Total wealth held by the Big Apple’s residents now exceeds $3 trillion

A staggering 349 500 millionaires, 744 centimillionaires and 60 billionaires live in New York. Photo: AFP

A staggering 349 500 millionaires, 744 centimillionaires and 60 billionaires live in New York. Photo: AFP

Published May 7, 2024


When it comes to the number of resident millionaires with liquid investable wealth of $1 million (R18.5m) or more, the US leads the pack, with 11 cities in the Top 50, including New York City, which holds firmly onto first place in the 2024 World’s Wealthiest Cities Report, published annually by international wealth migration specialists Henley & Partners.

The total wealth held by the Big Apple’s residents exceeds $3 trillion – higher than the total wealth held in most major G20 countries – and a staggering 349 500 millionaires, 744 centimillionaires and 60 billionaires live in the city.

Hot on its heels in second place is Northern California’s Bay Area (encompassing the city of San Francisco and Silicon Valley), which has increased its millionaire population by a whopping 82% over the past decade, and is home to 305 700 millionaires, 675 centimillionaires and 68 billionaires.

Tokyo, which led the pack a decade ago, has suffered a 5% decline in its resident HNWI population, and sits in third place, with just 298 300 millionaires.

Singapore climbs two places to fourth on the global ranking, following an impressive 64% increase in millionaires over the last ten years — approximately 3 400 HNWIs moved there in 2023 alone. The city state boasts 244 800 resident millionaires, 336 centimillionaires and 30 billionaires.

London’s falling

London, the wealthiest city in the world for many years, continues to tumble down the ranking, and sits in fifth place, with just 227 000 millionaires, 370 centimillionaires, and 35 billionaires — a decline of 10% over the past decade.

By contrast, Los Angeles, home to 212 100 millionaires, 496 centimillionaires and 43 billionaires, has jumped up two places over the 10 years, to sixth place, enjoying a notable 45% growth in its wealthy population.

Paris, the wealthiest city in mainland Europe, retains its seventh place, with 165000 resident millionaires.

Sydney ascends to eighth position, with 147 000 HNWIs after exceptionally strong wealth growth over the past 20 years.

Dr Juerg Steffen, the CEO of Henley & Partners, says a key factor driving growth in the world’s wealthiest cities has been the strong performance of financial markets.

“The S&P 500’s 24% gain last year, along with the Nasdaq’s 43% surge and Bitcoin’s staggering 155% rally, has buoyed the fortunes of wealthy investors. Additionally, rapid advancements in artificial intelligence, robotics and blockchain technology have provided new opportunities for wealth creation and accumulation.

“Yet, even as new opportunities emerge, old risks persist. The war in Ukraine, which has seen Moscow’s millionaire population plummet by 24% to 30 300, is a stark reminder of the fragility of wealth in an uncertain and unstable world.”

China’s millionaire boom

China has established a notable presence on the latest Top 50 Wealthiest Cities ranking, with five cities in mainland China making the list, and seven cities when counting Hong Kong (with 143 400 millionaires) and Taipei (30 200).

Beijing (125 600 millionaires) makes it into the Top 10 for the first time, following a 90% growth in its millionaire population over the past decade. Although Hong Kong has fallen four places to ninth, Shanghai (123 400), Shenzhen (50 300), Guangzhou (24 500) and Hangzhou (31 600) have all recorded significant increases in their millionaire populations.

Andrew Amoils, the head of research at New World Wealth, says Shenzhen is the world’s fastest-growing city for the wealthy, with its millionaire population exploding by 140% in the past 10 years.

“Hangzhou has also experienced a massive 125% increase and Guangzhou’s millionaires have grown by 110% over the past decade. When it comes to wealth growth potential over the coming decade, cities to watch include Bengaluru (India), Scottsdale (US) and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam). All three have enjoyed exceptional growth rates of over 100% in their resident millionaire populations over the past 10 years.”

Turning to the Middle East, Dubai easily takes the crown as the wealthiest city in the region, with impressive growth of 78% in its millionaire population over the past 10 years. Ranked as the 21st-wealthiest city in the world, the millionaire magnate is highly likely to break into the Top 20 soon, and although the UAE’s oil-rich capital Abu Dhabi hasn’t yet cracked a spot in the Top 50, growth rates of more than 75% make it a possible contender in future.

While no African or South American cities make it into the Top 50, the report identifies several rising stars including Nairobi (4 400 millionaires) and Cape Town (7 400), both of whom have enjoyed an increase in resident HNWIs of 25% and 20%, respectively, over the past decade.

Most expensive cities in the world

Monaco, arguably the world’s top haven for the super-rich, where the average wealth exceeds $20m, is also the top-ranked city on a wealth per capita basis. More than 40% of its residents are millionaires — the highest ratio of any city globally. It is also top of the World’s Most Expensive Cities list, with apartment prices regularly exceeding $35 000/m².

New York City ranks second, with the average price of prime real estate being $28 400/m², followed by London ($26 500/m²), Hong Kong ($25 800/m²), Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat in France ($25 000/m²) and Sydney ($22 700/m²).