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Billionaire

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A billionaire is a person with a net worth of at least one billion (1,000,000,000, i.e., a thousand million) units of a given currency, usually of a major currency such as the United States dollar, euro, or pound sterling. It is a sub-category of the concept of the ultra high-net-worth individual. The American business magazine Forbes produces a global list of known U.S. dollar billionaires every year and updates an internet version of this list in real time.[1] The American oil magnate John D. Rockefeller became the world's first confirmed U.S. dollar billionaire in 1916.[2]

As of 2018, there are over 2,200 U.S. dollar billionaires worldwide, with a combined wealth of over US$9.1 trillion,[3] up from US$7.67 trillion in 2017.[4][5] According to a 2017 Oxfam report, the top eight richest billionaires own as much combined wealth as "half the human race".[6][7] As of 2021, eight people have reached the status of USD centibillionaires, meaning that each has had a net worth of at least $100 billion.[8]

Current U.S. dollar billionaires

Global share of wealth by wealth group, Credit Suisse, 2021
Global share of wealth by wealth group, Credit Suisse, 2017

According to the UBS/PwC Billionaires Report 2019 report released in November 2019, there are currently 2,101 U.S. dollar billionaires worldwide, from 66 countries, with a combined net worth of $8.5 trillion.[9][10] Also according to the report, billionaires have a substantial positive impact on the sustainability and success of companies controlled by them. Billionaire-controlled companies listed on the equity market returned 17.8 percent, compared with the 9.1 percent of the MSCI AC World Index. According to the authors of the report, this Billionaire Effect is connected with smart risk-taking and willingness to plan and invest for the long term.

The majority of billionaires are male, as fewer than 11% (197 of 1,826) on the 2015 list were female billionaires.[11] The United States has the largest number of billionaires of any country, with 536 as of 2015,[11] while China, India and Russia are home to 213, 90 and 88 billionaires, respectively.[12][13] As of 2015, only 46 billionaires were under the age of 40,[11] while the list of American-only billionaires, as of 2010, had an average age of 66.[14]

Different authorities use different methodologies to determine net worth and to rank them, and not all information about personal finances is publicly available. In 2019, Forbes counted a record 607 billionaires in the U.S..[15] Over the course of the 2020s, depending on the source and the year, the world's richest person has been reckoned to be Jeff Bezos, Bernard Arnault and family, or Elon Musk.

Education and work experience

Billionaires come from a very wide number of backgrounds. A review of the education and work histories of the top 400 billionaires shows little correlation between education and success. Nearly 30% of billionaires do not have a college degree, greatly exceeding any other educational background. The most common field of university education was finance and economics, which only contributed to a combined 15.5% of billionaire educations.[16][17] There is little correlation between any university and becoming a billionaire. The top 10 universities produced just 99 of the top 400 billionaires combined, significantly less than the total number of billionaires who were not college educated. Military service produced 21 billionaires, more than any single university.[17]

Very few college-educated billionaires pursued business interests in their field of study, with the exception of computer science majors. All twelve of the twelve computer science major billionaires worked in computer science, while only half of engineers worked in engineering, and less than a quarter of finance and economics majors ever worked in finance or economics. The most common field for billionaires to enter was sales and military service.[17]

Inequality

The number of billionaires that, with assets combined, would own as much money as half the world population, and what transport they would fit on, from years 2010 to 2016[18]

According to a 2016 Oxfam report, the wealth of the poorest 95% dropped by 38% between 2010 and 2015, due to an increase in the global population of 400 million.[18] In the same period, the wealth of the richest 62 people between the World's Billionaires increased by $500bn (£350bn) to $1.76tn. More recently, in 2017 an Oxfam report noted that just eight billionaires have as much net worth as "half the human race".[6][7] However, the Oxfam report has been criticized for considering debt as negative wealth, which leads to wealthy people with large amounts of debt to be considered poor or not wealthy.[19]

Rise of new billionaires

In 2019, 19 people became billionaires. Four were a result of death or divorce, including Julia Koch, and Jeff Bezos's former wife MacKenzie Scott.[20]

From 2014 to 2019, the number of female billionaires grew by 46%. That is more than the number of male billionaires in the same period (39%). As of 2019 there were 233 female billionaires in the world, compared to 160 in 2013.[9]

Statistics

These aggregated statistics for billionaires include the total number of known billionaires and the net worth of the world's wealthiest individual for each year since 2008. Data for each year is from the annual Forbes list of billionaires, with currency figures given in U.S. dollars. Data since 2018 also includes the Wealth-X billionaire census which typically finds higher numbers than Forbes.

Year Total number of
billionaires
Combined wealth of
known billionaires
Number of billionaires World's wealthiest
individual
U.S. Chinese Indian German Russian Name Net worth
2021[21] 2755 724 626 140 136 117 Elon Musk $320 billion[22]
2020[23][24] 2,095 $10.2 trillion 614 389 102 99 Jeff Bezos $188 billion
2019[25][26] 2,153–2,604 $8.6–8.7 trillion 609–705 285–324 82–106 98–102 Jeff Bezos $131 billion
2018[4][3] 2,208–2,754 $9.1–9.2 trillion 585–680 338–372 117–119 96–111 Jeff Bezos $133 billion
2017[5] 2,043 $7.71 trillion 565 319 101 106 Jeff Bezos $99.6 billion
2016 1,810 $6.48 trillion 540 251 90 75 Bill Gates $75 billion
2015[12] 1,826 $7.05 trillion 536 213 88 88 Bill Gates $79.2 billion
2014[27] 1,645 $6.4 trillion 492 152 56[28] 111 Bill Gates $78 billion
2013[29] 1,426 $5.4 trillion 442 122 110 Carlos Slim $73 billion
2012[30] 1,226 $4.6 trillion 425 95 96 Carlos Slim $73 billion
2011[31] 1,210 $4.5 trillion 413 115 101 Carlos Slim $74 billion
2010[32] 1,011 $3.6 trillion 404 89 62 Carlos Slim $53.5 billion
2009[33] 793 $2.4 trillion 359 28 32 Bill Gates $40 billion
2008[34] 1,125 $4.4 trillion 470 87 Warren Buffett $62 billion

