While lots of polls show that many middle-class and lower-class Americans believe the recession has not ended financially, the number of millionaires in the U.S. climbed close to record levels in 2013, reaching a count of 9.63 million. The top 1% of Americans based on income have done well, according to most media accounts. There is evidence that the top tier of that group has done even better.
According to a report by Spectrem Group:
The Recession reduced the number of millionaires in the United States to 6.7 million in 2008, though its population has grown ever since. Its previous high was 9.2 million in 2007, before the Recession started.
The figure does not include the value of primary residences.
George H. Walper Jr., president of Spectrem Group, added:
Most of the financial damage done by the Recession has been erased by recent record-high markets in 2013 as well as continued rebound in the real estate markets. In terms of the affluent investor, it is fair to say they have finally recovered from the economic downturn.
The number of ultra-rich rose as well, according to the study. People with household net worth of $5 million or more reached a record high of 1.24 million last year, up from 1.14 million in 2012. People with $25 million or more in net worth numbered 132,000 in 2013, up by 15,000 the year before.
The trend probably helps the U.S. economy in several ways. The first is the value of high-end real estate. Investor’s Business Daily recently reported on luxury home sales, “Nationwide, sales volume for existing single-family homes priced at the top end is growing the fastest of any price range, according to the National Association of Realtors.”
The benefit has also spread to expensive cars. Mercedes, BMW and Audi all posted record sales in the United States during 2013. Mercedes and BMW each sold more than 300,000 cars and SUVs last year.
The rich did get richer in 2013, and they did so at record levels.