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What factors contribute to someone becoming a millionaire?
Is it the country they live in, their education, or their industry?
In this post, we’ll look at some of the most insightful millionaire statistics to find the common thread that unites the ultra-wealthy.
Percentage of Millionaires in the World (And Number of Millionaires in the USA)
According to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2022, there were 62.5 million millionaires in the world at the end of 2021.
Note that there was a significant spike in the number of people who become millionaires from 2020 to 2021, where 5.2 million joined this coveted club during that period.
In terms of percentages, this means about 1.1% of the world’s population are millionaires.
As for the country with the most millionaires, the US is head and shoulders above any other country.
Currently, 39% of the millionaire population lives in the US, and it added 2.5 million new millionaires in the last year, which was by far the biggest increase recorded by any country.
This graph from Credit Suisse really puts things into perspective.
Notice how big of a gap there is between the US and other financial powerhouses like China, Japan, the United Kingdom, and France.
Millionaires By Gender
Male millionaires outnumber females with these net assets by about two to one.
As of 2022, 67% of people who had reached millionaire status were men, while the remaining 33% were women.
Further, “women make up about 20% of Fidelity 401(k) account holders who have at least $1 million set aside,” Zippia explains.
That said, the average age for setting aside $1 million by retirement is slightly lower for women at 58.5 years than men at 59.3 years.
It’s also worth noting that there’s been considerable growth in the number of female multi-millionaires in recent years.
In 2018, for example, the number of women with a net worth of $30 million or more increased by 31%, which was far more than the 10% overall increase for ultra-high-net-worth individuals as a whole.
So while there’s a sizable disparity between millionaire status by gender, it’s likely to become smaller in future years as global wealth increases.
Millionaires Statistics By Age
57 is the average millionaire age, meaning there aren’t a ton of millennial millionaires, and most people don’t strike it rich until later in life, close to retirement age. (If you like statistics, also check out our Credit Score Statistics article.)
It should be noted, however, that the odds of becoming a millionaire increase with age and differ by race.
For instance, the chances of an Asian or white person reaching millionaire status increase dramatically by the time they reach age 60 when they’re close to Social Security.
But the chances slightly decrease for Hispanics and African Americans (we’ll discuss millionaires by race further in the next section).
Another interesting fact is that, on average, the world’s 100 richest people made their first $1 million by age 37.
Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffet are two prime examples who both earned their first million in their early 30s.
Note, however, that others like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg started even earlier in their 20s and went on to create massive all-rights-reserved businesses.
So while there’s a heavy skew where most millionaires are older, the ultra-rich make big bucks before they reach 40.
Millionaires By Race
Here’s how millionaire statistics break down racially.
According to research from Zippia, Asians (specifically those who are middle-aged and college-educated) living in the United States comprise the largest number of millionaires overall.
Experts estimate that 22.3% of Asians that hold a bachelor’s degree currently are or will become millionaires. That’s impressive given this demographic only accounts for around 6% of the total US population.
The second-highest millionaire demographic is white, middle-aged college people, with research estimating that 21.5% are or will reach this level of net worth.
This is followed by the Hispanic demographic, where about 6.8% of those who are middle-aged and college-educated will become American millionaires.
And finally, 6.4% of African American, middle-aged, college-educated people currently are or are estimated to become millionaires.
To recap, the percentage of American demographics that have a chance of becoming millionaires breaks down like this:
- 22.3% of Asians
- 21.5% of whites
- 6.8% of Hispanics
- 6.4% of African Americans
Average Education Degree Millionaires Have
Data has found a clear correlation between graduating from college and having a net worth of $1 million or more.
According to Zippia, nearly nine out of every 10 millionaires (88%) graduated from college.
This differs significantly from the general United States population, where only a third of adults have graduated from college.
Further, research has found that more than half of millionaires (52%) go beyond an undergraduate degree and obtain a master’s degree or higher.
This is well beyond the general population in North America, where just 12% earn anything higher than an undergraduate degree.
So by these numbers, it’s clear that if you want to become the next millionaire next door, you’ll want to finish college, ideally with a master’s degree or higher.
But what about elite schools? Are rich people more likely to attend ivy league institutions like Harvard and Princeton?
While it certainly doesn’t hurt and there are plenty of millionaires that have received ivy league educations, 62% went to public or state schools, while only 8% attended “prestigious private schools.”
Millionaire Percentage By US State
When it comes to states with the most millionaire households, the top 10 look like this.
This shows that the bulk of the high net-worth individuals is located in the northeast United States.
New Jersey is number one overall with the highest ratio of millionaire households at 9.76%.
That means nearly one in 10 New Jersey households has reached millionaire status!
Not far behind is Maryland at 9.72%, which is followed by Connecticut at 9.44%, and Massachusetts at 9.38%.
After that, the wealth is distributed fairly evenly throughout the country, with some of the other states with the highest ratio of millionaire American households including Hawaii at 9.2%, California at 8.51%, New Hampshire at 8.47%, and Virginia at 8.31%.
