Visualizing the Richest People in the World
Over $890 billion has been amassed by the ten wealthiest people since March 2020.
To put that into perspective, that’s more than the entire economic output of Sweden, Turkey, or Saudi Arabia. As just one example, Elon Musk witnessed his wealth increase at least 1,116% in the last year and a half. Meanwhile, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has earned an additional $89 billion.
With data from the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List, we navigate how the wealth of various uber-affluent groups have changed since the beginning of the pandemic.
The 10 Richest People in the World
With a net worth of $304 billion, Elon Musk is the wealthiest in the world.
Boosting his wealth is a $100 billion valuation of SpaceX. Since February, its valuation has jumped roughly $25 billion, placing it among the most valuable private companies worldwide. The majority of Musk’s wealth, however, derives from Tesla, which recently moved its headquarters from California to Austin, Texas.
Based on data as of November 8, 2021 here are the ten wealthiest individuals worldwide:
|Rank||Name||Source||Net Worth Nov 2021||Net Worth Mar 2020||Change 2020-2021|
|1||Elon Musk||Tesla, SpaceX||$301B||$25B||$276B|
|3||Bernard Arnault & family||LVMH||$197B||$76B||$121B|
|8||Mark Zuckerberg||Meta (Facebook)||$121B||$55B||$66B|
|10||Warren Buffett||Berkshire Hathaway||$105B||$68B||$37B|
Top 10 Wealth Growth
Since the onset of the pandemic, Musk has seen his wealth grow the fastest out of the top 10. Over the third quarter of 2021, Tesla net income topped $1.6 billion—a company record. This surge helped the entrepreneur become the first person to cross the $300 billion net worth threshold.
Yet once again, Musk surpassed Jeff Bezos as the richest person in the world. This is impressive, since Jeff Bezos’s wealth ballooned over 79% in the same time frame. Similarly, Zuckerberg, Gates, and Buffett have all seen double or triple-digit growth.
Following Musk and Bezos is Bernard Arnault, known as “The Wolf in Cashmere”. The French magnate has made over $121 billion spurred by a 43% jump in LVMH revenues over 2021. Earlier this year, LVMH closed a $15.8 billion acquisition of jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co.
On average, the top 10 richest have seen gains of 204% over the course of the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, the majority were in tech.
Who’s In and Who’s Out?
As of early August, Rihanna joins the billionaire’s club with an estimated $1.7 billion net worth.
Thanks to the rapid ascent of Fenty Beauty (of which she owns a 50% stake), Rihanna is the second-wealthiest female entertainer in the world, following Oprah at $2.7 billion. The company is focused on inclusivity, offering a broad set of products for every skin type. Launched in 2017 with LVMH (who owns the other 50% stake), Fenty Beauty currently sits at a $2.8 billion valuation.
By contrast, last year’s youngest billionaire, Kylie Jenner, fell off the list after allegedly inflating her net worth. Interestingly, the Kardashian’s took great lengths to show Forbes the extent of her wealth, including showing them their tax returns along with invitations to their mansions.
Still, Jenner’s net worth stands at roughly $700 million.
A New Gilded Age?
Given the staggering growth of the ultra-wealthy in recent years, today’s wealth concentration is now comparable to America’s Gilded Age.
At the time, John D. Rockefeller was the richest person in the world—worth roughly $285 billion in today’s terms. His businesses produced 1.6% of total U.S. economic output.
By comparison, Elon Musk, at over $304 billion, still has a little ways to go just yet.
The data and graphics were last updated on November 8th, 2021.
The $16 Trillion European Union Economy
This chart shows the contributors to the EU economy through a percentage-wise distribution of country-level GDP.
The $16 Trillion European Union Economy
The European Union has the third-largest economy in the world, accounting for one-sixth of global trade. All together, 27 member countries make up one internal market allowing free movement of goods, services, capital and people.
But how did this sui generis (a class by itself) political entity come into being?
A Brief History of the EU
After the devastating aftermath of the World War II, Western Europe saw a concerted move towards regional peace and security by promoting democracy and protecting human rights.
