A billionaire, in countries that use the short scale number naming system, is a person with a net worth of at least one billion (1,000,000,000, i.e. a thousand million) units of a given currency, usually major currencies such as the United States dollar, the euro or the pound sterling. Additionally, a centibillionaire (or centi-billionaire) has been deemed applicable to a billionaire worth one hundred billion dollars (100,000,000,000), a mark first achieved in 2017 by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, with a net worth of $112 billion in a report issued in early 2018. The American business magazine Forbes produces a global list of known U.S. dollar billionaires every year and updates an Internet version of this list in real time. The American oil magnate John D. Rockefeller became the world's first confirmed U.S. dollar billionaire in 1916, and still holds the title of history's wealthiest individual.
As of 2018, there are over 2,200 U.S. dollar billionaires worldwide, with a combined wealth of over US$9.1trillion, up from US$7.67trillion in 2017. According to a 2017 Oxfam report, the top eight richest billionaires own as much combined wealth as "half the human race".
According to the UBS/PwC Billionaires Report 2019 report released in November 2019, there are currently 2,101 U.S. dollar billionaires worldwide, from 66 countries, with a combined net worth of $8.5 trillion.The majority of billionaires are male, as fewer than 11% (197 of 1,826) on the 2015 list were female billionaires. In 2015, there were ten openly LGBT billionaires. The United States has the largest number of billionaires of any country, with 536 as of 2015, while China, India and Russia are home to 213, 90 and 88 billionaires respectively. As of 2015, only 46 billionaires were under the age of 40, while the list of American-only billionaires, as of 2010, had an average age of 66.
According to a 2016 Oxfam report, the wealth of the poorest 95% dropped by 38% between 2010 and 2015, thanks to an increase in the global population of 400 million. In the same period, the wealth of the richest 62 people between the World's Billionaires increased by $500bn (£350bn) to $1.76tn. This number[clarification needed] has fallen dramatically from 388 as recently as 2010. More recently, in 2017 an Oxfam report noted that just eight billionaires have as much net worth as "half the human race". However, the Oxfam report has been criticized for considering debt as negative wealth, which leads to wealthy people with large amounts of debt to be considered poor or not wealthy.
New members now also include more and more women. In the last five years, the number of female billionaires has grown by 46 percent, that is more than the number of male billionaires in the same period (39 percent). There are now 233 female billionaires in the world, a steep growth from 160 in 2013.
The table below lists numerous statistics relating to billionaires, including the total number of known billionaires and the net worth of the world's wealthiest individual for each year since 2008. Data for each year is from the annual Forbes list of billionaires, with currency figures given in U.S. dollars. Data since 2018 also includes the Wealth-X billionaire census which typically finds higher numbers than Forbes.
|Year||Total number of
|Combined wealth of
|Number of billionaires||World's wealthiest
|2019||2,153-2,604||$8.6-$8.7 trillion||609-705||285-324||98-102||82-106||Jeff Bezos||$131 billion|
|2018||2,208-2,754||$9.1-$9.2 trillion||585-680||338-372||96-111||117-119||Jeff Bezos||$133 billion|
|2017||2,043||$7.71 trillion||565||319||106||101||Jeff Bezos||$99.6 billion|
|2016||1,810||$6.48 trillion||540||251||75||90||Bill Gates||$75 billion|
|2015||1,826||$7.05 trillion||536||213||88||88||Bill Gates||$79.2 billion|
|2014||1,645||$6.4 trillion||492||152||111||56||Bill Gates||$78 billion|
|2013||1,426||$5.4 trillion||442||122||110||-||Carlos Slim||$73 billion|
|2012||1,226||$4.6 trillion||425||95||96||-||Carlos Slim||$73 billion|
|2011||1,210||$4.5 trillion||413||115||101||-||Carlos Slim||$74 billion|
|2010||1,011||$3.6 trillion||404||89||62||-||Carlos Slim||$53.5 billion|
|2009||793||$2.4 trillion||359||28||32||-||Bill Gates||$40 billion|
|2008||1,125||$4.4 trillion||470||-||87||-||Warren Buffett||$62 billion|