New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles top US cities for super-rich

31 March 2021 2 min. read

New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles were the highest-ranking US cities on Knight Frank’s list of the top cities for ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) to live, invest, and do business in.

New York and London tied for first place in the property agency and consulting firm’s annual “City Wealth Index.” Paris came in third place, with Tokyo and Hong Kong rounding out the top five.

European cities – bolstered by high lifestyle scores – were the overall leaders in the index, claiming eight spots in the top 20, while Asian cities accounted for five. There were six US cities in the top 20: New York (1), Chicago (6), Los Angeles (6), Houston (13), and Dallas (14).

New York led the wealth category, which measures the number of UHNWIs (net worth of more than $30 million) and HNWIs (net worth more than $1 million). The Big Apple has 7,743 UHNWIs, according to the Knight Frank report.

New York also led the investment category on the back of a large number of top global firms being located there, as well as strong domestic investment. London, meanwhile, attracted the highest level of cross-border private capital.

Top 20 locations in Knight Frank’s City Index

London also had the most “prime homes” – worth more than $2.7 million – at 68,000. Dubai came in second with 43,356 prime homes, followed by Sydney with 27,436.

Chicago ranked fifth for wealth and eighth for lifestyle, but was lowered by its 14th place ranking in investment. Los Angeles came in fourth for wealth and fifth for lifestyle, but only 18th for investment.

Houston and Dallas had fairly low rankings on the lifestyle category (40 and 36, respectively) compared to NYC, Chicago, and LA, but were buoyed by a solid concentration of rich people in the cities, as well as strong investment (7 and 11, respectively).

“In 2020 we may have seen a temporary exodus from cities during the initial round of Covid-19 lockdowns, but it was just that – temporary,” Flora Harley, deputy editor of The Wealth Report at Knight Frank, said. “Across 100 cities we analyze for the Knight Frank City Wealth Index, there are numerous reasons – in terms of their wealth, investment, and lifestyle offerings – why UHNWIs are still choosing to spend time in urban areas.”

Knight Frank’s Wealth Report also projects the number of UHNWIs globally will grow by 27% over the next five years, swelling its ranks to 663,483 people by 2025.

In a year of intense economic and human suffering in the US, 6,080 people entered the UHNWI category, for a growth rate of 3.5%. The US has the most super-rich people in the world, at 180,060, with China in second at 70,426.

The US UHNWI population is expected to grow by 25% in the next five years, as the wealth gap in the developed world continues to widen.