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Explore the dynamic world of billionaires with our insightful image, showcasing the latest trends and figures from Forbes' 2024 World's Billionaires list.

Billionaires Are Growing – Here Are the World’s Richest People in 2024!

The planet of the uber-rich has swollen so vastly that a new stratum is distinguishing itself, not just by its billions, but by its ability to reach the once inconceivable $100 billion mark.

While it might have sounded like science fiction not so long ago, the ‘Centibillionaire Club’ is a new reality of world finance.

More Billionaires Than Ever

The ranks of this exclusive ultra-wealthy club of individuals now stands at an unprecedented 14 (versus just one in 2020), signalling not just ever-expanding individual fortunes, but a shift in the power dynamic of global wealth.

They have garnered their fortunes through brute scientific and technological innovation’ – in aggregate they now outrank their billionaire compatriots, and indeed all prior metrics of financial dominance: ‘They now stand as new hallmarks of financial dominance.’

Yet through an examination of how this group’s wealth is accumulated, sustained and deployed, we also witness the story of modern history, the ever-shifting tides of economic power, and profound landmarks of human achievement.

$100 Billionaire Club

The list of those fellow billionaires with fortunes greater than 12 figures now stands at 14, and has grown from six a year ago to just one in 2020. Tech company founders have been the big winners.

Taken together, the world’s billionaires are worth 120% more than they were 10 years ago. Yet these 14 have been flying even higher, with their net worths up 255% over that period, more than doubling the average billionaire.

In that time period, inflation (32%) and the broader stock market (182%, before dividends, as measured by the S&P 500) both grew more slowly than just how much richer the hyper-rich became.

Indeed, their $2 trillion in aggregate wealth means that the fortunes of just 0.5% of the planet’s 2,781 billionaires constitute 14% of all billionaire wealth. Six of the inaugural league’s franchises have a $3 billion-plus market valuation.

NFL franchises are among the assets with the highest 10-year return, with their valuations growing at 257%.

This breathtaking notion was unthinkable even to billionaires.

History of Billionaires

Forbes magazine’s first-ever ranking of the world’s wealthiest in 1987 included twin Japanese titans with fortunes in excess of $10 billion today, around $27 billion, which would have ranked it 69th in 2024.

The tech boom of the late 1990s had elevated Bill Gates to become the world’s first centibillionaire in 1999, with his wealth halved in the wake of the dot-com crash.

It wasn’t until 2017, with soaring market values, that Jeff Bezos crashed through into the $100 Billion Club (by now, Amazon was very close to a $1 trillion market cap).

Another two years passed before the club grew with Elon Musk and Bernard Arnault. By 2021, Bill Gates joined.

The bar for megawealth is being regularly advanced, with a 15th prospective member, the heiress to the L’Oréal company Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, now just $99.5 billion away, and tech mogul Michael Dell hot on her heels.

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index (as of 8 March 2024) Of the half-dozen or so tycoons whose fortunes dwarf nation states, five are American (two men, three women).

13 Carlos Slim Helú

Carlos Slim Helú’s net worth of $102 billion is also due to telecom in Mexico. He was the world’s wealthiest person between 2010 and 2013.

Helú remains one of the world’s richest today, thanks in part to the rise in the value of the Mexican peso and a 60% jump in the shares of his conglomerate Grupo Carso.

12 Amancio Ortega

Amancio Ortega, the founder of Zara, hit it big, increasing the share price of Inditex by 43% to bring his fortune to $103 billion, as well as owning a $20 billion real estate portfolio of several hundreds of properties rented to large corporations in Europe and North America.

11 Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg, worth $106 billion from Bloomberg LP and this August a new CEO of it, intends to bequeath his 88% stake to Bloomberg Philanthropies.

10 Larry Page

Larry Page, one of Google cofounders, is worth $110 billion and $114 billion respectively – though they’ve largely stepped back from day-to-day operations, they still remain key shareholders and involve themselves in random projects.

9 Mukesh Ambani

Reliance Industries made Mukesh Ambani Asia’s first centibillionaire ($116 billion) this year, while his son’s wedding was a glitzy event attended by the global rich and famous.