See also

References

  1. ^ Miller, Matthew; Kroll, Luisa (10 March 2010). "Bill Gates No Longer World's Richest Man". Forbes. Archived from the original on 26 September 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
  2. ^ O'Donnell, Carl (11 July 2014). "The Rockefellers: The Legacy Of History's Richest Man". Forbes. Archived from the original on 20 November 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Number of billionaires worldwide surged to 2,754 in 2017". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 18 May 2018. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  4. ^ a b Kroll, Luisa (6 March 2018). "Forbes Billionaires 2018: Meet The Richest People On The Planet". Forbes. Archived from the original on 8 March 2018. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  5. ^ a b Kroll, Luisa; Dolan, Kerry A. "Forbes 2017 billionaires list: Meet the richest people on the planet". Forbes. Archived from the original on 13 March 2018. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  6. ^ a b Ratcliff, Anna (16 January 2017). "Just 8 men own same wealth as half the world" (Press release). Oxfam. Archived from the original on 16 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  7. ^ a b Mullany, Gerry (16 January 2017). "World's 8 Richest Have as Much Wealth as Bottom Half of Global Population". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 16 January 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  8. ^ Lee, Yoojung (12 April 2021). "Elite $100 Billion Club Gets Two New Members via Tech Boom". Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on 25 June 2021. Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  9. ^ a b "UBS/PwC Billionaires Report 2019". UBS.com. Archived from the original on 7 December 2019. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  10. ^ "Billionaires insights 2018". Billionaires insights. Archived from the original on 20 December 2019. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  11. ^ a b c "Behind the Numbers in Forbes' Billionaires List". U.S. News & World Report. 2 March 2015. Archived from the original on 26 July 2018. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Inside The 2015 Forbes Billionaires List: Facts And Figures". Forbes. 2 March 2015. Archived from the original on 28 June 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  13. ^ "A Record 90 Indians On Forbes Billionaires List 2015". Forbes. 3 March 2015. Archived from the original on 2 August 2015. Retrieved 9 August 2015.
  14. ^ Rappeport, Alan (9 March 2011). "Brics becoming billionaire factory". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 9 June 2020. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
  15. ^ "Real Time Billionaires". Forbes. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  16. ^ Shen, Lucinda (8 August 2016). "You'd be Surprised How Many Billionaires Don't Have a College Degree". fortune.com. Archived from the original on 16 May 2021. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  17. ^ a b c Forrest, Conner (23 October 2018). "These 10 college majors have created more billionaires than any other fields of study". TechRepublic. Archived from the original on 16 May 2021. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  18. ^ a b "62 people own same as half world – Oxfam". Oxfam. Archived from the original on 29 October 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  19. ^ "Are 26 billionaires worth more than half the planet? The debate, explained". vox.com. 22 January 2019. Archived from the original on 8 November 2019. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  20. ^ "Newcomers: These 19 Billionaires Join the Forbes 400 List in 2019". Forbes. 3 October 2019. Archived from the original on 24 January 2021. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  21. ^ "The Countries with the Most Billionaires 2021". www.forbes.com. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  22. ^ Team, Forbes Wealth. "The Top 10 Richest People In The World (February 2024)". Forbes. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  23. ^ Moskowitz, Dan (13 July 2021). "A Look at the 10 Richest People in the World". Investopedia. Archived from the original on 30 January 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  24. ^ "The Countries with the Most Billionaires 2020". www.forbes.com. Archived from the original on 20 July 2021. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  25. ^ "Billionaires 2019". Forbes. 5 March 2019. Archived from the original on 4 January 2019. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  26. ^ Dhiraj, Amarendra (16 May 2019). "Top 15 countries with the most billionaires, ranked". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 2 June 2019. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
  27. ^ "Billionaires". Forbes. 3 March 2014. Archived from the original on 14 March 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  28. ^ "Indian Billionaires 2014: Big Winners, Big Losers". Forbes. 3 March 2014. Archived from the original on 12 September 2015. Retrieved 9 August 2015.
  29. ^ "Inside The 2013 Billionaires List". Forbes. 25 March 2013. Archived from the original on 13 July 2018. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  30. ^ "Forbes World's Billionaires 2012". Forbes. 7 March 2012. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  31. ^ "World's Billionaires 2011: A Record Year In Numbers, Money And Impact". Forbes. 9 March 2011. Archived from the original on 15 April 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
  32. ^ "Bill Gates No Longer World's Richest Man". Forbes. 10 March 2010. Archived from the original on 26 September 2011. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
  33. ^ "The World's Billionaires". Forbes. 11 March 2009. Archived from the original on 27 April 2011. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
  34. ^ "World's Billionaires". Forbes. 5 March 2008. Archived from the original on 6 June 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2012.

Further reading

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Billionaire
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