Patel: Britain's richest
Is your surname
Patel? Congratulations - you are officially more likely to be a multi-millionaire than anyone else in the country. And if you aren't yet wealthy, you're likely to become so. So what is it about this
makes them so much more successful than the rest of us?
, the name
Patel is synonymous with the corner shop, that emergency
port of call that
has saved many
a person's bacon when the supermarket is shut. But forget Patel the shopkeeper, and step forward Patel the self-made millionaire. For if your surname
is Patel, you are seven times more likely to be a multi-millionaire than if your name
Dr Philip Beresford, who compiles the annual Rich List, has 37 Patels and 50 Smiths on his database of millionaires worth over £5m. However, there
are only around
36,000 Patels compared to 360,000 Smiths on the electoral
As well as the 37 multi-millionaires, Dr Beresford says there
are also around
500 Patel millionaires in Britain. Not that
it came as any surprise to him. "In fact, I think there
should be more. It's just my inability to find them and put a value on them," he says.
What does he put their success down
to? "Hard work, strong family solidarity, extraordinary determination, ambition to do well that
one generation to the other, and belief
According to CB Patel, editor and publisher
of the weekly newspaper the Gujarat Samachar/Asian Voice, there
are, in fact, around
207,000 Patels in Britain.
Their original homeland is the north-west
Indian state of Gujarat, where they settled
after migrating from
Punjab in 1139AD. Towards the end of the 17th century they acquired
land rights and were given the title Patel (meaning landowner). By the mid-19th century further
migration had taken them to other parts
of India, Fiji, South Africa, the Caribbean, Britain and several of its colonies. Thousands more Patels arrived in Britain in the Seventies from
Uganda when Idi Amin
ejected all Asians.
Patel is now the 24th
most common in Britain. The community even produces its own telephone directory.