Musk Overtakes Bezos to Top Forbes’ Billionaire List for 2022

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Patrick Pleul/AP/Shutterstock (12861811m)Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, attends the opening of the Tesla factory Berlin Brandenburg in Gruenheide, Germany, .
Patrick Pleul/AP/Shutterstock / Patrick Pleul/AP/Shutterstock

Forbes released its 37th World’s Billionaires list and according to its rankings, for 2022 there are 2,668 billionaires in the world worth $12.7 trillion. These numbers are down approximately $400 million from last year’s stats of 2,755 billionaires worth $13.1 trillion.

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With a fortune estimated at $219 billion, Elon Musk tops this year’s list, bumping off the richest man in the world for four years running, Jeff Bezos, who slides to number two. Bernard Arnault, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett round out the top five spots.

Musk is not only is the richest person in the world, but he also had the biggest increase in wealth over the past year. The Tesla and Space X entrepreneur’s net worth grew by $68 billion due to a 33% increase in Tesla’s share price following his sale of $16 billion worth of shares and his capital gains tax payment.  

Besos, on the other hand, had a $6 billion drop in net worth due to a 3% decrease in Amazon stock and an increase in his charitable contributions. The rest of the top ten richest billionaires had 12-month increases, with Musk, Buffett, Steve Ballmer, Larry Page and Sergey Brin making both the top ten in net worth and the top ten increase in wealth lists.

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The continued rise in popularity of cryptocurrency trading is reflected throughout this year’s list, no more so than in the jump in net worth of Changpeng Zhao, or CZ as his is commonly known. The Binance CEO and majority owner had the second biggest gain since April 2021 is $63.1 billion and his estimated net worth rests at $65 billion.

The U.S. leads all countries with the most billionaires in the world (735), followed by China [including Hong Kong and Macau] (607), India (166), Germany (134) and Russia (83). Barbados, Bulgaria, Estonia and Uruguay have billionaires gracing the list for the first time ever.

There are 34 fewer Russian billionaires this year as its decision to invade Ukraine has resulted in a weakened stock market and an onslaught of sanctions. Almost all the country’s 83 billionaires had their wealth stagnate or decline over the past year. Total billionaire wealth among Russia’s richest decreased from $584 billion in 2021 to $320 billion in 2022.

First-time billionaires total 236, including pop star Rhianna and director Peter Jackson. Three hundred twenty-nine people fell out of the billionaire’s club, including Bumble’s Whitney Wolfe Heard and Peloton’s John Foley, who first made the list just one year ago. Thirty billionaires died during the past year.

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There are 327 women billionaires, including the richest woman on the list, the 14th ranked Francoise Bettencourt Meyers. The heiress to the L’Oréal beauty company fortune is worth an estimated $74.8 billion. Among self-made woman billionaires, the richest is Fan Hongwei. The head of chemical fiber supplier Hengli Petrochemical is worth $18.2 billion.

Eighty-six list members are under the age of 40, including Melanie Perkins, CEO and co-founder of Canva, and Vlad Yatsenko, CTO and co-founder of Revolut. There are 12 members under 30, including the world’s youngest billionaire Kevin David Lehmann, owner of German drugstore chain dm, and Gary Wang, CTO and co-founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX.

The following are the top ten richest people in the world according to Forbes:

1. Elon Musk (Tesla, Space X; $219 billion)

2. Jeff Bezos (Amazon; $171 billion)

3. Bernard Arnault & Family (LVMH; $158 billion)

4. Bill Gates (Microsoft; $129 Billion)

5. Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway; $118 billion)

6. Larry Page (Google; $111 billion)

7. Sergey Brin (Google; $107 billion)

8. Larry Ellison (software, $106 billion)

9. Steve Ballmer (Microsoft; $91.4 billion)

10. Mukesh Ambani (diversified; $90.7 billion).

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To calculate net worth, Forbes used a combination of stock prices and exchange rates from March 11. Due to constant financial fluctuations, list rankings could change by the day, or by the hour. The complete list, bios and financial stats can be found here.

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About the Author

David Nadelle is a freelance editor and writer based in Ottawa, Canada. After working in the energy industry for 18 years, he decided to change careers in 2016 and concentrate full-time on all aspects of writing. He recently completed a technical communication diploma and holds previous university degrees in journalism, sociology and criminology. David has covered a wide variety of financial and lifestyle topics for numerous publications and has experience copywriting for the retail industry.
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