Survey: Number Of U.S. Millionaires Increases

The poverty rate may be up, but so is the number of millionaires. A survey of U.S. households with "investible assets" of $1 million or more was up 8 percent in a year. It's a big increase, and brings the population of millionaires back to where it was in 2006.

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The Census Bureau says the number of people living in poverty is up, but so are the ranks of the wealthy, according to a report released yesterday. The report, from Phoenix Marketing International, says the number of American millionaires has increased over the past year, after falling a bit during the depths of the financial crisis.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

JIM ZARROLI: The company says there were nearly 25 million Americans at the end of June who could be considered affluent. It defines affluent as having more than $150,000 a year in income or a quarter million dollars in investible assets, which doesn't include a person's house or retirement savings.

David Thompson is managing director of the Affluent Market at Phoenix International.

Mr. DAVID THOMPSON (Phoenix International): That market has actually been pretty resilient over the last five years or so. We haven't seen any loses in that market and primarily that's due to growth in higher income.

ZARROLI: Thompson says the number of millionaires fell between mid-2007 and mid-2009, mainly because of the drop in the value of stocks and other assets. But since the second half of 2009, the number of millionaires has rebounded to more than five and a half million, though the number hasn't yet reached pre-recession levels. The number of so-called deca-millionaires, people with $10 million or more, has also rebounded to about $182,000.

Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York.

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