The U.S. is losing its allure as a residence for millionaires.

The net inflow of high-net-worth individuals plunged more than 80% last year compared with pre-pandemic levels, fueled partly by wealthy Americans “seeking new pastures abroad at an unprecedented rate,” according to a report by London-based immigration consultant Henley & Partners. 

“In the past, investment migration programs were primarily attractive to Russians, Chinese, Arabs and developing nations who had  weak passports, with limited visa-free access and low economic mobility,” said Mehdi Kadiri, the firm’s head of North America. “During Covid, that shifted considerably. Most of our clients are now from developed countries."

Because millionaires have the luxury of mobility, their movements can be a barometer for the health of an economy or society, providing “an early warning signal into future country trends,” he said.

As recently as 2014 the US had the largest net inflows of net-worth individuals, or those with wealth of $1 million or more, according to data through 2022 provided by Henley & Partners. Last year it dropped to sixth place, behind United Arab Emirates, Australia, Singapore, Canada and Switzerland. The biggest outflows were from Russia, China and India.

“People are still coming, but there’s been a big increase in people who are leaving” the US, said Andrew Amoils, head of research at New World Wealth in Johannesburg, which participated in compiling the report.

Many of those leaving are in their 50s or 60s, with some citing concerns over taxes or security, he said. The backlogs in the EB-5 program for wealthy immigrants has also contributed to a drop in millionaires coming to the US from some countries, particularly China, Amoils said.

The US remains the biggest wealth market with $65 trillion in private wealth, followed by China with $21.7 trillion, according to the report. The US has 770 billionaires, 9,630 residents with $100 million or more and 5.3 million high-net-worth individuals.

In the US, small and mid-size cities such as Austin, Texas; Greenwich, Connecticut; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Miami are gaining millionaires, while big cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles and New York are losing them. 

Americans also ranked highest of all nationalities in applications for residence and citizenship by investment programs tracked by Henley & Partners. Many clients don’t necessarily use investment migration to relocate, rather to create a back-up plan with options in multiple jurisdictions, Kadiri said.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.