A record number of Americans are now millionaires, new study shows

Photo by Tom Merton

There are more millionaires than ever in the United States.

As of the end of 2016, there were a record 10.8 million millionaires nationwide, according to a new study from Spectrem Group's Market Insights Report 2017. That's more than ever before and marks a 400,000 person increase from the previous year.

The increase is thanks to a recovery of the U.S. economy since the Great Recession in 2008 and the Wall Street rally that followed the election of Donald Trump, according to George Walper, Jr., President of Spectrem Group.

"The record levels of households reflect the significantly higher values of all asset classes, post-recession," he says in a press release accompanying the release of the report. "And the recent record level of the United States markets following the presidential election has added demonstrably to the asset level of most affluent investors.''

Millionaires are the new middle class

In 2016, there were 9.4 million individuals with net worth between $1 million and $5 million, 1.3 million individuals with net worth between $5 million and $25 million, and 156,000 households with more than $25 million in net worth, the report says.

At the same time that there is a record number of millionaires in the U.S., the middle class is shrinking. The percent of American adults who are considered middle-income fell from 55 percent in 2000 to 52 percent in 2014, according to a 2016 report from the Pew Research Center.

And increasing numbers of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. One in three say they couldn't come up with $2,000 if faced with an emergency like an urgent home repair, medical crisis or car accident. Meanwhile, even affluent two-income households report feeling pinched.

Here's how to tell if your income qualifies you as "middle class" or "upper class."

Here's how much you have to earn to be considered middle class