Crucially, the Schuman Declaration was presented in 1950. The coal and steel industries of Western Europe were integrated under common management, preventing countries from turning on each other and creating weapons of war. Six countries signed on — the eventual founders of the EU.
Here’s a list of all 27 members of the EU and the year they joined.
|Country||Year of entry|
Greater economic and security cooperation followed over the next four decades, along with the addition of new members. These tighter relationships disincentivized conflict, and Western Europe—after centuries of constant war—has seen unprecedented peace for the last 80 years.
The modern version of the EU can trace its origin to 1993, with the adoption of the name, ‘the European Union,’ the birth of a single market, and the promise to use a single currency—the euro.
Since then the EU has become an economic and political force to reckon with. Its combined gross domestic product (GDP) stood at $16.6 trillion in 2022, after the U.S. ($26 trillion) and China ($19 trillion.)
Front Loading the EU Economy
For the impressive numbers it shows however, the European Union’s economic might is held up by three economic giants, per data from the International Monetary Fund. Put together, the GDPs of Germany ($4 trillion), France ($2.7 trillion) and Italy ($1.9 trillion) make up more than half of the EU’s entire economic output.
These three countries are also the most populous in the EU, and together with Spain and Poland, account for 66% of the total population of the EU.
Here’s a table of all 27 member states and the percentage they contribute to the EU’s gross domestic product.
|Rank||Country||GDP (Billion USD)||% of the EU Economy|
The top-heaviness continues. By adding Spain ($1.3 trillion) and the Netherlands ($990 billion), the top five make up nearly 70% of the EU’s GDP. That goes up to 85% when the top 10 countries are included.
That means less than half of the 27 member states make up $14 trillion of the $16 trillion EU economy.
Older Members, Larger Share
Aside from the most populous members having bigger economies, another pattern emerges, with the time the country has spent in the EU.
Five of the six founders of the EU—Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium—are in the top 10 biggest economies of the EU. Ireland and Denmark, the next entrants into the union (1973) are ranked 9th and 11th respectively. The bottom 10 countries all joined the EU post-2004.
The UK—which joined the bloc in 1973 and formally left in 2020—would have been the second-largest economy in the region at $3.4 trillion.
Sectoral Analysis of the EU
The EU has four primary sectors of economic output: services, industry, construction, and agriculture (including fishing and forestry.) Below is an analysis of some of these sectors and the countries which contribute the most to it. All figures are from Eurostat.
Services and Tourism
The EU economy relies heavily on the services sector, accounting for more than 70% of the value added to the economy in 2020. It also is the sector with the highest share of employment in the EU, at 73%.
In Luxembourg, which has a large financial services sector, 87% of the country’s gross domestic product came from the services sector.
Tourism economies like Malta and Cyprus also had an above 80% share of services in their GDP.
Meanwhile 20% of the EU’s gross domestic product came from industry, with Ireland’s economy having the most share (40%) in its GDP. Czechia, Slovenia and Poland also had a significant share of industry output.
Mining coal and lignite in the EU saw a brief rebound in output in 2021, though levels continued to be subdued.
|Rank||Sector||% of the EU Economy|
|4.||Agriculture, forestry and fishing||1.8%|
Less than 2% of the EU’s economy relies on agriculture, forestry and fishing. Romania, Latvia, and Greece feature as contributors to this sector, however the share in total output in each country is less than 5%. Bulgaria has the highest employment (16%) in this sector compared to other EU members.
The EU imports nearly 60% of its energy requirements. Until the end of 2021, Russia was the biggest exporter of petroleum and natural gas to the region. After the war in Ukraine that share has steadily decreased from nearly 25% to 15% for petroleum liquids and from nearly 40% to 15% for natural gas, per Eurostat.
Headwinds, High Seas
The IMF has a gloomy outlook for Europe heading into 2023. War in Ukraine, spiraling energy costs, high inflation, and stagnant wage growth means that EU leaders are facing “severe trade-offs and tough policy decisions.”
Reforms—to relieve supply constraints in the labor and energy markets—are key to increasing growth and relieving price pressures, according to the international body. The IMF projects that the EU will grow 0.7% in 2023.
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