Business, Economics and Jobs

Asia's millionaires outnumber America's

For the first time, Asia-Pacific millionaires outnumbered those in North America, giving the region the highest number of millionaires in the world.

According to an annual global wealth report by Capgemini and Royal Bank of Canada Wealth Management, Asia-Pacific surpassed North America in 2011 with 3.37 million high-net-worth individuals (HNWI), reported CNN. HNWI is defined as a person with at least $1 million available for investment, excluding personal assets like primary homes, collectibles and consumer durables.

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North America's wealthy population fell to second place as its numbers dipped 1.1 percent to 3.35 million, according to the Associated Press. But it still held the biggest share of investable wealth at $11.4 trillion, even though it was down 2.3 percent. Asia-Pacific's HNWI numbers were up 1.6 percent from the year before, although its investable wealth shrank 1.1 percent to $10.7 trillion.

"While throughout the world the euro-zone crisis has affected markets in general and investors' level of uncertainty, within the Asia-Pacific region we have seen strength in their domestic economies underlying their performance from an economic standpoint," said Gay Mitchell, deputy chairman for RBC Wealth Management, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. "As such it's yielded an increase in population for high net-worth individuals."

The AP also reported that Europe, which fell below Asia in 2009, came third with 3.17 millionaires worth $10.1 trillion.

The worldwide population of millionaires changed little at 11 million, according to Businessweek. Wealth dropped 1.7 percent to $42 trillion of assets last year. It was the first decline since 2008.

According to CNN, the 16th World Wealth Report, which looked at economic activity in 2011, covered 71 countries that account for more than 98 percent of gross national income.