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America gained 2.5 million new millionaires last year

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High-rise condominiums along Sarasota Bay in Sarasota, Florida, are seen here in 2021.

The number of rich people in the world rose at a rapid pace last year, boosted by gains in the stock market and house prices.

As many as 5.2 million people became millionaires last year, with nearly half in the United States alone, according to Credit Suisse's latest annual wealth report.

"This is the largest increase in millionaire numbers recorded for any country in any year this century," it said.

Worldwide, the total number of millionaires stood at 62.5 million at the end of 2021, Credit Suisse estimated.

The report, which was released Tuesday, found that aggregate global wealth totaled $463.6 trillion at the end of last year, jumping 9.8%.

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Unsurprisingly, the top two economies — the United States and China — saw the biggest gains in household wealth, followed by Canada, India, and Australia.

Each country was likely helped by significant rises in economic output in 2021, combined with "vigorous" activity in their respective housing or stock markets, the bank said.

This once again exacerbated global inequality, which has already worsened significantly throughout the pandemic.

2020 saw a historic setback in the fight against global poverty, with the number of the world's poorest rising for the first time in over 20 years, according to the World Bank.

While overall poverty has since slid down slightly again, the institution estimates that tens of millions more people could still be living in extreme poverty this year than previously thought, "due to the lingering effects of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and rising inflation."

That stands in sharp contrast to the world's most fortunate, even if they aren't immune to those factors.

Last year, the wealth share of the top 1% "rose for a second year running," Credit Suisse said in its report. Those individuals accounted for 45.6% of the world's wealth in 2021.


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