Less than 15% of ultra-high net worth individuals around the world are women. That's the highest it's ever been.

Business Insider Lifestyle 1 month ago

Just one out of every seven individuals worth more than $30 million in 2018 is a woman, a report by research firm Wealth-X found.

And that's the most it has ever been.

"I think what we're seeing is that over the years women are becoming increasingly entrepreneurial," Wealth-X Director of Thought Leadership & Analytics Maya Imberg told Business Insider. "Over a long time period, that began to show itself within the data of who makes up the ultra-wealthy."

Out of the 265,490 ultra-wealthy people on the planet, defined by Wealth-X as those with net worths over $30 million, 38,700 are women, according to the research firm's 2019 World Ultra-Wealth Report. The share of ultra-high net worth individuals who are women jumps to 18.8% when only those under 50 are studied, suggesting that women's share of the 1% will continue to increase with time.

Wealthy women used to primarily inherit their fortunes; now, they're also building them on their own

In past decades, ultra-high net worth women primarily inherited their fortunes, according to Wealth-X. Increasing numbers of female entrepreneurs are directly correlated with increasing numbers of ultra-wealthy women, Imberg told Business Insider.

However, women still face substantial headwinds when launching their own companies, Business Insider's Megan Hernbroth previously reported. In the first half of 2019, investment in female-founded startups accounted for 2.9% of total venture investments. That figure put 2019 on track to be the best fundraising year for female founders ever.

Entrepreneurship is one of the most common ways to create wealth. The proportion of the ultra-wealthy who made their own fortunes has been on the rise throughout the past decade, reaching over 67% in 2018, according to Wealth-X.

Tadashi Yanai, the founder of Uniqlo and the richest man in Japan, said in August that his job as the founder of one of the fastest-growing clothing retailers on the planet is actually "more suitable for a woman" because women are more "persevering, detailed oriented and have an aesthetic sense."

Wealthy women also tend to be less rich than the average ultra-high net worth individual, Wealth-X found. While women comprise 14.6% of the world's ultra-high net worth population, they hold only 10.3% of that group's cumulative wealth. This wealth gap is even more significant in ultra-wealthy people over age 70.


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