Throughout human history, wealth and power have tended to accumulate in certain large cities. It has often been because these cities have served as the epicenter of political power or as major hubs for international business.
In ancient times, cities such as Damascus, Timbuktu, Benin City, and Carthage were synonymous with dazzling riches, known the world over as the places where the wealthiest and most influential people in history chose to make their home.
These days, however, the picture looks somewhat different. New industries, new routes to wealth, and new forms of globalization have given rise to a class of uber-wealthy urban centers where money, power, prestige, and connections congregate. Let’s take a closer look at where exactly the world’s wealthiest cities are in 2020.
If we’re looking at cities in terms of total wealth, then the Big Apple leads the pack by a country mile. As of 2020, there is an estimated $3 trillion worth of assets and capital in the city. New York’s richest resident, 476 Washington Avenue, former mayor Michael Bloomberg, has a net worth of $45 billion, making him one of the wealthiest people in human history. New York is also home to several of the most expensive real estate properties globally, including a $238 million apartment purchased by US hedge fund wizard Ken Griffin last year.
London’s UK capital is the only one that comes close to NYC in terms of total wealth held in the city, with $2.7 trillion as of 2020. Also, London has the highest number of billionaires in the world, with a total of 80 living within the city limits. It has also been ranked as the best city on the planet for wealthy individuals, thanks to its extensive private banking infrastructure, strong property laws, stable and valuable real estate market, and, of course, its reputation for discretion. With that said, it comes as no surprise to discover London has one of the most booming casino cultures worldwide. After all, what do you do when you have money to spare? Play for the highest stakes, of course.
London is home to over thirty casinos, including many historical venues. For our money, though, Palm Beach is one of the most exclusive casinos in London. As part of the prestigious Mayfair Hotel, the establishment caters to high rollers and affluent clientele. It’s an ideal location for the richest of gamblers to unwind — pour a Macallan 52 on the rocks, and play some cards.
If we look at the oft-referred to metric of GDP-per-capita, which measures each resident’s average wealth, then the semi-autonomous Chinese province of Macau takes the global lead, thanks to a GDP-per-capita of $143,116. Much of this is generated by Macau’s vast casino industry, which has helped it beat out Las Vegas as the world’s gambling capital. While much of the global casino industry continues to move online, there’s certainly a place for Macau’s glamor and the convenience of online casinos, which often mirror this gambling capital. These days, massive casino companies based all over the world can offer free slots or real money slots online to players in dozens of countries, with the influence of Macau’s dominant position in the global gambling industry being evident in their offerings alongside others such as Las Vegas.
Another metric one could look at when assessing the world’s wealthiest cities in the number of high-net-worth individuals per capita. In this regard, Monaco’s tiny French principality, which famously offers 0% income tax, is home to a staggering 12,261 millionaires, meaning that a full 32% of the entire population is a millionaire. Given that Monaco only spans one square mile, competition for prime real estate is intense. This explains why average real estate prices are the highest globally, at around $5900 per square meter.
Finally, one could say that the wealthiest city in the world is where wages are the highest. For this, the Californian coastal city of San Francisco leads the global pack, with an average monthly salary of $6526. Much of this is fuelled by the city’s booming tech industry, which houses global giants such as Google, Facebook, Salesforce, Adobe, and IBM. Rents in San Francisco are also the highest on the planet, with the average monthly rent reaching $3690 in 2019. The city is also home to 18 billionaires – a massive number for a city of just 883,000.
By most measures, these gilded cities are the wealthiest places on the planet. If you’re looking to earn your fortune, these are the places to do it.