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Is Florida flush with millionaires? Perhaps not as much as you think

Florida ranks fourth among states based on its sheer number of millionaire households, but drops to 31st in millionaire households per capita.
[Associated Press]

Florida ranks fourth among states based on its sheer number of millionaire households, but drops to 31st in millionaire households per capita. [Associated Press]

By one measure, Florida is awash in millionaire households — 383,290 of them, in fact. That's no surprise given the lack of a state income tax, warm weather and a seemingly endless coastline offering upscale homes with water views.

But a new study suggests there are fewer here than one might expect.

Florida ranks an impressive fourth among states based on its sheer number of millionaire households. Only California with 772,555, Texas with 490,634 and New York with 437,889 had more in 2015, according to a new report on where affluent people live in the United States published by wealth tracker Phoenix Marketing International.

Looked at a different way, though, Florida falls dramatically in the affluence rankings. Per capita — dividing the number of millionaire households by state population — Florida drops to 31st among U.S. states. In Florida, 4.89 percent of all households are considered millionaire households, defined as households that possess at least $1 million in "investable assets." That excludes the homes they live in but includes financial investments such as stocks, bonds, retirement accounts and insurance policies.

Per capita, California ranked No. 13, Texas ranked No. 25 and New York ranked No. 15.

Florida, in fact, ranks below the national average of per capita millionaire households of 5.37 percent. That means there were 6,504,201 such households out of the nation's total of 121,099,157. The country added 238,533 millionaire households from 2014 to 2015.

At 31st among the states, Florida's density of millionaire households is just under Oregon at No. 30 and just above No. 32 New Mexico, both small-population states. In 2014, Florida ranked 32nd with 358,191 millionaire households. The state gained 25,099 millionaire households in 2015.

These numbers, it should be noted, are compiled from numerous sources and Phoenix Marketing has tracked affluent households for many years, but the figures ultimately are estimates. (Even the IRS does not know for sure how many millionaire households exist given the limits of the kinds of data it collects and the tendency of many taxpayers to understate their wealth to tax collectors.)

So where do millionaire households tend to cluster? Where are the most of them per capita? The top five geographically diverse states based on this measure are No. 1 Maryland, followed by Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey and Alaska.

On the flip side, here are the five states with the lowest density of millionaire households: Idaho, West Virginia, Kentucky, Arkansas and, in last place, Mississippi.

What's interesting to see is which states gained or lost the most millionaire households from 2014 to 2015. Those numbers suggest which states produced or lost millionaire households because of economic changes, but also where millionaire households chose to move to or from.

Places that gained the most millionaire households per capita in 2015 tended to be Upper Midwest or Western states. At the top, gaining six spots at No. 33, was Montana. Oregon rose five spots, passing Florida, to No. 30. Minnesota also climbed five spots to No. 11.

The states losing the most millionaire households per capita were Rhode Island, falling seven spots to No. 19, and Missouri, dropping five spots to No. 39. And Nevada dipped four spots to No. 41. So much for getting rich gambling in Vegas.

Contact Robert Trigaux at rtrigaux@tampabay.com. Follow @venturetampabay.

Is Florida flush with millionaires? Perhaps not as much as you think 01/22/16 [Last modified: Friday, January 22, 2016 7:34pm]
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