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, the euro, or the British pound. 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.The American oil magnate John D. Rockefeller became the world's first confirmed U.S. dollar billionaire in 1916, and still holds the title of history's second wealthiest individual.
As of 2018 [update] , there are over 2,200 U.S. dollar billionaires worldwide, with a combined wealth of over US$9.1 trillion, up from US$7.67 trillion in 2017. According to a 2017 Oxfam report, the top eight richest billionaires own as much combined wealth as "half the human race". In the 2020s, several people have become U.S. dollar centibillionaires, meaning that each has had a net worth of at least $100 billion.
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. as of 2015 [update] , while China, India and Russia are home to 213, 90 and 88 billionaires, respectively. As of 2015 [update] , only 46 billionaires were under the age of 40, while the list of American-only billionaires, as of 2010, had an average age of 66.The majority of billionaires are male, as fewer than 11% (197 of 1,826) on the 2015 list were female billionaires. The United States has the largest number of billionaires of any country, with 536
In 2019 there were a record 607 billionaires in the U.S. This group includes 14 of the world's 20 richest people. Jeff Bezos was number 1 in the world, followed by Elon Musk, and Bernard Arnault and family at number 3.In January 2021, Musk ascended to the top of the list.
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.
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.
Very few college educated billionaires went on to use their degrees except for computer science majors. All 12 of the 12 computer science majors 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.
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.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". 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.
In 2019, 19 people became billionaires. Four of the members joined as a result of death or divorce, including Julia Koch and Jeff Bezos's former wife Mackenzie Scott.
New members now also include more and more women. In the last five years, the number of female billionaires has grown by 46 percent, that is more than the number of male billionaires in the same period (39 percent). There are now 233 female billionaires in the world, a steep growth from 160 in 2013.
The table below lists numerous statistics relating to billionaires, including 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|
|Combined wealth of|
|Number of billionaires||World's wealthiest|
|2020||3,288||$10.2 trillion||614||389||99||102||Jeff Bezos||$188 billion|
|2019||2,153-2,604||$8.6-$8.7 trillion||609-705||285-324||98-102||82-106||Jeff Bezos||$131 billion|
|2018||2,208-2,754||$9.1-$9.2 trillion||585-680||338-372||96-111||117-119||Jeff Bezos||$133 billion|
|2017||2,043||$7.71 trillion||565||319||106||101||Jeff Bezos||$99.6 billion|
|2016||1,810||$6.48 trillion||540||251||75||90||Bill Gates||$75 billion|
|2015||1,826||$7.05 trillion||536||213||88||88||Bill Gates||$79.2 billion|
|2014||1,645||$6.4 trillion||492||152||111||56||Bill Gates||$78 billion|
|2013||1,426||$5.4 trillion||442||122||110||–||Carlos Slim||$73 billion|
|2012||1,226||$4.6 trillion||425||95||96||–||Carlos Slim||$73 billion|
|2011||1,210||$4.5 trillion||413||115||101||–||Carlos Slim||$74 billion|
|2010||1,011||$3.6 trillion||404||89||62||–||Carlos Slim||$53.5 billion|
|2009||793||$2.4 trillion||359||28||32||–||Bill Gates||$40 billion|
|2008||1,125||$4.4 trillion||470||–||87||–||Warren Buffett||$62 billion|
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A millionaire is an individual whose net worth or wealth is equal to or exceeds one million units of currency. Depending on the currency, a certain level of prestige is associated with being a millionaire. In countries that use the short scale number naming system, a billionaire is someone who has at least a thousand times a million dollars, euros or the currency of the given country.
The Forbes 400 or 400 Richest Americans is a list published by Forbes magazine of the wealthiest 400 American citizens who own assets in the U.S., ranked by net worth. The 400 was started by Malcolm Forbes in 1982 and the list is published annually around September. Peter W. Bernstein and Annalyn Swan describe the Forbes 400 as capturing "a period of extraordinary individual and entrepreneurial energy, a time unlike the extended postwar years, from 1945 to 1982, when American society emphasized the power of corporations." Bernstein and Swan also describe it as representing "a powerful argument – and sometimes a dream – about the social value of wealth in contemporary America."
Black billionaires are individuals who are of Sub-Saharan African descent with net worth of at least US$1 billion. These individuals include native Africans born on the continent as well as the African diaspora. According to the 2019 Forbes ranking of the world's billionaires, Nigerian business magnate Aliko Dangote had a net worth of $10.9 billion and was the world's richest black man.
Wealth inequality in the United States, also known as the wealth gap, is the unequal distribution of assets among residents of the United States. Wealth commonly includes the values of any homes, automobiles, personal valuables, businesses, savings, and investments, as well as any associated debts. The net worth of U.S. households and non-profit organizations was $107 trillion in the third quarter of 2019, a record level both in nominal terms and purchasing power parity. As of Q3 2019, the bottom 50% of households had $1.67 trillion, or 1.6% of the net worth, versus $74.5 trillion, or 70% for the top 10%. From an international perspective, the difference in US median and mean wealth per adult is over 600%.
The Forbes list of Australia's 50 richest people is a list of Australia's fifty wealthiest individuals and families, ranked by personal net worth published annually by Forbes Asia magazine. The list provides a short summary on some of the known business activities of the individuals and families, together with commentary on how their ranking has changed from the previous year, if listed. The list is published annually in January in an online format and updated daily, also online.
The World's Billionaires is an annual ranking by documented net worth of the wealthiest billionaires in the world, compiled and published in March annually by the American business magazine Forbes. The list was first published in March 1987. The total net worth of each individual on the list is estimated and is cited in United States dollars, based on their documented assets and accounting for debt and other factors. Royalty and dictators whose wealth comes from their positions are excluded from these lists. This ranking is an index of the wealthiest documented individuals, excluding any ranking of those with wealth that is not able to be completely ascertained.
Ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWI) are defined as having a net worth of at least US$30 million in constant 2018 dollars. It is the wealth segment above very-high-net-worth individuals and high-net-worth-individuals. Although they constitute only 0.003% of the world's population, they hold 13% of the world's total wealth. By 2017 there were 226,450 individuals designated as UHNWI representing an increase of 3.5% with their combined total wealth increasing to $27 trillion.
The World's Billionaires 2012 edition was 26th annual ranking of The World's Billionaires by Forbes magazine. The list estimated the net worth of the world's richest people, excluding royalty and dictators, as of February 14, 2012. It was released online on March 7, 2012.
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The Bloomberg Billionaires Index is a daily ranking of the world's richest people. The index debuted in March 2012 and tracks the net worth of the 500 wealthiest people on the planet. It draws information from "action in the stock market, economic indicators and news reports," features a profile of each billionaire, and includes a tool that allows users to compare the fortunes of multiple billionaires. The index is updated every day at the close of trading in New York.
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