Regional Facts

In 2011, Asia-Pacific topped North America to become the single largest home to HNWIs for the first time but North American HNWIs still accounted for the largest regional share of investable wealth


Different regions experienced varying growth or decline in their HNWI populations and wealth in 2011, and the extent of these changes depended heavily on regional macroeconomic factors and the level of impact of the Eurozone crisis on the respective region.

North America

Economic growth in North America slowed down in 2011 after witnessing a strong rebound in 2010; however the region was not immune to declines in other key drivers of wealth, such as equity market capitalization, that contributed to a smaller HNWI population and wealth than in 2010.

  • The population of HNWIs in North America declined marginally by 1.1% in 2011 to 3.35 million, after rising 8.6% in 2010. Their wealth declined 2.3% to US$11.4 trillion.
  • For the first time, North America was surpassed by Asia-Pacific in HNWI population but North American HNWIs still accounted for the largest regional share of HNWI investable wealth at US$11.4 trillion.
  • In the U.S., real GDP expanded 1.7% in 2011 and equity market capitalization declined by 9.5%.
  • In Canada, real GDP expanded 3.2% in 2011 and market capitalization declined by 11.9%.
  • There were 38k ultra HNWIs in North America during 2011 which represented 1.1% of the region's HNWI total. While North America still has the largest regional number of ultra HNWIs, the total number declined from 40k in 2010.


The Eurozone sovereign debt crisis unsettled investors by increasing market volatility and helping to slow global economic growth. The Eurozone crisis offered a sharp illustration of the longer-term dilemma many debt-strapped countries face: how to juggle seemingly inconsistent imperatives such as austerity and growth.

  • Europe's HNWI population rose 1.1% to 3.2 million and HNWI wealth decreased 1.1% to US$10.1 trillion.
  • The HNWI population registered declines in Poland (7.3%) and the U.K. (2.9%) and moderate gains in Ireland (16.8%), Germany (3.0%), and Russia (2.0%).
  • GDP expanded 1.7% in Western Europe in 2011, but this growth was among the lowest across the regions, mainly due to the concerns around the Eurozone crisis.
  • GDP expanded 3.8% in Eastern Europe mainly due to growth in the emerging economies of this region despite the Eurozone crisis.
  • In 2011, Europe accounted for 22k ultra-HNWIs, comprising 0.7% of the European HNWI total.


In 2011, Asia-Pacific surpassed North America in HNWI population to become the largest HNWI region for the first time.

  • The Asia-Pacific HNWI population expanded 1.6% to 3.37 million in 2011, representing more than 11% total growth in two years.
  • After leading Asia Pacific growth for the last two years, India and Hong Kong registered significant declines in 2011, but the region was compensated by robust growth in the key markets of China, Japan, Thailand Malaysia, and Indonesia.
  • Asia-Pacific HNWI wealth decreased by 1.1% to US$10.7 trillion.
  • In China, real GDP growth slowed down to 9.2% in 2011.
  • In India, real GDP growth slowed down to 7.1% in 2011.
  • Asia-Pacific held 22k ultra-HNWIs during 2011 representing 0.6% of the HNWI population in the region.

Latin America

Latin America's GDP expanded in 2011 and the region experienced both the largest growth in HNWI population and the largest decline in HNWI wealth, led by declines in the significant ultra-HNWI segment.

  • In 2011, Latin America's HNWI population experienced modest gains of 5.4% while HNWI wealth declined 2.9%.
  • Latin America had the highest percentage of ultra-HNWIs at 2.4% compared with the global average of 0.9%
  • Real GDP in Brazil expanded 2.9% in 2011 and Mexico expanded 3.9%.

Middle East

The growth rate for the Middle East’s HNWI population was robust when compared to other regions and it was the only region where HNWI wealth increased.

  • In the Middle East, the size of the HNWI population gained by 2.7% in 2011 to 0.5 million, while wealth witnessed an increase by 0.7% to US$1.7 trillion.
  • UAE witnessed a 3.7% drop in HNWI population due to the effects of the real estate crisis in Dubai and the impact of other factors such as the Eurozone crisis. UAE market capitalization decreased 9.6% in 2011.
  • The Middle East had 4k ultra-HNWIs in 2011, making up 0.9% of the HNWI population.

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