Chicago Loses Millionaires

A 16 percent drop

Chicago has lost 16 percent of its millionaires - and that's not just because so many of them have gone to work in the Obama White House.

A new study shows that Chicago is down to 172,000 millionaires.

And we're doing better than many other cities.

Orlando, for example, has lost 42 percent of its millionaires; Las Vegas has lost 38 percent of theirs.

That's bad news for everyone who depends on the wealthy in one way or another. The headline on the story about the study in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, for example, was "In American Cities, Ranks of Wealthy Donors to Solicit Thin."

Areas with growing populations are not necessarily the ones with growing ranks of wealthy individuals, Reuters reports. Instead, cities more dependent on real estate and with less diverse economies are the ones being hit the hardest.

"All of the top spots are bubble-era boom towns fueled largely by real estate," the Wall Street Journal reports. "So their declines were driven by real estate as well, along with a drop in tourism."

The study's author, David Wilson, of Capgemini Consulting, told the Jacksonville, Fla., Observer that America still has more millionaires than the next two countries - Japan and Germany - combined.

But "Wilson said the drop in millionaires isn’t just felt among the brie and white wine set. When investible assets fall the way they have, government tax dollars shrink, reducing public services, while service industries that depend on discretionary spending by the wealthy also tighten.

"Investment in such economic engines as real estate and entrepreneurial businesses also is dwindling," he said.

And that's really the problem with millionaires: can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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