Its just not clear how many.
That's because no NYC borough-specific data on millionaires exists, at least in the public domain.
Here's some data from which to extrapolate:
1. Nationwide there are 3.4 million high net worth individuals according to the World Wealth Report 2011 produced by consulting firm Capgemini with Merrill Lynch, based on 2010 data. With 650,000 high net worth individuals, the greater Metropolitan area has almost one in five of the nation's richest households. (Note that in correspondence with the company, Capgemini identified this area as including "New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA Metropolitan Statistical Area as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.")
2. The metropolitan area that includes NYC has been getting richer, with an increase of over 18% in the number of high net worth individuals from 2008 to 2010. The area reportedly had 667,200 resident millionaires in 2010.
3. Brooklyn's a borough of mom-and-pop stores, and nationally, the majority of millionaires are small business owners. That doesn't, of course, mean the local bodega owner who is working in his or her shop from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. is a millionaire. Many of Brooklyn's small business owners are struggling. But others — and only the IRS knows who — have sufficient assets to qualify as a member in the millionaire class. The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce reports that about 30,000 people own small businesses in Brooklyn.
So, how many of the NY-NJ-PA metropolitan area's estimated 667,200 millionaires now live in Brooklyn? There's no hard data, but it's safe to hazard a guess that the numbers are in the many thousands, using real estate as a proxy measure and given that so many apartments and homes in the borough cost over $1 million. At any given time, one can find hundreds of real estate listings for homes costing from one to two million dollars, and more.(See NY Times real estate section)
TrendsWithout Brooklyn-specific data, it's hard to say, but chances are good that:
- More high net worth individuals — defined conservatively as people with $1 million in assets — live in Brooklyn today than twenty years ago.
- As is the case nationwide, there's growing income disparity in Brooklyn, with increasing pockets of wealth on one hand and increasing rates of poverty on the other.
- Fewer millionaires reside in Brooklyn than in Manhattan.
- Staten Island, which has a higher per capita income and smaller population than Brooklyn, has a higher percentage of millionaires in its borough-wide population than Brooklyn does. The US Census shows that thirty thousand Brooklyn households, representing three percent of all Brooklyn households, compared to five percent of Staten Island households and sixteen percent of Manhattan households, earn over $200,000. (Queens is in about the same league as Brooklyn.)