Becoming a billionaire is about as probable as being struck by lightning (i.e. NOT likely). If you live in North America your odds of becoming a billionaire are one in 785,166. Your odds of being hit by a lightning bolt are one in 750,000. If you defy the odds, you become a member of an elite club with less than 3000 members worldwide. While there are thousands of billionaires, each country has just 1 richest billionaire.
- The average net worth of the 73 listed billionaires is $14.8 billion
- Jeff Bezos, wealthiest billionaire in the world, has a net worth over 10x the average at $149.7 billion
- Most common sources of wealth: Banking/Finance/Investments, Diversified (large conglomerates with multiple divisions) and real estate
5 of the 73 listed are women
Our graphic takes data from the most recent Forbes billionaire list. The graphic shows the one richest person from the 73 countries listed. The image further groups the billionaires by their respective region (Americas, Asia, Europe, Africa), highlights the source of their wealth (i.e. Banking, Diversified, Mining etc) and their estimated net worth figure. Find out who your country’s richest person is below.
Top 5 Richest Billionaires By Wealth and Country
1. Jeff Bezos – $149.7B, U.S.
2. Bernard Arnault – $89.3B, France
3. Amancio Ortega- $63.7B, Spain
4. Carlos Slim Helu- $60B, Mexico
5. Mukesh Ambani – $52.9B India
The list of billionaires is impressive with many of them touting international celebrity status. Looking at the makeup of these individuals based on their geographic location also highlights some interesting takeaways. Here is a breakdown of what industries created the most wealth in each region:
- Americas – Banking is the dominant player for wealth creation with over $306 billion of wealth created
- Europe – Retail focused with many iconic brands (Nutella, RedBull, LVMH, ZARA etc) with $433.7 billion of wealth
- Asia – Real estate is the wealth creator of choice with $271 billion of wealth
- Africa – Commodities (Cement, Foodstuff, Diamonds etc) with $43 billion of wealth
While knowing how billionaires become rich is interesting, knowing how they spend their wealth is more insightful. Philanthropy of the world’s wealthiest is big business. Some have been generous giving away nearly 1% to 2% of their net worth to date. The most generous are committing to giving half, if not all away.
The Giving Pledge founded by Bill and Melinda Gates, is an organization that seeks to convince the world’s wealthiest people to give away half of their wealth to philanthropic endeavors. To date, 204 people have signed the pledge from 22 countries. Notable signers include Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and others. In terms of the wealthiest from each country, none are on the list with the notable exception of Mackenzie Bezos. Bezos, the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, has a net worth of $36 billion and has committed to the Giving Pledge.
The Giving Pledge has notable billionaires but none that top the wealthiest list from their respective countries. The pledgers tend to be couples and from North America which has the greatest concentration of billionaires in the world. The U.S. has more billionaires than China, India and Germany combined. As the world’s billionaire population becomes more global, one would hope that philanthropy also follows suit.
Thoughts on billionaires, their wealth or their philanthropic habits? Share with friends and leave your comments below.
Data: Table 1.1