Jun 242013

Two recent studies shed an interesting light on the distribution of wealth in Mexico. The first, carried out by the the National Statistics Agency (INEGI) is that agency’s first ever analysis of Mexico’s social classes. The study found that 12.3 million homes and 44 million people (39% of the total population) were “middle class” in 2010, up from 35% in 2000. In urban areas, 47% of the population was middle class, compared to just 26% in rural areas. Middle class homes had at least one computer, spent about 115 dollars [1,470 pesos] a month on eating and drinking outside the home, had at least one resident with a credit card and one with formal employment. In most cases, the head of household had gained a tertiary qualification. The same report found that almost 60% of Mexico’s population matched the criteria for “lower class”, while only 1.7% of the population could be best described as “upper class”.

However, a second study, by consultancy WealthInsight (“Mexico Wealth Book: Trends in Millionaire Wealth“) provides compelling evidence that the number of wealthy and super-wealthy individuals in Mexico has risen sharply. From 2007 to 2012, during the administration of President Felipe Calderón, the number of millionaires in Mexico rose by 32%, whereas the global average for the same period (which included economic recession in the USA and Europe) declined by 0.3%.

WealthInsight found that in 2012 Mexico had 145,000 individuals with a “High Net Worth” (defined as over a million dollars in assets besides their principal residence). Together these high net worth individuals hold a fortune of $736 billion, equivalent to 43% of Mexico ‘s total individual wealth. This number is well above the worldwide average of 29%, indicating that Mexico has a relatively uneven distribution of wealth. What’s more, WealthInsight expects the trend to continue and predicts that by 2017, the number of millionaires in Mexico will grow a further 47% to reach 213,000.

Included in the figure for millionaires are 2,540 multimillionaires (with individual net assets of $30 million or more), 2272 “affluent millionaires”(net assets between $30
million and $100 million) and 252 “centimillionaires” (net assets between $100 million and $1 billion). Mexico also has 16 billionaires, a number expected to rise to 21 by 2017. Grouped together, these ultra high net worth individuals are worth $364 billion in total combined wealth. By 2017 the total wealth of multimillionaires is projected to increase by 44% to reach $525 billion. The report predicts that the total wealth of Mexican billionaires will grow by 26% to reach $241 billion by the end of 2017.

The Mexican city with most multimillionaires is Mexico City; 43% of them make their home there.

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