8 Steve Ballmer

Steve Ballmer (born 1956) has a net worth of $121 billion from Microsoft and the Los Angeles Clippers (recently purchased) moving to a new stadium.

7 Bill Gates

Bill Gates ($128 billion from Microsoft; giving so far $59 billion, costly divorce; lowest since 1992).

6 Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett, the boss of Berkshire Hathaway, is worth $133 billion, and his net worth has increased in recent years even while he engaged in a boardroom fight and lost his long-time right-hand man, Charlie Munger.

5 Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison, for example, hasn’t given up Oracle for a quieter life, remaining an important figure at a firm whose market value is $211 billion.

The dividend and the growing value of the company make Ellison worth $141 billion. Other startups have failed for him, and yet others only tick along without paying rich rewards.

4 Mark Zuckerberg

Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg recouped $177 billion of his wealth after a stock rally and, amid plans to lay off up to 10,000 employees, AI and the metaverse offer a path forward.

3 Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos’s net worth rose to $194 billion, lifted by a jump in shares of Amazon, which he moved his family to from the Seattle area, where he had been buying up real estate.

2 Elon Musk

The fortune of $195 billion that Elon Musk, of Tesla and SpaceX, recently had (it has since dropped), is not made through grit and charity, but as a result of the vagaries of success and failure within his Tesla and SpaceX operations, including lawsuits over Tesla stock options.

Explore the dynamic world of billionaires with our insightful image, showcasing the latest trends and figures from Forbes' 2024 World's Billionaires list.
Explore the dynamic world of billionaires with our insightful image, showcasing the latest trends and figures from Forbes’ 2024 World’s Billionaires list.

1 Bernard Arnault

Bernard Arnault (LVMH) is the richest person in the world for a second consecutive year, after his conglomerate LVMH continued to run the luxury market, and he pulled some smooth familial business succession manoeuvres.

Billionaires – Record Number of Wealthy People

This year, the number of billionaires in the world reached an all-time high. According to Forbes, there are now 2,781 of them, and they’re worth a combined $14.2 trillion. That’s 141 more billionaires than in 2017, the highest increase ever.

This also beats the previous peak of 2021, and it means the global group of the rich is richer than ever.

Their wealth rose by an additional $2 trillion compared with a year ago and a whopping $1.1 trillion over the previous record. This was an ‘extraordinary year of wealth creation’, Forbes proclaims.

Concentration in the pyramid is most extreme near its top, with the number of individuals in the world who have more than $12018 and with their combined wealth estimated to have hit $2 trillion, meaning that 0.5% of the world’s billionaire population account for 14% of billionaire wealth.

Top of the heap is France’s Bernard Arnault, at the summit for the second year in a row, with a fortune of $233 billion according to the luxury conglomerate LVMH’s triumphant 2023 as shares hit new highs.

Right behind him are Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, at $195 billion and $194 billion respectively. The valuations are based on stock prices and exchange rates of 8 March 2024.

The tech sector was particularly prolific in creating fortunes, with one prime example of late being Mark Zuckerberg’s $116.2 billion increase in net worth in a single year, helped by Meta’s stock recovery.

Zuckerberg is now the fourth-richest person in the world, with an estimated wealth of $177 billion. Larry Ellison is fifth with $141 billion.

The tech boom has propelled the AI billionaires club to a heady total of more than a dozen, reflecting the tech industry’s continued explosive growth, which made another $750 billion for its tycoons over the past year.

Celebrities got in on the action too, with new billionaires including Taylor Swift, Dick Wolf and Magic Johnson creating alternative routes to extreme wealth.

But this year, 265 people joined the billionaire ranks, and they came from every part of the wealth economy.

The US, China and India are the top three countries for billionaires, though India is rapidly rising.

In spite of good times for the rich, women still remain a rarity among this class, with Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, the wealthiest woman, topping the list. The slight drop in the number of self-made billionaires could just be the start of decades of massive wealth transfers between generations.

The year also had its own all-time entries, as well as corporations and individuals that collapsed through bankruptcies, scandals and market meltdowns showed what large wealth can quickly turn into ash.

The immense wealth of billionaires ebbs and flows, supersizing while the sands of the global economy shift around it.

Forex markets start the third week of March with some transformative movements in the foreign exchange sector.