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The ranks of the rich are swelling and they have more money than ever. The new Capgemini/Merrill Lynch World Wealth Report 2011 says that there were 10.9 million rich people (defined as those who have more than $1 million of free cash) in the world in 2010, up 8.3 percent from the prior year.

These high net worth individuals (HNWIs) have fully recouped losses suffered from the Great Recession and credit crisis and collectively are worth $42.7 trillion, up 9.7 percent from a year earlier and topping the previous high of $40.7 trillion in 2007.

The number of SUPER-rich, known as “ultra-high net worth individuals,” (those with at least $30 million), climbed 10 percent to a total of 103,000. Although they represent less than 1 percent of the world’s HNWIs, they account for an amazing 36 percent of the total HNWI wealth.

Feeling like you’re not keeping up? That’s because you aren’t! According to the BEAPersonal Income for May rose, but adjusted for inflation and taxes, only by a tenth of a percent. Incomes have been essentially flat since the beginning of the year. Actually, wages have been stagnant for a decade. According to Calcucated Risk, “median household income in constant dollars was $49,777 in 2009. That is barely above the $49,309 in 1997, and below the $51,100 in 1998. (Census data here in Excel).” Here’s more on Personal Income and Spending:

To quote my mother: “rich or poor, it’s nice to have money!”

Here’s more on the geographic breakdown of the world’s wealthiest:

  • The US is still home to the single largest HNW segment in the world, with its 3.1 million HNWIs accounting for 28.6 percent of the global HNWI population
  • The population of HNWIs in Asia-Pacific grew by 9.7 percent to 3.3 million individuals — it’s now the second-largest in the world behind North America, and ahead of Europe for the first time
  • Europe’s HNWI wealth totaled $10.2 trillion after growing 7.2 percent in 2010
  • North American HNWI wealth hit $11.6 trillion in 2010, up 9.1 percent
  • Latin America saw another modest gain (6.2 percent) in its HNWI population in 2010 and HNWI wealth rose 9.2 percent
  • India’s HNWI population entered the Top 12 for the first time and Australia edged up another notch to number 9.
Jill Schlesinger is the Editor-at-Large for CBS MoneyWatch.com. Prior to the launch of MoneyWatch, she was the Chief Investment Officer for an independent investment advisory firm. In her infancy, she was an options trader on the Commodities Exchange of New York.
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