Mumbai: Strange as it may sound, with as many as one-third of its population still living in poverty, the country is also home to the second largest number of affluent people with a whopping three million households which have over USD one lakh of investible funds.

According to a survey by the global market research agency TNS, while the US still is the world's most prosperous country with 31 million affluent households, India, China and
Brazil have overtaken many European countries in this measure of consumer wealth with three million affluent households each in these countries which have over USD one lakh investible funds.

In other words, as many as 27 percent American households are affluent, while this is only 1.25 percent and 0.75 percent in regard to India and China respectively, thanks to the sheer size of their population.

Though the cut-off money is USD 1 lakh for all the countries it is just USD 40,000 in Brazil, where this 3 million households constitute five percent of the overall number of households.

However, it is Luxemburg that has the highest penetration in terms of percentage with 29 percent penetration, but in absolute numbers the number of affluent households is only
89,000, followed by the US with 27 percent penetration, Canada and Singapore 20 percent each with 2.6 million and 2,30,000 households respectively.

Releasing the report, TNS business and finance director Reg van Steen said, "Our research confirms that emerging markets will become new centres of affluence in coming years.
India and China have already surpassed major European markets like Germany and France in this. It's interesting to see that the entrepreneurial spirit of people in these markets is already paying off in terms of personal wealth."

TNS India senior Vice-President Chandrasekhar said, "A lot of people believe that there is considerable level of latent affluence in this country. And this study gives some pointers on the extent of the investment potential that the country offers as well as some relevant insights for tapping this potential."

The study titled the TNS Global Affluent Investor Survey, is based on interviews of 12,092 affluent decision-makers across 24 markets, including the US, India, China, Canada, Brazil, France, Germany, Britain, Belgium, the UAE, Israel, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. The online survey was carried out during May-August this year.

The UAE and India appear in the top five countries where the affluent have over USD one million investable assets on average, alongside Singapore and Hong Kong.

The only European country to feature in this top five is the Sweden, while Britain and France are the least likely in Europe to have these levels of investable assets.

The survey also finds that men are the primary decision- makers among the affluent households in India (80 percent) and Central Europe (79 percent), but in North America this is only 45 percent.

The findings also demonstrate regional contrasts in terms of what the affluent actually invest in. While in China, India and Germany the affluent are keen investors in precious metals (35, 33, and 23 percent of respondents respectively), this is only 3 percent in Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands, and even lesser at 2 percent in Denmark and Israel.