Facts and figures as Elon Musk dethrones Jeff Bezos as world’s richest man
The planet’s 2,668 billionaires are worth $12.7 trillion. Inside: who’s up, who’s down and who’s off the list.
War, pandemic and plunging stock markets have dented the fortunes of many of the richest people on the planet this year. Forbes found 2,668 billionaires around the globe for the 2022 World’s Billionaires list, down from a record 2,755 last year. Collectively, they’re worth $12.7 trillion, down from a record $13.1 trillion on the 2021 list.
In all, 329 people fell off the billionaires list this year—the most since the 2009 financial crisis. That includes 169 “one-year wonders,” newcomers to the 2021 ranking, including Bumble’s Whitney Wolfe Herd and Peloton’s John Foley, who debuted a year ago and have already dropped from the list.
Still, 236 newcomers joined the ranks this year, including pop star Rihanna, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson and venture capitalist Josh Kushner. Barbados, Bulgaria, Estonia and Uruguay each gained their first billionaires ever. And, despite the volatile year, 1,050 billionaires are wealthier than they were a year ago.
No one got richer than Elon Musk, who tops the World’s Billionaires list for the first time ever. As of March 11, when we locked in net worths, Musk was worth an estimated $219 billion, after adding $68 billion to his fortune over the past year on the back of a 33% jump in the share price of his electric vehicle maker Tesla. He surpassed Jeff Bezos, who fell to No. 2 for the first time in four years due to a 3% drop in Amazon stock and increased charitable giving, which wiped $6 billion from his net worth. French luxury goods tycoon Bernard Arnault, who added $8 billion to his fortune over the past year, remains the world’s third-richest person. Rounding out the top 5 are Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.
There are 86 list members under the age of 40, including newcomers like Melanie Perkins, the 34-year-old cofounder and CEO of graphic design platform Canva, and Vlad Yatsenko, the 38-year-old cofounder and chief technology officer of digital bank Revolut. An even more impressive set: the 12 Under 30s who made this year’s list, including the world’s youngest billionaire, 19-year-old German drugstore chain heir Kevin David Lehmann, and newcomer Gary Wang, 28, the Bahamas-based American cofounder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX–one of 19 billionaires to get rich from crypto and blockchain technology.
WHICH COUNTRIES HAVE THE MOST BILLIONAIRES
The U.S. still reigns supreme, with 735 billionaire citizens, 11 more than in 2021. The three-comma clubs shrank in China and Russia, meanwhile, over the past year.
The United States still has more billionaires than any other country, with 735, up from 724 last year. China remains second, with 607 (including Hong Kong and Macau), followed by India (166), Germany (134) and Russia (83). Mukesh Ambani of India remains Asia’s richest person. Worth an estimated $90.7 billion, he held on to the No. 10 spot worldwide, enough to narrowly edge out fellow Indian Gautam Adani, whose fortune climbed by nearly $40 billion, to an estimated $90 billion, as shares of his listed companies have skyrocketed.
Big losses came in Russia and China. Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine–and the avalanche of sanctions that followed–sent the Russian stock market and the ruble plummeting, resulting in 34 fewer Russian billionaires on the list. The fortunes of the 83 Russians who held on to their billionaire status nearly all stagnated or declined from a year ago. Total Russian billionaire wealth fell by more than $260 billion, by our count, from $584 billion last year to $320 billion this year. China’s superrich didn’t fare much better, with 87 fewer Chinese citizens on the 2022 list amid a government crackdown on tech companies, weaker stocks and trouble in the real estate sector. In total, China’s billionaires are some $500 billion poorer than a year ago, worth $1.96 trillion, compared to $2.5 trillion in 2021.
Forbes found 327 women billionaires around the globe. The majority of them inherited their wealth, including the world’s richest woman, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, whose grandfather founded beauty giant L’Oréal. But 101 women on the list are self-made billionaires, the richest being Fan Hongwei, who chairs Chinese chemical fiber supplier Hengli Petrochemical and is worth an estimated $18.2 billion.
TOTAL NUMBER OF BILLIONAIRES AND THEIR COMBINED WEALTH
There are 19 times as many billionaires in the world as there were in 1987, when Forbes began tracking the subject. And they’re 4,200% richer today, in nominal dollars, or 1,600% after adjusting for inflation.
Overall, 1,891 billionaires—or 71% of the list (vs. 72% last year)–are self-made, meaning they founded or cofounded a company or established their own fortune (as opposed to inheriting it).
In addition to the 329 people whose fortunes dipped below $1 billion this year, another 30 billionaires died, including Publix Super Markets heir Carol Jenkins Barnett, who was 65, and 91-year-old Edward “Ned” Johnson III, who took over Fidelity from his father in 1977 and turned it into one of the largest U.S. money managers.
Forbes used stock prices and exchange rates from March 11 to calculate net worths. (For the 2021 list, we measured wealth on March 5, 2021.) See here for the full list of the world’s billionaires and our methodology. For daily updated net worths of all 2,668 billionaires, see here.
The World’s 10 Richest People
1. Elon Musk
Net worth: $219 billion
Source of wealth: Tesla, SpaceX
Residence: Austin, Texas
2. Jeff Bezos
Net worth: $171 billion
Source of wealth: Amazon
Residence: Seattle, Washington
3. Bernard Arnault & family
Net worth: $158 billion
Source of wealth: LVMH
Residence: Paris, France
4. Bill Gates
Net worth: $129 billion
Source of wealth: Microsoft
Residence: Medina, Washington
5. Warren Buffett
Net worth: $118 billion
Source of wealth: Berkshire Hathaway
Residence: Omaha, Nebraska
6. Larry Page
Net worth: $111 billion
Source of wealth: Google
Residence: Palo Alto, California
7. Sergey Brin
Net worth: $107 billion
Source of wealth: Google
Residence: Los Altos, California
8. Larry Ellison
Net worth: $106 billion
Source of wealth: software
Residence: Lanai, Hawaii
9. Steve Ballmer
Net worth: $91.4 billion
Source of wealth: Microsoft
Residence: Hunts Point, Washington
10. Mukesh Ambani
Net worth: $90.7 billion
Source of wealth: diversified
Residence: Mumbai, India