Recession tragedy: Millionaire households down 27%


American millionaires aren't typically a subject of great sympathy, but in 2008, they had a really bad year. So bad in fact that 27% of them aren't millionaires anymore, according to a new report from the Spectrum Group.

There are now just 6.7 million U.S. households worth more than $1 million, not including primary residences. That's the lowest tally since 2003 when there were 6.2 million.

"The culprit is not just the stock market, which we all know has dropped precipitously, but broad declines in the asset classes available to the nation's wealthiest investors," said George Walper, the Spectrum Group's president, in a statement.

What's so terrifying about that is that that $1 million-plus group includes a lot of households with far, far more than a million bucks. I haven't seen any data yet, but I'm wondering what percentage of household with $1 million to $2 million in assets are now worth less than a million -- probably a lot more than 27%.

And not including primary residences in these numbers also skews the number lower, given that high-end homes have fallen a lot faster than the low-end.