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U.S. minted more millionaires in 2009

By Chavon Sutton, staff reporter


NEW YORK(CNNMoney.com) -- America's millionaires are on the rise again, according to a report issued Tuesday, after their ranks thinned out during the 2008 market meltdown.

U.S. households worth $1 million or more grew to 7.8 million in 2009, up 16% from 2008, according to a survey from Spectrem Group, a Chicago-based market research and consulting firm.

The firm's report also found that the number of ultra high-net-worth households, worth $5 million or more, jumped 17% to 980,000.

"This is largely attributed to the stock market rebound, since other assets including real estate and private businesses have not rebounded as dramatically," said George H. Walper, Jr., president of Spectrem Group.

The report comes one year to the day after the Dow and the S&P 500 closed at 12 year lows in the thick of the financial crisis.

The market drop sent the number of millionaires plummeting 27% in 2008, according to Spectrem. Even now, the number of millionaires is still well below an all-time high of 9.2 million in 2007.

The Dow is up 61% in the past 12 months. But despite the market's rebound Walper said that the influential millionaires group, which controls about 70% of total U.S. assets and includes key corporate executives and small business owners, is still concerned about a prolonged economic downturn.

"They'd like to see unemployment in the 6% to 7% range before they feel confident that the economy is fully rebounding," said Walper.

The "Affluent Market Insights 2010" report is a compilation of monthly research conducted in 2009. Spectrem surveyed over 6,100 affluent households throughout the year. To top of page

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