America's Big City Millionaires Grew by 7.3% in 2010


The ranks of those who can call themselves a rich city slicker have grown a bit thicker. Reflecting the global surge of millionaires reported recently, the United States' 10 wealthiest urban areas produced 7.3% more high net worth individuals in 2010, Capgemini announced Tuesday in its U.S. Metro Wealth Index.

From No. 1 New York (with a 7.9 % increase to 720,000 millionaires) to No. 10 San Jose (2.7% to 89,000), every major economic hub minted more officially affluent people than it lost.

Wondering if you made the list? Your assets, excluding your home, must exceed $1 million. (If you'd like to make the grade next time, check out these tips.)

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The best place to be nouveau riche -- or just newly rich -- was No. 8 Houston, which added millionaires at a nation-high rate of 9.6% to 97,000. It traded places with Detroit, which fell to No. 9. This was one of those cases where Houston, the fourth-most populous city in the U.S., had nowhere to go but up. It fell the hardest in 2008, the report pointed out. Since then, its oil and gas industry has helped fuel a resurgence of the ostentatiously prosperous. No. 2 Los Angeles had the second-largest increase, bringing 8.8% more millionaires behind its velvet rope of 257,000 high net worth individuals.

No new cities broke into the top 10, though most surpassed their pre-recession totals in 2010, according to Capgemini. Fortunes bulked up on more aggressive investing, said William Sullivan, Capgemini's head of global market intelligence. Fewer of the well-off just socked it away last year as the economy recovered and equities became more inviting.

From both city and country, 1% of the nation is now of the high net worth persuasion.

On a down note, America's big cities fell short of the international jump of 8.3% reported in June. Oh well -- there's always next year.