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The global pyramid of wealth

Every year the London-based property consultancy Knight Frank publishes something called The Wealth Report. And it’s one of those reports that I could go through for hours. 

It includes a ton of really fascinating stats that speak volumes about where in the world wealth is being created and how it’s moving around. And of course there are a lot of connections between wealth, real estate, and city building.

Below are 3 diagrams that really stood out for me in the 2015 version. 

The first diagram shows which cities have the most Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWIs). An UHNWI is defined as an individual with assets exceeding US$30 million, but excluding personal assets and property (such as one’s principal residence). Click here to see the full size image (I know the numbers are small).


Not surprisingly, London (4,364), Tokyo (3,575), Singapore (3,227), New York (3,008), and Hong Kong (2,690) are at the top of the list. But I was a little surprised – albeit happily surprised – to see Toronto (1,216) come in at #2 in North America, beating out Mexico City (1,116), Los Angeles (969), and Chicago (827). 

The second diagram shows you how many square meters of luxury property (apartment) you can buy for US$1 million in a bunch of different cities around the world. 

In Monaco (top end), that’ll buy you 17 square meters (183 square feet) and in Cape Town (bottom end), that’ll buy you 208 square meters (2,196 square feet).


The third and last diagram is what they call the global pyramid of wealth. It’s a pyramid of everyone in the world and then the number of millionaires, UHNWIs (see above), centa-millionaires, and billionaires. And if you do the math, the top of this pyramid comes nowhere close to 1% of the global population.


It’s fascinating (and exciting) to see where and how global wealth is concentrating. But it should also make you think about rising income inequality. I know it does for me.

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