It's a good time to be rich in Canada. Then again, it's always a good time to be rich ... anywhere.

All the same, 2012 was a particularly good year to be rich. The stock markets came roaring back after a shaky 2011, and so did the wealthy. Canada’s high net worth individuals (those with liquid assets of $1 million or more) saw their wealth grow 6.8 per cent last year, according to a new report from RBC and Capgemini.

That’s a considerably better rate than what the average Canadian saw. Household net worth in Canada grew a comparably measly 1.4 per cent last year.

But it’s not as big a jump in wealth as the rich saw in other countries. For the world overall, the net worth of the rich grew 10 per cent, to a whopping total of $46.2 trillion. In the U.S., the numbers were even higher, with the wealth of the wealthiest growing 12.1 per cent.

Worldwide, Canada ranked seventh in the total number of rich people.

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  • 12: South Korea - 160,000

    Number of high net worth individuals (liquid assets of $1 million or more).

  • 11: Brazil - 165,000

    Number of high net worth individuals (liquid assets of $1 million or more).

  • 10: Italy - 176,000

    Number of high net worth individuals (liquid assets of $1 million or more).

  • 9: Australia - 207,000

    Number of high net worth individuals (liquid assets of $1 million or more).

  • 8: Switzerland - 282,000

    Number of high net worth individuals (liquid assets of $1 million or more).

  • 7: Canada - 298,000

    Number of high net worth individuals (liquid assets of $1 million or more).

  • 6: France - 430,000

    Number of high net worth individuals (liquid assets of $1 million or more).

  • 5: United Kingdom - 465,000

    Number of high net worth individuals (liquid assets of $1 million or more).

  • 4: China - 643,000

    Number of high net worth individuals (liquid assets of $1 million or more).

  • 3: Germany - 1.01 million

    Number of high net worth individuals (liquid assets of $1 million or more).

  • 2: Japan - 1.9 million

    Number of high net worth individuals (liquid assets of $1 million or more).

  • 1: United States - 3.43 million

    Number of high net worth individuals (liquid assets of $1 million or more).

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    WHERE CANADA'S ONE PER CENT LIVE

  • In 2010, the top one per cent of tax filers in Canada consisted of 254,700 individuals. Women accounted for 53,200, 21 per cent of the total.

  • Newfoundland

  • In 2010, Newfoundland had the lowest number of one per centers in its population. According to Statistics Canada numbers, the province had 2,205 tax filers in the country's top one per cent.

  • New Brunswick

  • In 2010, New Brunswick was home to 2,450 Canadians in the country's top earning one per cent.

  • Nova Scotia

  • Nova Scotia was home to 3,690 of the country's richest one per cent.

  • Manitoba

  • Manitoba, in 2010, was home to 5,305 of the country's richest one per cent.

  • Saskatchewan

  • In 2010, Saskatchewan had the fifth highest population of one per centers in the country. According to Stats Canada figures, the province had 5,490 of the richest Canadians living within its borders.

  • British Columbia

  • In 2010, B.C. had the fourth most one per centers in the country. It was home to 29,500 residents in Canada's wealthiest one per cent.

  • Quebec

  • According to 2010 figures, the province of Quebec had the third highest population of one per centers in the country. Then, it was home to 42,600 of the richest people in Canada.

  • Alberta

  • In 2010, Alberta had the second most one per centers in the country, as 52,200 Albertans made the country's top one per cent that year.

  • Ontario

  • Ontario had the highest number of one per centers in the country in 2010. According to Statistics Canada figures, 110,300 of the country's top earning one per cent called Ontario home.

  • Canada's Five Biggest Metropolitan Areas Own The Wealth

    The five largest census metropolitan areas – Montréal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver – accounted for 62% of the top 1% of tax filers in 2010. In contrast, these five metropolitan areas had 42% of all tax filers, says Stats Canada.

  • P.E.I.

    No Numbers available for P.E.I.

If there’s good news in all this for the non-rich, it’s that 2012 was also a good year to get rich. Canada’s high-net-worth population grew 6.5 per cent, to 298,000 people.

Worldwide, the number of rich grew by 9.2 per cent. One million people joined the club last year, for a total of 12 million.

In the U.S., the number of rich grew by a whopping 12 per cent.

So where’s the wealth coming from? In North America, largely from gains in the stock markets (Canada’s markets have been a laggard this year but Canadians are invested in all sorts of international equities as well) and from gains in real estate.

The U.S. real estate market has been on a tear lately, with some analysts already predicting another bubble. Major U.S. markets have been hitting record highs of late.

The Wall Street Journal notes that Canadian investors now appear to actually be larger risk-takers than investors in other parts of the world. While worldwide the rich stashed about 30 per cent of their wealth in cash and deposits (safe and conservative), in Canada that number was only 20 per cent.

And while the rich worldwide put about 26 per cent of their wealth in equities, in Canada that’s about 32 per cent.

“It’s the strength and stability of Canada,” David Agnew, head of RBC Wealth Management Canada, told the Journal.

He said Canadian investors are more confident in stock markets and have faith in Canada’s regulatory regime.

Let’s hope that’s not a mistake.

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