France - Economy

Religious tension driving millionaires out of France

Money, money, money
Money, money, money Reuters/Feisal Omar

Religious tensions in France are driving French millionaires out of the country, especially Paris, according to new research.


The reseach suggests that tensions between Muslims and Christians especially in cities is driving well-heeled urbanites abroad.

The findings are contained in the Millionaire Migration in 2015 report from the South Africa-based New World Wealth organization.

New World Wealth, according to its website, provides information on the global wealth sector, with a special focus on high growth markets.

The conclusions are based on data collected from investor visa programmer statistics of participating countries as well as annual interviews with around 800 global high net worth individuals.

Leaving France

In its assessment of France over the past 12 months it notes:

“The large outflow of millionaires from France is notable - France is being heavily impacted by rising religious tensions between Christians and Muslims especially in urban areas.

Even worse for the struggling French economy, it adds:

“We expect that millionaire migration away from France will accelerate over the next decade as these tensions escalate.”

Millionaires” otherwise known as “high net worth individuals” or “HNWIs” refer to individuals with net assets of $1 million (€1.13 million) or more excluding their primary residences.

The report also found that around 10,000 millionaires have left France over the past year representing a drop of three percent on the year to 323,000 millionaires currently living in France.

Paris suffered the most with 7,000 of the 10,000 millionaires that left leaving Paris, a loss of six percent of its well-heeled denizens.

While the report didn’t give a specific destination for all those that left, it pointed out that Tel Aviv was one of the top destinations.

Southern Europe problems

From a wider perspective, Southern European countries like Italy, Greece and Spain have all seen large outflows of millionaires over the past few years and we expect this exodus to continue going forward.

The report also adds that the loss of this high-worth individuals is a bad thing for a number of reasons, in particularly because:

  • Money outflow: When millionaires leave a country, they take large amounts of money with them which impacts negatively on the local currency
  • 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
  • Brain drain: Millionaires are normally highly skilled and highly educated. Manny are also innovators.

The report didn’t indicate whether the millionaires intended to return when conditions improve.

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