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The U.S. has by far the largest share of the world's millionaires, outnumbering second-place Japan nearly 4 to 1.

About 1 percent of the world’s households are millionaires.

The Boston Consulting Group counted 13.8 million millionaire households in 2012, up from 12.6 million the previous year.

The largest group of the current millionaires are American: nearly 5.9 million. (We also have the most billionaires.) Japan has close to 1.5 million millionaires and China 1.3 million, although BCG expects China to surpass its neighbor this year.

While the U.S. has the largest number of millionaires, five other places have a higher density of millionaires, BCG says:

  • Qatar — 14.3 percent.
  • Switzerland — 11.6 percent.
  • Kuwait — 11.5 percent.
  • Hong Kong — 9.4 percent.
  • Singapore — 8.2 percent.

In both Bahrain and the U.S., it’s 4.9 percent.

The report also discusses how much overall wealth increased. “Private wealth in the U.S. rose by 8.1 percent, far above the 2011 level of 0.5 percent,” BCG says.

It’s also above the world average.

Global private financial wealth — a term that includes all assets except businesses, homes and luxury goods — grew 7.8 percent last year, and now stands at $135.5 trillion, BCG says. It’s expected to reach $171.2 trillion by the end of 2017.

North America and Western Europe combined accounted for about a third of the growth last year, and those regions remained the wealthiest in 2012. They hold a respective $43.3 trillion and $35.8 trillion, BCG says. The Asia-Pacific region, which holds $28 trillion, “will account for the bulk of the increase in global wealth through 2017.”

The U.S. is expected to remain on top in 2017, although wealth in China is growing at a much faster rate. BCG predicts American wealth will move from $39 trillion to $43 trillion, while Chinese wealth will move from $14 trillion to $28 trillion.

Stacy Johnson

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