overall growth in the number of households of 2.8 percent.

Detroit has 81,320 millionaire households and that figure is expected to grow 16.3 percent over five years; Pittsburgh, 37,885, 18.1 percent; and Cleveland, 53,859, 17 percent. New York's 320,184 millionaire households are expected to grow 15.7 percent and Los Angeles' 212,895 millionaire households are expected to rise 22.4 percent.

Last year's Merrill Lynch/Capgemini (NYSE: MER) report found a decline in the number of millionaire households in the Bay Area, prompting concerns the wealthy were moving to friendlier tax climates in places like Nevada and Wyoming.

Not that taxes aren't coming into play for cities such as Orlando, where the growth of millionaire households is expected to jump by a third from today's 53,013 millionaire households who can enjoy the Florida sunshine and lack of an income tax.

Other winners in this ranking include Sacramento, with an anticipated increase of 30 percent from its current 48,737 millionaire households. Phoenix is expected to see a 32.1 percent increase in its millionaire households that now stand at 64,014.

Globally, the World Wealth Report found the number of rich people around the globe grew 6 percent last year to 10.1 million, with India, China and Brazil chalking up the fastest growth in wealthy citizens. India's population of high net worth individuals grew 22.7 percent; China, 20.3 percent, and Brazil, 19.1 percent. Those figures reflect in part the dramatic gains in stock markets in emerging nations. The Shanghai and the Shenzhen Stock Exchanges grew at 303 percent and 244 percent, respectively, last year. India's Bombay Exchange and National Stock Exchange had respective growth rates of 122 percent and 115 percent in 2007.
The number of the world's ultra high net worth individuals -- those with at least $30 million -- increased 8.8 percent.

Millionaire households are those with net assets of $1 million or more, excluding primary residence and consumables.


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