A new study released by the research and consulting firm Spectrem Group finds that the number of millionaires in the United States increased by double digits the last year. According to Spectrem Group’s data, “families with a net worth of at least $1 million, excluding primary residences, rose to 7.8 million in 2009,” an increase of 16 percent:
The millionaires’ club in the U.S. grew by 16 percent in 2009, following a 27 percent decline in 2008.Families with a net worth of at least $1 million, excluding primary residences, rose to 7.8 million in 2009, an increase from 6.7 million a year earlier, according to a survey of high- net-worth U.S. households conducted by Spectrem Group.
“With the markets trending upwards, we expected an increase,” George H. Walper Jr., president of Spectrem Group, said in a telephone interview. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index increased 24 percent in 2009 and has risen 68 percent over the past 12 months
While the number of American multimillionaires rose last year, Americans continued to suffer from the Great Recession. The unemployment rate reached double digits, millions of Americans lost their homes, and wages for most workers stagnated. The United States is unique among industrialized countries in its enormous income inequality. Data from the U.S. Department of Labor shows that if income inequality continues to rise at the current rate, the income gap in the United States “will resemble that of Mexico by year 2043.”