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Number of millionaires is up 16% from 2008

Stock rally helped restore riches to many who lost affluence in the 2007 market crash. Still, the number of millionaires is below the total from that year.

March 10, 2010|By Gail MarksJarvis

Although millions of households are dealing with job losses or underemployment, the number of millionaires in the U.S. is up 16% over 2008, according to a national survey by the Spectrem Group.

Clearly, the 69% rally in the stock market, which began March 9, 2009, helped restore riches to some of those reeling in 2008.

Households with net worth of $1 million or more -- not including their primary home -- grew to 7.8 million in 2009, Spectrem said.

The previous year, the millionaire population fell 27% as the stock market crashed and the recession took its toll throughout the economy.

According to Spectrem, the number of ultra-high-net-worth households -- those with net worth of $5 million or more -- increased 17%, to 980,000, in 2009.

The number of households with $500,000 or more in net worth is up 12%, to 12.7 million.

The research ties in with increased sales at retailers that cater to affluent customers -- companies such as Nordstrom, Tiffany and Coach.

Still, Americans have a way to go before recovering the affluence they had before the market crash and recession. At the peak of the market in 2007, Spectrem says, there were 9.2 million millionaire households.

Spectrem conducts an annual survey of affluent households, which included research covering 3,000 affluent households with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

MarksJarvis writes for the Chicago Tribune.

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