Forbes’ World Billionaire List, Jeff Bezos Tops Elon Musk, New Faces

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It has been a successful year for the world’s wealthiest individuals. Forbes has identified a record-breaking 2,781 billionaires globally for the World’s Billionaires list. This is an increase of 141 from 2023 and 26 more than the previous record established in 2021. The super-rich have also become richer than ever, with their combined wealth reaching $14.2 trillion, $2 trillion more than last year and $1.1 trillion higher than the previous record, also established in 2021. 


As with the overall economy, the money is concentrated at the very top. There are currently 14 individuals who belong to the $100 Billion Club, which is the elite group of people whose fortunes surpass 12 digits. This is an increase from only one four years ago. These fortunate few have a combined net worth of $2 trillion, implying that just 0.5% of the world’s 2,781 billionaires hold 14% of all billionaire wealth. The wealthiest individual is Bernard Arnault, who has held the top position for two years in a row. The French luxury goods tycoon is estimated to be worth $233 billion, $22 billion more than in 2023, thanks to another record year for his conglomerate LVMH, the company behind brands such as Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., and Sephora. 



He is $38 billion richer than the world’s second-richest individual, Elon Musk, who is estimated to be worth $195 billion. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is right behind him at number three, with an estimated net worth of $194 billion but became number two in the April’s list. Forbes used stock prices and exchange rates from March 8, 2024, for this year’s ranking. (For daily movements of fortunes, see our Real-Time tracker.) Two-thirds of the planet’s billionaires are wealthier than they were a year ago. Mark Zuckerberg has benefited the most, with a $116.2 billion increase in a single year, owing to Meta stock nearly tripling amid cost-cutting layoffs and significant investments in AI and the metaverse. Zuck is ranked fourth on Forbes’ 2024 list, with an estimated net worth of $177 billion, the richest he has ever been. Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, is estimated to be worth $141 billion and is ranked fifth. 


Zuckerberg and Ellison are only two of the many technology moguls who are considerably wealthier than they were a year ago. The AI gold rush is on, with more than a dozen newcomers working in artificial intelligence joining the ranks, including Super Micro Computer’s Charles Liang (estimated to be worth $6.1 billion) and his wife, Sara Liu ($1.5 billion); Advanced Micro Device’s Lisa Su ($1.3 billion); and longtime Nvidia board member Harvey Jones ($1 billion). Sam Altman of OpenAI is now also a billionaire, thanks to investments he made while serving as president of startup incubator Y Combinator from 2014 to 2019, an early bet on Stripe, and stakes in Reddit and nuclear fusion startup Helion. Rabid demand for AI has also boosted tech stocks generally, pushing the combined wealth of the world’s tech billionaires up by some $750 billion to $2.6 trillion, more than any other industry, in just a year. Celebrities are also getting richer. 


Taylor Swift, the first musician to achieve this status based solely on songwriting and performing, joins the 2024 ranks with an estimated net worth of $1.1 billion after the record-breaking first leg of her Eras tour. Dick Wolf, the TV producer behind shows like Law & Order and Chicago, boasts an estimated net worth of $1.2 billion and is also new to the list of billionaires, as is Magic Johnson, the NBA hall-of-famer who made his fortune after retirement through smart business deals and stakes in several sports teams, one of the best ways to become richer. They are among nearly a dozen other well-known A-list billionaires, including George Lucas ($5.5 billion), Michael Jordan ($3.2 billion), and Kim Kardashian ($1.7 billion). In total, 265 new faces have been added to the World’s Billionaires list, with Italy’s Andrea Pignataro, a former Salomon Brothers bond trader behind financial software firm ION Group, ranking as the wealthiest, with an estimated net worth of $27.5 billion. 


Among the other notable newcomers are Todd Graves, the founder of the Raising Cane’s fast-food chain ($9.1 billion); Maggie Gu, Molly Miao, and Ren Xiaoqing ($4.2 billion each), the three cofounders of fast-fashion giant Shein; iconic high-heel designer Christian Louboutin ($1.2 billion); and Antonio Gracias, Elon Musk’s pal, and investor in Tesla and SpaceX ($1.1 billion). The United States has the most billionaire citizens once again, with a record-breaking 813 individuals worth $5.7 trillion (compared to 735 worth $4.5 trillion in 2023). China remains second, with 473 (including Hong Kong) worth $1.7 trillion, despite difficulties in the Asian nation. India, on the other hand, is experiencing a surge. There are currently 200 Indian billionaires, the most ever, with a combined net worth of $954 billion.

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