Maine home to a growing number of millionaires

In what could be interpreted as a good sign for Maine’s economy, there were 2,012 more millionaires in the state in 2013 than the year before, according to a new report by an international market research firm.

In 2013, Maine had approximately 26,276 households with more than $1 million in investable assets, not including the value of real estate, according to a report from Rhinebeck, N.Y.-based Phoenix Marketing International. That works out to be a ratio of millionaire households to total households of 4.69 percent, enough to rank Maine No. 25 in the country.

That makes Maine stand out in the report, as it represents a jump of 11 spots in the rankings. Only North Dakota, which jumped 14 spots and is experiencing a big oil boom, had a more significant rise in the rankings.

Maine ranked No. 36 in 2012 with 24,264 millionaire households and a ratio to total households of 4.28 percent. Maine has ranked either No. 35 or No. 36 in the rankings going back to 2007. In 2006, before any effect of the recession would have been seen in the figures, the state ranked No. 39 with 22,218 millionaire households for a ratio of 4 percent.

Given that our population has not been growing by leaps and bounds, I don’t think it’s a case of millionaires flocking to Maine. It’s more likely that existing Mainers are generating more wealth.

To learn more, I called David Thompson, managing director of the Global Wealth Monitor report for Phoenix Marketing International.

While North Dakota’s rise in the rankings is clearly associated with its oil boom, Thompson said he couldn’t pinpoint one thing that may have led to Maine’s stellar rise in the rankings.

“I can only conjecture that Maine’s economy seems to have rebounded fairly nicely from the downturn five years ago,” he told me. “But to be able to point to one catalyst for that is difficult. It could be that Maine will stay where you are or it could change position again. It’s very difficult to predict.”

Nationally, there were roughly 6.1 million households with more than $1 million in investable assets for a ratio of 5.16 percent. The most affluent state is Maryland with 169,287 millionaire households for a ratio of 7.7 percent.

To come up with the estimates of the number of millionaire households, Thompson said his team uses three data points: household survey data from Nielsen Co., the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finance, and Phoenix Marketing International’s own tracking studies of affluent households.

While there is no margin of error calculated for the estimates, Thompson stood by the numbers and called the process a “tried and true methodology,” which has been used to prepare such a report since 1983.

However, the report’s methodology does caution that the numbers provided in the report “are approximations, not actual number of households” and are best used for comparative purposes.


Whit Richardson

About Whit Richardson

Whit Richardson is Business Editor at the Bangor Daily News. He blogs about Maine business, entrepreneurs and the economy.