It’s also worth noting that while New York City is a hub of global wealth, New York state failed to crack the top 10 and came in 12th in household wealth at 7.52%.
You can get more detailed info on American households from the US Census Bureau here.
5 Industries That Can Likely Make You a Millionaire
If you were wondering which industries have the highest chance of getting you to seven figures, there are five that stand out above the rest.
Number one is finance and investment, which, unsurprisingly, produces more millionaires than any other industry.
Just think of the classic Wall Street investment tycoon.
With this having such a high ceiling where wealth can quickly snowball to produce a fortune, it’s easy to see why so many people who get into finance and investment generate such massive net worth.
Next is technology at number two.
With such major advances in technological capabilities in the 21st century and no signs of slowing down, there are amazing opportunities like never before to build a huge net worth.
And plenty of global wealth comes through tech.
After that, the other top industries that can likely make you a millionaire are manufacturing at number three, fashion and retail at number four, and healthcare at number five.
Besides that, real estate can be quite lucrative as well.
In fact, experts estimate that 90% of all millionaires invest in some form of real estate, and being a real estate entrepreneur will likely never go out of style.
10 Universities with the Richest Alumni
When it comes to universities that produce the most millionaires, here are the top 10:
- Harvard University
- University of Pennsylvania
- Stanford University
- University of Oxford
- University of California – Berkeley
- University of Texas – Austin
- Cornell University
- Princeton University
- Yale University
- University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
A few things stand out here.
One is that nine out of the top 10 universities that produce millionaires are in the US, with the only one outside the US being the University of Oxford.
Next, several schools aren’t in the ivy league, including Stanford, The University of California – Berkeley, The University of Texas – Austin, and The University of Michigan – Ann Arbor.
While it’s not surprising that Harvard is at the top and half of the universities are ivy league schools, there are plenty of millionaires that come from public or state schools.
Wealth Inequality – Growth Percentage of Millionaires During COVID-19
Earlier, I mentioned there’s been a rapid increase in the number of millionaires over the past few years, resulting in growing income inequality.
A huge contributing factor to this trend was COVID, where between 2020 and 2021, 5.2 million people became millionaires.
This graph featuring Credit Suisse data really puts things into perspective.
Here you can see that some of the world’s most prosperous countries saw a significant increase in their number of millionaires during that time.
The United States is at the extreme top of the list, but Germany, Australia, Japan, France, and the UK all saw a major growth percentage of millionaires during COVID.
It should also be noted that the 10 richest billionaires doubled their money during the pandemic, according to CBS News, further growing the wealth gap.
While there are a myriad of reasons behind this correlation, The Guardian notes that “the rich cashed in on surging stock and real estate.”
“[And] emergency interest rate cuts and government stimulus measures often benefit those least in need of state support, helping their assets grow in value despite the economic downturn.”
Although COVID adversely impacted the household income of many, it dramatically increased the total wealth of many others.
Number of Self-Made Millionaires
Many people assume that wealth is generational and that it’s passed down through families.
And that’s certainly true in some cases.
But according to research, the vast majority of millionaires are self-made, often starting small businesses and working their way up.
A Wealth-X national study found that about 68% of people with a net worth of $30 million or more are self-made.
And a Fidelity Investments global wealth report found that 88% of all millionaires are self-made, and “only 12% inherited significant assets.”
When you put the data from these two studies together, it suggests that about 78% of millionaires make their net worth themselves—something that proves you don’t have to grow up with a silver spoon in your mouth to build a large net worth.
8 Out of 10 Millionaires Aggressively Invested in Their 401(k)
Another common denominator between people who hit the million-dollar mark is being serious about saving.
More specifically, 80% of millionaires got into the habit of aggressively investing in their 401(k) plan from a young age.
And over time, they were able to grow their income to the point of reaching seven figures.
When you look at it like this, getting rich isn’t rocket science. It often just boils down to smart, consistent investing over the years.
It should also be noted that three-quarters of millionaire Americans invested outside their company plans.
So if you’re looking for a simple way to increase your median net worth, start investing in your 401(k).
94% of Millionaires Live on Less Than What They Make
The last of our millionaire statistics has to do with spending habits, which may surprise you.
When many people think of the classic millionaire or billionaire lifestyle, they envision huge houses, fancy cars, luxury clothing, and so on. But the vast majority of millionaires are actually quite frugal.
According to a Dave Ramsey study, “94% of millionaires said they live on less than they make, and nearly three-quarters had never carried a credit card balance in their lives. They reported spending less than $200 per month on restaurants, and 93% use coupons when they shop.”
And this makes sense when you think about it.
Frequent shopping sprees, racking up big credit card debt, and spending beyond your means aren’t a recipe for wealth. They’re a recipe for financial disaster.
That’s why it’s important to develop strong financial fitness and have a clear knowledge of current credit score statistics.
You’ll also want to do the small things like maintaining a low debt-to-income ratio and look for ways to reduce your income tax.
Nick is an author, small business owner, and finance/digital marketing writer. He’s been covering the industry for over a decade and loves exploring topics to help other small businesses succeed. You can connect with him at Nickmannwrites.com.