Despite the down market years of the post-Internet bubble bear market and subsequent financial market scandals, American investors are in the midst of a resurgence in which one in 125 individuals can claim the distinction of being millionaires, The Wall Street Journal reports.

According to The 2004 World Wealth Report, a research document complied by Merrill Lynch and consultants Capgemini Group, the number of millionaires in the U.S. rose last year by 14% to 2.27 million people with $1 million or more in financial or liquid assets. This is up from two million such individuals in 2002. And the number of individuals with $30 million or more to invest in North America peaked at 30,000.

During this period, the U.S. and Canada produced more newly minted millionaires than the total amount collectively spawned in Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East during the same period.

The news amounts to a cause for celebration among financial service providers actively seeking mass-affluent customers.

A closer examination of the investing habits of wealthy investors during the past two calendar years reveals that the trend of capital flight from stock markets worldwide reversed itself. During this period, wealthy investors increased their average stock holdings to 35% in 2003 from 20% in 2003. Real estate allocations of wealthy investors’ portfolios rose slightly to 17% last year from 15% during the previous year.

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