Although Brooklyn boasts long and proud roots as a borough of immigrants, strivers, working class pride, with only pockets of moneyed areas, decades of gentrification in Brooklyn have changed the demographics of the borough. A national political debate over taxing high net worth people to boost a sagging US economy raises the question: how many millionaires live in Brooklyn today?
In general, Brooklyn's millionaires don't flaunt their wealth. Brooklyn's not, after all, a place one is likely to see diamonds flashing, women in expensive fur coats stepping out of limos, or enormous yachts. But don't kid yourself. There are plenty of millionaires in Brooklyn.
Its just not clear how many.
That's because no NYC borough-specific data on millionaires exists, at least in the public domain.
Meanwhile, in July 2014, CBS Business News reported, in an article titled, Research Firm: New York Will See Increase In High-Wealth Individuals Over Next Decade, "Within the next decade the city will have more high-wealth individuals than any city in the world, according to research from Wealth Insight." The article says New York City " is currently ranked fourth in the world for millionaires."
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.)
Where do Brooklyn's Millionaires Live?If the definition of a millionaire is someone with assets (not income) of over $1 million, then look at housing prices, and you'll find Brooklyn's millionaires in the more expensive parts of such neighborhoods as Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Mill Basin, Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill, Prospect Park South, Flatbush Park Slope, Williamsburg, Manhattan Beach and Brighton Beach, and Bay Ridge, among others.