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Global Wealth Declines For First Time Since 2008, With 1.8 Million Americans Losing Millionaire Status Private wealth declined by 2.4% in 2022, representing the slowest growth of wealth at constant exchange rates in 15 years.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Key Takeaways

  • Private wealth fell 2.4% in 2022, resulting in a $11.3 trillion loss.
  • Wealth inequality's rise during the pandemic was reversed as top 1% wealth share decreased slightly.
  • The number of millionaires dropped by 3.5 million, with the biggest loss in the U.S.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In 2022, global wealth declined for the first time since the Great Recession of 2008, according to UBS and Credit Suisse's annual global wealth report released on Tuesday, which analyzes the assets of nearly 5.4 billion adults globally spanning different levels of wealth.

Private wealth declined by 2.4% last year, which also marks the slowest growth of wealth at constant exchange rates in 15 years.

The 2.4% decline, mostly attributed to inflation and the strengthening of the U.S. dollar, resulted in a loss of approximately $11.3 trillion in private wealth, with the most significant decrease in North America and Europe, which collectively lost $10.9 trillion.

The biggest wealth declines were experienced in the U.S., Japan, China, and Canada, while the largest gains were in Russia, Mexico, India, and Brazil, according to the report.

Related: 'Pretty Troubling': New Data Reveals Startling Increase in 401(k) Withdrawals Amidst Economic Uncertainty

Furthermore, there were 3.5 million fewer millionaires in 2022 as compared to the year prior, with the biggest drop in the U.S., where 1.8 individuals lost their millionaire status, followed by Japan (466,000), the U.K. (439,000), and Australia (363,000). However, the U.S. still has the highest number of millionaires worldwide at 22.7 million, accounting for 38.2% of the global total.

As for the ultra-wealthy, the top 1% saw their wealth share decline by 0.6% — meaning that the rise of wealth inequality experienced during the pandemic was reversed in 2022, according to the report.

Related: U.S. Is Home to 6 of the Top 20 Cities with the Most Billionaires in the World

The biggest drivers of the wealth decline were financial assets, the report noted, while non-financial assets like real estate remain resilient, which may shift next year depending on interest rates.

"A more detailed examination shows that financial assets contributed most to wealth declines in 2022 while non-financial assets (mostly real estate) stayed resilient, despite rapidly rising interest rates," the researchers wrote in the report. "But the relative contributions of financial and non-financial assets may reverse in 2023 if house prices decline in response to higher interest rates."

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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