While Asia can celebrate its millionaire market share, the world’s wealthy didn’t have much to cheer about last year. The global millionaire population remained flat and their total wealth fell for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis.
The total wealth of the world’s millionaires fell 1.7 percent to $42 trillion.
For those who think that the rich have only gotten richer through the recession, consider this statistic: on an inflation adjusted basis, America’s millionaire population has fallen over the past five years. It has been the lost half-decade for millionaires.
The uber-wealthy have seen the biggest drops. The number of individuals worth $30 million or more fell 2.5 percent globally – compared to a decline of only 1 percent for those worth $5 million to $10 million. The number of people worth $1 million to $5 million actually increased last year globally by 1.1 percent.
The declines are largely driven by stock-market performance and slower GDP growth around the world, according to RBC.
Not that anyone should feel sorry for this group, of course. The world’s 11 million millionaires control more wealth than the total 99 percent of the U.S. population.
Yet RBC said the outlook for the wealthy this year is “uncertain and will be driven by economic and political uncertainties,” including the Euro crisis and headwinds in mature markets.
What do you think will happen with the millionaire population in 2012?
-By CNBC's Robert Frank
Follow Robert Frank on Twitter: @robtfrank