Inside Wealth

States With the Most 'One Percenters'


States With the Highest Number of 'One Percenters'

Julia Girg | Stock4B | Getty Images

One of the enduring legacies of the Occupy Wall Street movement is the term "One Percent," referring to the percentage of top wage earners in the United States, or those who make an annual income of This tier, oft-discussed and much-maligned, is also that subset of the population known as "ultra-high net worth," or UHNW.

David Friedman, president of the global wealth intelligence firm Wealth-X, said in an e-mail that his organization "defines UHNW individuals as individuals with a net worth of at least $30 million, after accounting for shares in public and private companies, residential and investment properties, art collections, planes, cash and other assets." The firm estimates that 59,805 such individuals live in the United States.

Using figures provided by Wealth-X, population data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the insights of Wealth-X president David Friedman, presents a list of the 10 states with the most UHNW individuals on a per capita basis. Read ahead to find out which ones they are.

By Daniel Bukszpan
Posted 24 October 2012

10. Vermont

Glenn Van Der Knijff | Lonely Planet Images | Getty Images

Number of residents per UHNW individual: 4,635
UHNW population: 135
Total population: 625,741

"One of advantages of states with beautiful natural resources is their ability to attract the ultra-wealthy to have vacation homes there," Wealth-X's Friedman said in an interview. One such ultra-wealthy individual is Mandalay Entertainment chairman and CEO Howard Peter Guber, whose net worth is $630 million, according to Friedman. "He has a residence in Los Angeles, so this is probably his vacation home," he said.

Other UHNW residents of Vermont include Brad Dorsogna, director of Madison Square Garden and John Abele, founder & director of the Boston Scientific.

9. Illinois

Bruce Leighty | Photolibrary | Getty Images

Number of residents per UHNW individual: 4,615
UHNW population: 2,780
Total population: 12,830,632

A significant amount of the wealth in the Midwest derives from two sources. One is the financial services sector, and the other is legacy wealth from families with deep regional roots. Many of the families in the latter category made their fortunes in industrial manufacturing.

UHNW individuals in Illinois include Jacksonville Jaguars and Flex-N-Gate owner Shahid Khan, whose net worth is $2.8 billion; and Ty founder H. Ty Warner, whose Beanie Babies plush toys line helped him attain a net worth of $2.2 billion.

8. Wisconsin

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Number of residents per UHNW individual: 4,391
UHNW population: 1,295
Total population: 5,686,986

S.C. Johnson & Son is a manufacturer of household cleaning supplies based in Racine, Wisc. The company has been a Johnson family property since the 19th century. Herbert Fisk Johnson III is its current CEO, and his family is one of the wealthiest in the state.

Johnson's fortune is another example of legacy wealth, a primary driver of wealth for the state's UHNW individuals, Friedman said.

7. Texas

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Number of residents per UHNW individual: 4,269
UHNW population: 5,890
Total population: 25,145,561

Many UHNW individuals from New York split their time between the Empire State and Texas. According to Friedman, the phenomenon is a matter of money. "I know many UHNW individuals who were living in New York and now split their time, both because of economic growth from oil, and because of the tax regime," he said.

He added that you don't need to be in the oil business to make money off of oil. "It's the value chain of the economic ecosystem around oil that's spreading wealth," he said. UHNW individuals in the state include Beal Bank Chairman Andy Beal, whose net worth is $7.5 billion, and John Paul DeJoria, CEO of John Paul Mitchell Systems, whose net worth is $3.7 billion.

6. Rhode Island

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Number of residents per UHNW individual: 4,048
UHNW population: 260
Total population: 1,052,567

Rhode Island is home to several UHNW individuals. They include HasbroIndependent Director Alan Hassenfeld, whose net worth is $640 million, and Providence Equity Partners CEO Jonathan Nelson, whose net worth is $1.6 billion.

"With Rhode Island, I suspect the tax regimes are not as favorable as some others," Friedman said. "But based on other factors, like legacy infrastructure, like family relationships, it looks like it provides a foundation for drivers of wealth."

5. California

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Number of residents per UHNW individual: 3,401
UHNW population: 10,955
Total population: 37,253,956

California attracts droves of high earning individuals, mostly to Los Angeles and San Francisco. "Los Angeles attracts and engenders a certain type of person," Friedman said. "The wealth is driven by media and entertainment, and it has its own unique, distinct culture." Among the (many) wealthy people who live in Los Angeles include New Line Cinema founder Robert Shaye, whose net worth is $140 million.

San Francisco, meanwhile, offers nearly unbeatable aesthetic beauty. "[It] has some of the most beautiful places in the United States, but the taxes are horrible," Friedman said. "However, from a standpoint of building a business, assuming you're using venture capital funds, you want to be in close proximity. There's also the legacy of folks who made their money back in the early '90s and stay because of the beauty. They've woven themselves into the geography. So there's not a mass exodus despite the tax regime."

4. Montana

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Number of residents per UHNW individual: 2,910
UHNW population: 340
Total population: 989,415

Like Vermont, Montana is a sparsely populated state that may not seem to be an obvious magnet for UHNW individuals. However, the state is home to media mogul, philanthropist and entrepreneur Ted Turner, whose net worth is $1.9 billion.

Turner has homes in Atlanta and Los Angeles. However, neither one of those states offers him what Montana does — the opportunity to own over 55,000 head of bison and two million acres of ranch land. The land he owns in Montana makes him the second largest individual landholder in North America.

3. Connecticut

Stephen Saks | Lonely Planet Images | Getty Images

Number of residents per UHNW individual: 2,657
UHNW population: 1,345
Total population: 3,574,097

In Connecticut, the primary driver of wealth is the financial services sector, with most of the rich individuals in the state having made their money in this business.

UHNW individuals living in Connecticut include Vornado Realty Trust CEO Michael D. Fascitelli, whose net worth is approximately $700 million; and of Bridgewater Associates, who lives in Westport and has a net worth of approximately $10 billion.

2. New York

Julia Girg | Stock4B | Getty Images

Number of residents per UHNW individual: 2,255
UHNW population: 8,595
Total population: 19,378,102

"The New York tax regime is not favorable, and it doesn't have natural aesthetics," Friedman said. "But it's one of the most stimulating urban experiences in the world."

He said that the anchor for businesses in New York, and therefore top earners, is human capital. "It's the primary driver. It's why people are here, why the wealthy are here, why business is here, why they generate wealth."

Two of New York's top UHNW individuals are Advance Publications Chairman and CEO Si Newhouse, whose net worth is $7.1 billion, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose $24.8 billion net worth makes him one of the richest people in the U.S.

1. Wyoming

Jeff R Clow | Flickr | Getty Images

Number of residents per UHNW individual: 1,911
UHNW population: 295
Total population: 563,626

Christy Walton is the widow of John T. Walton, heir to the Wal-Mart empire. According to Wealth-X, her net worth is $25.7 billion, but rather than buy a Park Avenue penthouse, she lives in tax-friendly Jackson, Wyoming.

"My gut, or my hunch, is she's in Wyoming because it's a very beautiful place with a very attractive tax regime," Friedman said. "In other words, she's not going out there to do work."

Wyoming is an example of the type of state that the very wealthy are finding an ideal tax haven. "This is a strategy in a lot of states," Friedman said. "A fusion of natural assets, in terms of what the state has to offer from a tourist perspective, combined with a low tax regime. It has the ability to offer executives a place of rest, and to get away from everything."