Minting millionaires: Nearly a million joined club last year

$100 bills, Cash, Currency

NEW YORK (AP) — Nearly a million people became millionaires last year.

The number of people worth $1 million or more rose by 920,000 last year, hitting a record 14.6 million. It was the sixth straight year-over-year increase as rising stock prices lifted the value of personal wealth in a few key countries, according to a report from consultant Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management.

More than a third of new millionaires — 345,000 — were in the U.S., where a broad index of stocks, the Standard and Poor’s 500, rose 11 percent.

Among other highlights of the report:

— RECORD TOTAL: The wealth held by millionaires globally also rose to a record — $56 trillion.

— RICHEST OF RICH: The wealthiest millionaires— those worth $30 million or more — represented only 1 percent of total millionaires, but held 35 percent of the wealth.

— GAINS SLOW: It got a harder to become a millionaire as many stock markets in Europe and Latin America barely rose, or even fell. The rise in the number of millionaires — 7 percent — was about half the rate from the year before.

— INDIA RISING: A surging Indian stock market helped drive up the number of Indian millionaires 26 percent, the biggest percentage jump among major countries. That country had a total of 198,000 millionaires, and is fast closing in on Italy. There were 219,000 Italian millionaires last year.

— WHERE THE MONEY IS: The U.S. is home to 4.4 million millionaires, the most in the world. Japan ranks second with 2.5 million of them, followed by Germany, with 1.1 million. China, the world’s second-biggest economy, ranks fourth. It has 890,000 millionaires.

The wealth report tracked net worth of individuals, with assets defined as stocks, bonds, cash, but not primary residences.

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