It’s been a year like no other, and we aren’t talking about the pandemic. There were rapid-fire public offerings, surging cryptocurrencies, and skyrocketing stock prices. The number of billionaires on Forbes’ 35th annual list of the world’s wealthiest exploded to an unprecedented 2,755—660 more than a year ago. Altogether they are worth $13.1 trillion, up from $8 trillion on the 2020 list.
There are a record-high 493 newcomers to the list—roughly one new billionaire every 17 hours, including 210 from China and Hong Kong and 98 from the U.S. The richest newcomer, at $38.2 billion, is Miriam Adelson of Nevada, who inherited her husband Sheldon Adelson’s casino empire following his death in January. Other notable new entrants include movie and TV producer Tyler Perry, Bumble dating app co-founder Whitney Wolfe Herd—the world’s youngest self-made woman billionaire, and Europe’s Guillaume Pousaz, founder of payments firm Checkout.com. Another 250 people who’d fallen off the billionaires’ list in the past came roaring back. Altogether, a staggering 86% of all billionaires are richer than a year ago.
Jeff Bezos is the world’s richest person for the fourth year running, worth $177 billion, up $64 billion from a year ago as a result of surging Amazon shares. Elon Musk—the biggest gainer in dollar terms—rocketed into the No. 2 spot with a $151 billion fortune, a whopping $126.4 billion more than a year ago, when he ranked No. 31 and was worth $24.6 billion. The main reason: a 705% climb in Tesla shares. French luxury goods tycoon Bernard Arnault holds onto his spot at No. 3 but his fortune nearly doubled to $150 billion, from $76 billion, due to an 86% rise in the shares of LVMH, owner of brands including Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior and cosmetics retailer Sephora. The top ten richest are worth $1.15 trillion, up by two-thirds from $686 billion last year. Altogether, Europe’s billionaires are $1 trillion richer than a year ago.
more at forbes.com