But while Silicon Valley basks in the golden glow of the wealth spotlight, Houston, TX is quietly minting new millionaires at a fast pace.
For the last two years Houston has enjoyed more growth in the number of High Net Worth Individuals–people with at least $1 million in investable assets (primary homes don’t count)–than any other U.S. city.
A recent Capgemini study found that Houston’s millionaire population surged by 9.6% to a total of 96,700 wealthy citizens from 2009 to 2010. The year before that, Houston saw its millionaire ranks surge by 29%.
What’s stimulating the increase in Houston’s millionaire roster? Old school fossil fuels. “The strong presence of the oil and gas industry in Houston benefited local HNWIs as oil prices grew over 15% in 2010,” William Sullivan, Capgemini’s head of Global Market Intelligence, wrote in an email. “Additionally, of the 10 markets studied, Houston had the highest per capita income growth (8%) compared to a 4% average growth for the other nine markets.”