2019 doesn’t seem to be one of the best years FOR the global economy. Although the US has held steady, headwinds in China and emerging markets have posed quite a number of challenges. As a result, the number of billionaires in the world and their total net worth shrank this year. According to Forbes, there are a total of 2,153 billionaires in the world, 55 fewer than last year. In total, the ultra-rich have a combined net worth of $8.7 trillion. This is down by $400 billion from 2018.
In addition to this, Forbes says that 247 people who featured in last year’s super-rich list have dropped out. This was roughly an 11% drop, the highest recorded since 2009 at the height of the global recession. The Asia Pacific region has been hit the hardest. The region recorded 60 fewer billion-dollar fortunes in 2019 compared to the previous year. That drop was led by China. The second largest economy in the planet had 49 fewer billionaires this year compared to 2018. This is hardly a surprise though. The Chinese economy has been slowing down over the last few years and this is starting to take its toll on the ultra-rich. Europe, Africa, and the Middle East also lost some ground.
North and Latin America are the only two regions in the world that have more billionaires now than they did last year. This growth has largely been boosted by the economic impetus in the US and in Brazil. There are now 607 billionaires in the US, a record number even since Forbes started to track this list. There are also 14 US nationals in the list of the 20 richest people in the world. Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, tops the list with Bill Gates ranking second.
The most amazing thing, however, about this year’s list is the high number of new entrants. In 2019, there were 195 new billionaires who made the Forbes list for the first time. Richest among them is Collins Huang whose company went public in July last year. Spotify’s Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon, as well as cosmetic mogul Kylie Jenner, were also notable new entries into the list.
Women were also able to hold steady with one new addition to the list in 2019. There were a total of 243 women billionaires in 2019 compared to 242 last year. Kylie Jenner was ranked as the youngest billionaire this year at just 21 years old. Jenner has a total net worth of $1 billion. Her cosmetic business that was launched in 2015 seems to have taken off in a big way. There were also 8 billionaires in the final list that were still under the age of 30. Newcomers in the list were mostly from tech-based companies and manufacturing.
The Forbes list is compiled and released each year. It’s designed to track the growth of the ultra-rich people around the world.