1.7 million Americans became millionaires in 2020

Almost 1 in 10, 8.8%, of U.S. adults are now millionaires, up from 7% in 2015.

Despite the economic woes brought on by the pandemic, 1.7 million Americans became new millionaires last year. That’s according to the latest Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report.

In all, there are now 56.1 million people globally with assets of at least $1 million USD, the investment bank estimates, and Americans represent 39.1% of that total. Almost 1 in 10, 8.8%, of U.S. adults are now millionaires, up from 7% in 2015. In 2000, just 3.8% of Americans were.

The swelling ranks of millionaires is a surprising trend considering so many people struggled with money during Covid. As recently as March, more than half of Americans said they were still in “financial recovery” mode.

But wealthier Americans disproportionately benefited from the market’s quick recovery and new bull market, and from rising home prices: “Wealth creation in 2020 appears to have been completely detached from the economic woes resulting from Covid-19,” the Credit Suisse report notes.

Although the number of millionaires has increased, it’s still “a very small percentage are black,” points out Earl Childress, Chairman and CEO of Earl Childress Investments, a smart venture capital company in St. Louis, Missouri. “The fastest way to build wealth in America is to start or invest in a scalable business,” he says, especially when you have a company that produces cash flow. “That's the blueprint to wealth.”

Outside of generational wealth, Childress says, people who have gotten to $1 million have done so by “using smart money to solve problems which enhance the lives of people.”

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