Home > Business Libraries, General Business > Puttin’ on the Ritz – Sources for Data on Wealth

Puttin’ on the Ritz – Sources for Data on Wealth

GUEST post – This is a slightly edited version of Michael Halperin’s post “Puttin’ on the Ritz …” on the Datapoints blog.

In the U.S. there is an increasing concentration of assets in the hands of the wealthy. This trend has given rise to phrases such as the “1%” and the “99%”.  Here are some data sources to help us answer such questions as “Who are the richest people?”, “How many of them are there?”, “How rich are they?”, and “How do they spend their money?”

Richest Lists

Forbes has a number of “richest people” lists in its magazine including Forbes World’s Billionaires and Forbes 400 The Richest People in America. In addition to names, photos, and net worth, the lists have information on residence, age, and source of income.  Using Forbes’ data, Wikipedia has compiled a convenient list of the Top 10 Richest People in the world by year from 2000 on.

[Bloomberg command RICH gives the Bloomberg Billionaires Index covering 100 people.]

Rich Demographics

Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management’s 2012 World Wealth Report is a freely available annual survey of “High Net Worth Individuals” (HNWI) from 70 countries. HNWI are defined as those with financial assets, excluding residence, of more than 1 million US dollars. Capgemini also discusses “Ultra HNWIs” individuals with financial assets of more than 30 million dollars. The report includes statistics on type of financial assets and a ranking of high wealth individuals by geographic area and country.

Two additional standard sources of information about the rich are the Luxury Institute and the Ipsos Mendelsohn Group.

Ipsos Mendelsohn does an annual U.S. study of 14,000 adults living in households with at least $100,000 in annual income. Although the University of Manchester Library, like the Penn Libraries, does not have access to their surveys of the affluent, you can often find data from these surveys cited in articles within the Business Source Premier or ABI/Inform databases. Try searching for luxury institute or mendelsohn affluent survey and search within the full-text.

The U.S. IRS Tax Stats Personal Wealth Statistics is published every three years.

[Table US Personal Wealth 2007 omitted – to view see original Puttin’ on the Ritz – Sources for Data on Wealth post on the Datapoints blog.]

[The UK National Statistics Publication Hub gives access to several wealth reports: Personal Wealth from HM Revenue and Customs, Wealth in Great Britain from Office for National Statistics and Wealth in Great Britain Wave 2 from Office for National Statistics.]

Marketing to the Rich

Marketing research publications are the obvious choice to answer questions about affluent marketing. Two good sources of information are [edited for University of Manchester resources]:


Affluent Investing (UK 2012); Consumer Attitudes Towards Luxury Brands (UK 2011), and Luxury Holidays (UK 2010). 

GMID (Global Market Information Database)

Luxury Travel: Experiencing the Best (2012) and Luxury Alcohol in the BRICS: How the BRICs are Reshaping the Luxury Alcohol Industry (2012).

The Datapoints blog includes a related post on resources for income distribution: I Dream of Gini – Measuring Income Distributions (Datapoints blog)

GUEST post – This is a slightly edited version of Michael Halperin’s post “Puttin’ on the Ritz …” on the Datapoints blog.

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