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The global ultrahigh-net-worth population has fallen for the first time in four years as wealth portfolios have been hit by shockwaves across the global economy, according to a report released Wednesday by Wealth-X.

The ultrahigh-net-worth, or UHNW, population — those with a net worth of $30 million or more — fell 6% to 392,410 in the first half of 2022, a sharp reversal of last year’s 14% growth and the first downturn in UHNW numbers since 2018.

Three of the top 10 countries — the U.S., Japan and France — have experienced a double-digit fall of their UHNW population this year. China was the only country in this group to see a rise, at  2.3%, to 51,145, according to the report.

Six U.S. cities rank among the global top 10 cities in terms of ultrahigh-net-worth population: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Dallas.

The U.S. UHNW population was 10.3% lower in the first six months than the same period of last year.

However, the U.S. still counted 121,465 individuals with at least US$30 million in assets, more than double the UHNW population in China, in second place, and retaining its dominance in the wealth ranking.

The combined UHNW wealth globally fell 11% in the first half of 2022 to US$41.8 trillion. North America saw the most significant fall of any region in the first half of 2022, with a 9.7% fall in the UHNW population to 134,530 individuals. By contrast, the number of UHNW individuals in the world’s largest wealth region increased 10.8% year over year in 2021, according to the report.

The collective wealth of the UHNW population in North America fell 13.9% to US$14.5 trillion, close to a three-year low.

In Asia, the UHNW population fell 3.9% to 116,080 individuals, following double-digit growth in each of the last three years. Combined UHNW wealth shrank 10.5% to US$11.9 trillion, erasing all the strong gains of 2021. 

“Economic activity and business confidence were constrained by China’s zero-Covid lockdown policy, which hindered production and disrupted supply chains across the region,” the report said.

Europe’s UHNW population fell 6.9% to 100,370 individuals, compared to a 14.9% rise in 2021. The collective net worth fell 11.5% to US$11.6 trillion. 

Other key findings in the report:

  • Hong Kong remained the top city with the highest number of UHNW individuals, although the population fell 6.8% to 15,235; New York followed with 14,235 UHNW individuals.

  • There were six U.S. cities in the top 10 UHNW cities, including, in order of the population size, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Dallas.

  • London was the only city in the top 10 that saw a rise in the UHNW population, increasing 2.5% to 6,102.

  • While women still only accounted for 10.8% of the world’s UHNW population, the portion has been steadily increasing over the past five years.

  • Education was the leading philanthropic cause among the UHNW individuals, with 53.4% women and 56.3% men contributing to this cause.

The wealth report is the 10th edition by Wealth-X, a wealth data and insight provider as part of the Altrata Group.

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