Ranks of Spain’s rich have grown by 40% since start of crisis, study finds

World Wealth Report shows downturn has not stopped people joining millionaires’ club

The number of millionaires has been growing steadily in Spain despite the crisis.
The number of millionaires has been growing steadily in Spain despite the crisis.RAÚL CANCIO

The number of people with large fortunes in Spain has grown by 40 percent since the crisis began in 2008. In 2014 alone, the amount of wealthy individuals rose 10 percent to reach 178,000 people, a new report finds.

A study by consulting firm Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management found that there had been a seven-percent global increase in the number of high net worth individuals (HNWI) in 2014. People who fall into this category have a million dollars or more in investable assets without counting the value of their primary residence or consumer goods.

The findings on Spain confirm earlier reports suggesting an increase in inequality. In Spain, household income dropped an average annual 3.5 percent between 2007 and 2011, similar to the figures for Ireland and Iceland, according to a recent study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Meanwhile, nearly 13 million people are at risk of poverty or social exclusion in Spain – 27.3 percent of the population, or almost one in three individuals – according to research by the European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN), a coalition of NGOs, grassroots groups and European organizations.

Household spending up

Alejandro Bolaños

For the first time since the crisis began in 2008, Spanish households began spending more last year.

Figures released by the National Statistics Institute (INE) show a moderate rise of 0.3 percent in family outlay, for a total of close to €495 billion in 2014. Taking the overall drop in prices into account, that rate rises to one percent.

In absolute terms, the biggest rise in household spending was on vehicle purchases – up 18 percent from 2013 – reflecting the impact of a joint government-industry subsidy policy. In relative terms, medical expenses have risen 46 percent, indicating greater use of private healthcare following budget cuts to public care.

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