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There Are 16 Fewer Billionaires in the World in 2016

Topics: Data & Research

Every year, Forbes releases its updated list of the world’s billionaires. Some things tend to remain pretty consistent from year to year: Bill Gates is usually No. 1, or close to it; the U.S. has more billionaires than any other single country; new billionaires are often tech entrepreneurs or investors. What’s different about this year? Well, for the first time since the recession, the number of billionaires in the world declined, from 1,826 in 2015 to 1,810 in 2016.

gold bars 

(Photo Credit: New Old Stock)

“Volatile stock markets, cratering oil prices and a stronger dollar led to a dynamic reshuffling of wealth around the globe and a drop in ten-figure fortunes for the first time since 2009,” write Kerry A. Dolan and Luisa Kroll at Forbes.

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Both the aggregate net worth of all billionaires and the average net worth of each billionaire dropped – $6.48 trillion aggregate, which is $570 billion less than in 2015, and $3.6 billion average, down $300 million from 2015.

In fact, nine of the 10 richest people in the world in 2015 lost money over the past year. Only Zara founder Amancio Ortega gained last year, adding $2.5 billion to his now-$67 billion fortune and moving up to the No. 2 spot.

Other points of note from the list:

  • Bill Gates is still No. 1, as he has been for the past three years and 17 of the previous 22 years. Gates’ fortune declined by $4.2 billion since last year.
  • Mark Zuckerberg cracked the top 10, adding $11.2 billion and moving from No. 16 to No. 6. Jeff Bezos also appeared in the top 10 for the first time.
  • 221 people dropped off the list this year, while 198 made it for the first time. 29 billionaires died, and 29 people who previously made the list reappeared in the ranks.
  • 190 women appeared on the list this year, down from 197 in 2015. Chinese entrepreneur Zhou Qunfei, whose $5.9 billion comes from smartphone screens, was a new entrant and also the richest self-made female billionaire.
  • The youngest billionaire is 19-year-old Norwegian heiress Alexandra Andresen, followed by her sister, Katharina Andresen, age 20. The oldest is 100-year-old David Rockefeller, Sr.

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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