Report: Thousands of millionaires leaving Chicago, cite mounting racial tensions and crime

Willis Tower and the Chicago skyline in November 2013. (Chicago Tribune)

By Kevin Hoffman, Reboot Illinois

More millionaires left Chicago last year than any other city in the nation, according to a report by New World Wealth.

The research firm found Chicago had a net loss of nearly 3,000 millionaires, or individuals with at least $1 million in net assets (excluding their primary residence), which accounted for 2 percent of the city’s 134,000 high net worth residents.

Mounting racial tensions and an increase in crime were among the most notable reasons given by millionaires fleeing the Windy City for other parts of the country.


The report’s findings are on a par with those of Nielsen study released last year that showed many wealthy black Chicagoans are leaving the city, too.

From the Chicago Tribune’s Becky Yerak:

The Nielsen report found that the Chicago area has fallen out of the top echelon of U.S. cities when it comes to the percentage of black households earning more than $100,000.

In 2000, Chicago ranked seventh among the cities with the largest percentage of black households with income at that level or higher, but in 2015, Chicago had dropped out of the top 10. Globally, Chicago was one of four cities — Paris (7,000), Rome (5,000) and Athens (2,000) — with the largest outflow of millionaires, according to the report.

Australia ranked No. 1 out of countries with the largest inflow of millionaires at 8,000, followed by the U.S. (7,000); Canada (5,000); Israel (4,000), United Arab Emirates (3,000); and New Zealand (2,000). Figures are rounded to the nearest 1,000.

Conversely, France, China, Italy, India, Greece, Russia, Spain and Brazil lost the most individuals with more than $1 million in net assets.

More from the report on why millionaires leaving matters:


Bad sign 

Millionaires are often the first people to leave. They have the means to leave unlike middle class citizens.

Money outflow 

When millionaires leave a country, they take large amounts of money with them which impacts negatively on the local currency, local stock market and local property market.  

Lost jobs

Millionaires employ large numbers of people. Around 30 percent to 40 percent of millionaires are business owners.

Lost revenue and tax

Millionaires spend a lot of money on local goods and services and pay a large amount of income tax.

Pensions and benefits 

Millionaires are not reliant on state pensions and benefits, which makes them a relatively easy and cheap group to please.


Millionaires are resilient to economic downturns and can keep an economy going during tough times.

Brain drain 

Millionaires are normally highly skilled and highly educated. Many are also innovators.

New World Wealth’s report used data from investor visa program statistics, interviews with roughly 800 high-net worth individuals and intermediaries from around the world, property registers and sales statistics, as well as from the media.


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