Top 5 U.S. Cities Where the Ultra Wealthy Live

The term “ultra wealthy” may seem like a fun way to describe someone with boatloads of cash, but it actually has a specific definition. According to the Wealth-X Ultra Wealth Report of 2019, an ultra high net worth (UHNW) individual is a person who has a net worth of $30 million or more.

There’s good news for people who are close but don’t quite hit the mark of ultra wealth yet: The Wealth Report, a yearly report by Knight Frank, foresees a 22% increase in UHNW individuals by 2023. That means that 43,000 more people will be in the elusive ultra wealth club in a few years. 

And where are all these new minted millionaires going to live? Word on the street is that the amount of UHNW individuals in Florida increased more than 10% in the past year. The 500 new UHNW people flocked to the state due to its booming financial and real estate markets, according to Fund Society.

Patrick Dwyer Merrill Lynch (a former BOFAML advisor) who is based out of Miami has seen the local inventory for beach front luxury condos shrinking, with some prices trending up above 5 million dollars.

While UHNW individuals reside all over the world in cities like London and Tokyo, six out of the top ten cities where they live are in the United States*.

#5: Washington, D.C.

Coming in last place of the top 5 cities, Washington D.C. still boasts an impressive 2,785 UHNW individuals, says the Wealth-X 2019 report. In fact, a report from the Censes Bureau found that the top five highest-earning counties in the U.S. are near Washington D.C.

While D.C. has always been an affluent area, the recent trend of UHNW people is more recent. Robert Frank said in a piece for the New York Times that a “recent boom” in business and tech related to government has “given rise to a new class of superrich.” That, along with the richest White House in history, explains why the wealth is growing. 

#4: San Francisco

It’s no surprise to see San Francisco on this list, given that it is the city with the highest rent in the world. According to Zillow, the median price of a home in San Francisco is $1,352,300 and due to rise another 2.7% in the next year, probably due to all of the tech IPOs that are creating new millionaires. Of course, the high cost of living is no problem for UHNW individuals, of which there are a reported 2,925 according to Wealth-X. 

With stunning views in historical neighborhoods and bountiful tech opportunities, it’s understandable that UHNW people pack into the city. In fact, San Francisco has a higher density of billionaires than any other city in the world.

#3: Chicago

Chicago, the only city on the list that’s in the Midwest, comes in third with 3,350 UHNW individuals according to Wealth-X. Surprisingly, most are concentrated in the outer suburbs of the city instead of metro Chicago, according to Chicago Business. According to a 2019 report from Bloomberg on the richest towns in the United States, 10% of the wealthiest cities are near Chicago.

With it’s prime location in the middle of the country, renowned food, and proximity to the Great Lakes, it’s no surprise that Chicago is so high on the list.

#2: Los Angeles

It’s no secret that ritzy living and Los Angeles are basically synonyms. With the entertainment industry, Silicon Beach, and a host of other entrepreneurs creating businesses, there’s a lot of UHNW people living in the area, 5,295 in fact (Wealth-X). According to CityLab, 55 of the top 1000 wealthiest neighborhoods in the United States are in Los Angeles. 

With the dazzling sun, picturesque beaches, and flurry of exciting events, it’s no surprise that Los Angeles is a main stay for the ultra wealthy.

#1: New York City

Coming in as the top U.S. city for UHNW individuals is New York City, with a whopping 8,980 people with over $30 million in net worth, according to Wealth-X. In fact, the report states that “the metropolitan area of New York City, Newark and Jersey City is home to more billionaires than almost every country in the world, with the exception of China and Germany.”

With New York’s busy global financial center, it makes sense that so many wealthy people are in the area. Plus, New York has so much to offer with world-famous cuisine, Broadway shows, and glamorous shopping all located in Manhattan.

*For those wondering about the 6th U.S. city in the top 10, it’s Dallas, TX.

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