Most people find it hard to imagine that they have even a million dollars, let’s say a billion. However, a fortune of $1 billion or more is a reality for the richest people in the world.
By comparison, in 2019, the median net worth of all American households was $121,700, according to the Federal Reserve. One billion dollars is almost 8,217 times that amount.
Of course, not all things are created equal, even if someone has amassed a billion dollar fortune. Some people barely cross the finish line, while the richest of the rich have accumulated so many billions that they are in a league of their own.
However, winning a billion dollars is a pretty amazing thing, and more people have done it than you might think. In fact, this level of wealth is far more common today than it was in the past.
Ready to find out how many billionaires there are in the world right now? Keep reading to find out.
How many billionaires will there be in the world in 2022?
Achieving billionaire status is a big deal, but not as difficult as it used to be. There are over 19 times more billionaires in the world today than there were in 1987.
In particular, according to Forbes, as of March 11, 2022, there were 2,668 billionaires. However, in 1987, only 140 people were members of the exclusive billion dollar club.
By far the largest number of billionaires in the world is from the US: 735 in March of this year, according to Forbes. This is followed by China (539), India (166), Germany (134) and Russia (83).
Who is the richest person in the world number 1?
Now that you know how many billionaires there are in the world, you are probably wondering who is the richest among them. While it’s easy to put them in the same super-elite category, some billionaires are certainly much richer than others.
According to the Forbes Real Time Billionaires List, of the 10 richest people on the planet, seven live in the United States, and they are all men. Some are self-made, while others are consolidating into a family empire.
While the title of the richest person in the world tends to oscillate between Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, the founder of Tesla, SpaceX and Boring Company currently leads the way. Here’s a look at Musk’s net worth along with the other nine richest people on the planet.
1. Elon Musk, $250.5 billion
In recent years, Musk’s net worth has grown. While this is still an incredible amount of money, the 51-year-old six-company founder was worth just $24.6 billion in 2020.
2. Bernard Arnault and his family, $155.1 billion
Bernard Arnault, 73, who lives in France, heads the luxury goods company LVMH; its 75 luxury brands include Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Christian Dior, Tiffany & Co., Bulgari, Dom Pérignon and Moet & Chandon. According to Forbes, his net worth has grown from $72 billion in 2018 to $158 billion in 2022.
3. Jeff Bezos, $151.9 billion
Founding Amazon in his Seattle garage in 1994 made Jeff Bezos one of the richest people in the world. The 58-year-old stepped down as the company’s CEO in July 2021 and now holds the position.
4. Gautam Adani and his family, $147 billion
Self-made infrastructure mogul, Adani’s 60-year-old conglomerate Adani Group owns stakes in real estate, commodities, infrastructure, power generation and transmission. In September 2020, it acquired a 74% stake in Mumbai International Airport, making it the largest airport operator in India.
5. Bill Gates, $106.3 billion
The 66-year-old Microsoft co-founder stepped down from the company’s board of directors in March 2020, but is still one of the richest people in the world.
6. Larry Ellison, $103 billion
The 78-year-old software company Oracle co-founded and continues to serve as its president and chief technology officer.
7. Warren Buffett, $96.7 billion
Warren Buffett, one of the most successful investors in history, made his fortune as CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. By continuing to work, the 92-year-old businessman has significantly increased his net worth since 2018, when his net worth was estimated at $84. . . thousand million.
8. Larry Page, $92.8 billion
Google parent Alphabet co-founder Larry Page, 49, has grown in fortune since 2018, when he was worth $48.8 billion. Formerly the CEO of Google, he rose to the top position at Alphabet after founding the parent company in 2015, but eventually stepped down in December 2019.
9. Mukesh Ambani, $92.2 billion
Mukesh Ambani, 65, from India, is the Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Ltd. The company has a broad portfolio spanning retail, entertainment, digital services, energy and materials.
10. Sergey Brin, $88.9 billion
Sergey Brin, 49, co-founder of Google, became president of Alphabet following a company restructuring in 2015. He left his post in December 2019 along with Page.
The “poorest” billionaires in the world
For an ordinary person, a billionaire is incredibly rich. However, there are different levels of wealth among the richest 1% in the world.
For example, nearly 750 people on Forbes World’s 2022 Billionaires List had a net worth of $1.5 billion or less as of March 11. Obviously, this is a monumental difference from Musk’s current $250.5 billion fortune.
In fact, only about 200 people on the list had a net worth above $10 billion as of March. Therefore, even among a crowd of billionaires, it is easy to see a clear hierarchy of wealth.
As for those worth $2 billion or less, there are quite a few recognizable names on the list. Here are some of the more famous names making the world’s billionaires list, along with their current net worth as of September 2, according to Forbes’ real-time data:
- Tim Cook, Apple CEO, $1.8 billion
- Kanye West, businessman and musician, $2 billion
- Kim Kardashian, reality TV star and businesswoman, worth $1.8 billion.
- Michael Jordan, former NBA star, $1.7 billion
- Jamie Dimon, CEO, JPMorgan Chase, $1.4 billion
- Sheryl Sandberg, outgoing COO of Meta and former Google executive, $1.5 billion
- Jay-Z, rapper and businessman, $1.3 billion
- Sarah Blakely, founder of Spanx, $1 billion
- Tyler Perry, actor and director, $1 billion
So when you ask how many billionaires there are in the world, you might as well consider the net worth of each of them. While they are all incredible, $1 billion, $20 billion, and $50 billion are very different fortunes.
How many trillionaires are there in the world?
Achieving billionaire status is something that even the richest people in the world have yet to achieve. This makes everyone wonder: who will be the first billionaire? Only time will tell if Musk wins the race or is overtaken by another billionaire.
Given that the number of billionaires has increased over the past 35 years, it seems likely that this number will continue to rise. It may seem hard to believe, but in 1987, when there were only 140 billionaires, people probably never imagined that there would be 2,668 in 2022.
If the wave of billionaires continues on its current path, in 35 years this club will have 19 times more people than today. This means that by 2057 there will be over 50,000 billionaires.
While the idea that someone can achieve billionaire status probably seems unimaginable, it might seem more achievable for someone like Musk if so many other people can amass billions of dollars in fortunes.
Only time will tell if this trend continues or if the new multi-billion dollar rally is temporary. Keep a close eye on the next few years to see what happens.
Data collected on September 2, 2022 and subject to change. Net worth information was sourced from Forbes’ real-time data on billionaires.