There are currently 2,755 billionaires in the world, worth a collective $13.1 trillion, Forbes reported. This small fraction of the population has reached levels of wealth most of us can’t even fathom, and this lack of attainability makes being a billionaire all the more fascinating.
493 People Became Billionaires Over the Past Year
The coronavirus pandemic widened the wealth gap, with the rich getter richer and the poor getting poorer. As further evidence of this, 493 people were new additions to the 2021 Forbes Billionaire list — which works out to an average of one new billionaire every 17 hours, Forbes reported.
China and Hong Kong Produced the Most New Billionaires
Of the newcomers to Forbes’ Billionaire ranking, 210 come from China and Hong Kong. The U.S. had the second-most number of new billionaires, with 98 new American billionaires.
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86% of Billionaires Got Richer Over the Past Year
Although some billionaires saw their net worths decline amid the pandemic, most got richer, Forbes reported. In fact, 250 people who had lost their billionaire status in previous years returned to ranking in 2021.
The Top 10 Richest Billionaires Are Worth $1.15 Trillion
Collectively, the top 10 richest people in the world are worth $1.15 trillion — a $686 billion increase from last year, Forbes reported. At the time of Forbes’ ranking, the 10 richest billionaires were Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Elon Musk (Tesla and SpaceX), Bernard Arnault (LVMH), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway), Larry Ellison (Oracle), Larry Page (Google), Sergey Brin (Google) and Mukesh Ambani (Reliance Industries).
2021’s Richest Billionaire Is Worth $157 Billion More Than the Richest Billionaire in 1987
When Forbes started its billionaire tracking in 1987, the world’s richest person was worth $20 billion. At the time of the 2021 ranking, the world’s richest person (Jeff Bezos) was worth $177 billion.
There Are Nearly 20 Times as Many Billionaires Today as in 1987
In 1987, there were just 140 billionaires in the world, worth a combined $295 billion. There are now 2,755 billionaires, worth a combined $13.1 trillion.
There Are Now 4 People Worth More Than $100 Billion
Only one person — Jeff Bezos — had achieved a net worth of over $100 billion on Forbes’ 2020 ranking. This year, three others reached that landmark: Elon Musk, Bernard Arnault and Bill Gates.
The US Is Home to the Most Billionaires
Although China is home to the most new billionaires, the United States still has the most overall, Forbes reported. There are 724 billionaires in the U.S., though China is close behind with 698 billionaires. India has the third-highest number of billionaires, with 140, Germany has the fourth-highest number, with 136, and Russia has the fifth-most billionaires, with 117.
The Majority of the World’s Billionaires Are Self-Made
In 2001, less than half of the world’s billionaires (49%) were self-made — most had inherited their fortunes, Forbes reported. In 2021, 72% of the world’s billionaires are self-made, up from 70% the year prior.
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There Are 106 Billionaires Under Age 40
There are now over 100 billionaires who are in their 30s or younger, Forbes reported. And the majority of the world’s youngest billionaires — two-thirds — are self-made.
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2021’s Newest Billionaires Are Worth a Combined $974.4 Billion
The 493 new additions to Forbes’ billionaire ranking have a combined net worth of just under $975 billion. Compare that to 2002, when there were 28 new billionaires worth a combined $39.2 billion.
61 People Lost Their Billionaire Status Over the Last Year
Between the 2020 and 2021 Forbes Billionaire ranking, 61 people lost their billionaire status. That’s the smallest number of drop-offs in a decade, Forbes reported. Among the notable billionaires who dropped off the list is reality-star-turned-entrepreneur Kylie Jenner.
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The World’s Richest Man Is Worth $100 Billion More Than the World’s Richest Woman
The richest woman in the world is Francoise Bettencourt Meyers of France, the granddaughter of the founder of L’Oreal. At the time of Forbes’ ranking, her net worth was $73.6 billion — over $100 billion less than Jeff Bezos’ net worth at the time.
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The World’s Youngest Billionaire Is Worth $3.3 Billion
At 18 years old, Kevin David Lehmann of Germany is the world’s youngest billionaire, Forbes reported. Lehmann recently received his father’s stake in the drugstore chain dm-drogerie mkt.
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