The U.S. Is Now Home to Even More of the Super Rich

The U.S. is home to even more of the super-rich.

The country created the most individuals last year — 13,443 — with fortunes of $30 million or more, according to Knight Frank’s 2020 Wealth Report. China was second with 7,892 new ultra-high-net-worth individuals, while Japan was a distant third.

“Asia is becoming more and more important, but America is incredibly successful at remaining right at the fore,” said Liam Bailey, Knight Frank’s global head of residential research.

The survey highlights increasing wealth across the U.S. and China even as trade tensions escalated between the nations last year, sparking fears of a global recession before an initial agreement was reached in December. Some of those gains disappeared during last week’s coronavirus-fueled rout of equity markets, when the combined fortunes of world’s 500 richest people dropping $444 billion over five tumultuous trading days.

“The spread of the Covid-19 illness is a serious and concerning development with a significant human impact but which also has the real potential to create economic and market uncertainty,” Bailey said. “It is another headwind for the world economy.”

The number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals worldwide increased 6% to 513,244 from a year earlier, according to the Knight Frank report. North America had the largest number, while Asia’s 13% growth — the highest globally — edged it closer to leapfrogging Europe into second place.

Growing fear over coronavirus is battering commercial airline stocks, but private jet operators are seeing a spike in demand as well-heeled travelers look to minimize their public exposure and find alternatives to suspended flights. The majority of private jet flights last year were to U.S. destinations, with the most popular route between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, according to Knight Frank.

— With assistance by Tom Metcalf

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