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Making Billions: The Richest People in the World



billionaires world's richest people

The Richest People in the World

In the last year, the wealth controlled by the world’s top 10 billionaires has jumped by over $76B.

Even in the teeth of jittery markets, many of the world’s richest people have seen their wealth surge to new heights as COVID-19 unfolds.

Today’s infographic draws data from Forbes Billionaire’s List and shows a broad cross-section of the world’s billionaires – highlighting their stratospheric wealth in the current economic climate.

Wealth in Astonishing Circumstances

The below table shows the fortunes of the world’s 10 richest people, comparing the numbers from March 5, 2019 to the most recent data from April 22, 2020.

RankNameNet Worth 2020*Net Worth 2019*Change 2019-2020
#1Jeff Bezos$145B$131B+$14.1B
#2Bill Gates$104B$97B+$7.1B
#3Bernard Arnault & Family$92B$76B+$15.5B
#4Warren Buffett$73B$83B-$9.1B
#5Mark Zuckerberg$69B$62B+$6.5B
#6Larry Ellison$66B$63B+$3.4B
#7Steve Ballmer$63B$41B+$21.3B
#8Amancio Ortega$61B$63B-$2.2B
#9Larry Page$58B$51B+$7.6B
#10Jim Walton$57B$45B+$12.0B
Total Change+$76.2B

Source: Forbes – *As of April 22, 2020 **As of March 5, 2019

Gaining the highest across the top 10 is former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who saw his fortune rise over $21 billion since March 2019.

Facing the steepest losses belong to investing luminary Warren Buffett, whose net worth has dropped over $9 billion over the past year. At year-end 2019 Buffett was a 11% shareholder in Delta Airlines. In April, Buffett sold 13 million shares in the airline.

Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune is holding steady. Amazingly, the Facebook founder still remains one of the world’s youngest billionaires (ranking 22nd out of 2,095) despite first joining the billionaire club a dozen years ago.

Newcomers to the List

As a new decade begins, who are among the most newly-minted billionaires?

Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom has climbed in the ranks as online video communication demand soars. Zoom went public in April 2019 at a stunning $9.2 billion IPO valuation. As of April 24, 2020, Zoom was valued at over $44.3 billion.

RankNameNet WorthSource of Wealth
#1Eric Yuan$7.8BZoom
#2Anthony von Mandl$3.9BMark Anthony Brands
#3Larry Xiangdong Chen$3.6BGSX Techedu
#4Dmitry Bukhman$3.1BPlayrix
#5Igor Bukhman$3.1BPlayrix
#6Sun Huaiqing$3.0BGuangdong Marubi Biotechnology
#7Forrest Li$2.4BSea Group
#8Byju Raveendran$1.7BByju's
#9Jitse Groen$
#10Qian Ying$1.5BMuyuan Foods

*As of April 22, 2020

Similarly, Netherland’s Jitse Groen has witnessed his food-delivery company expand extensively. currently operates in 11 countries across Europe and received regulatory approval to complete a $7.6 billion merger with JustEat in April.

Forrest Li who runs Sea, an online-gaming and e-commerce company, has similarly joined the ranks. Tencent and private equity firm General Atlantic are among its major stakeholders.

The COVID-19 Response

As the global economy contends with a loss of confidence and job losses, some of the world’s richest people are stepping up to the plate.
Billionaires with COVID-19 donations

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is donating roughly 25% of his net worth to COVID-19 in the form of Square stock, valued at $1B.

His donation, which was placed in a donor-advised fund called Start Small LLC, is more than four times higher than any other billionaire. That said, after the pandemic, Dorsey also stated that this money may also go towards girl’s health and education, as well as universal basic income (UBI).

RankNameCOVID-19-Related Donation% of Net Worth
#1Jack Dorsey$1B25.6%
#2Bill & Melinda Gates$255M0.2%
#3Azim Premji$132M2.2%
#4Andrew Forrest$100M+1.2%+
#5Jeff Bezos$100M0.1%
#6Michael Dell$100M0.4%
#7Lynn Schusterman, Stacy Schusterman$70M2.1%
#8Amancio Ortega$68M0.1%
#9Nicky Oppenheimer$54.5M0.7%
#10Johann Rupert$54.5M1.1%

*As of April 15, 2020

Overall, 77 of the world’s billionaires have made public contributions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, just a fraction of the world’s ultra-rich.

As COVID-19 continues to spread globally, will the world’s billionaires still accumulate wealth at greater speeds, or will a different picture emerge as unconventional policies around the world become increasingly commonplace?

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Mapped: How Much Does it Take to be the Top 1% in Each U.S. State?

An annual income anywhere between $360,000-$950,000 can grant entry into the top 1%—depending on where you live in America.



A cropped map of the U.S. listing the annual income needed to be in the top 1% in each state.

How Much Does it Take to be the Top 1% in Each U.S. State?

There’s an old saying: everyone thinks that they’re middle-class.

But how many people think, or know, that they really belong to the top 1% in the country?

Data from personal finance advisory services company, SmartAsset, reveals the annual income threshold at which a household can be considered part of the top 1% in their state.

Some states demand a much higher yearly earnings from their residents to be a part of the rarefied league, but which ones are they, and how much does one need to earn to make it to the very top echelon of income?

Ranking U.S. States By Income to Be in the Top 1%

At the top of the list, a household in Connecticut needs to earn nearly $953,000 annually to be part of the one-percenters. This is the highest minimum threshold across the country.

In the same region, Massachusetts requires a minimum annual earnings of $903,401 from its top 1% residents.

Here’s the list of all 50 U.S. states along with the annual income needed to be in the 1%.

RankStateTop 1% Income
Top 1% Tax Rate
(% of annual income)
4New Jersey$817,34628.01%
6New York$776,66228.29%
10New Hampshire$659,03726.25%
N/ANational Average$652,657N/A
18South Dakota$590,37322.99%
20North Dakota$585,55624.76%
25North Carolina$559,76225.31%
28Rhode Island$548,53125.26%
35South Carolina$508,42724.40%
48New Mexico$411,39523.35%
50West Virginia$367,58223.26%
N/ANational Median
Household Income

California ($844,266), New Jersey ($817,346), and Washington ($804,853) round out the top five states with the highest minimum thresholds to make it to their exclusive rich club.

On the other end of the spectrum, the top one-percenters in West Virginia make a minimum of $367,582 a year, the lowest of all the states, and about one-third of the threshold in Connecticut. And just down southwest of the Mountain State, Mississippi’s one-percenters need to make at least $381,919 a year to qualify for the 1%.

A quick glance at the map above also reveals some regional insights.

The Northeast and West Coast, with their large urban and economic hubs, have higher income entry requirements for the top 1% than states in the American South.

This also correlates to the median income by state, a measure showing Massachusetts households make nearly $90,000 a year, compared to Mississippians who take home $49,000 annually.

How Much Do the Top 1% Pay in Taxes?

Meanwhile, if one does make it to the top 1% in states like Connecticut and Massachusetts, expect to pay more in taxes than other states, according to SmartAsset’s analysis.

A chart showing how states with the top highest and lowest average tax rates for their top 1% residents.

The one-percenters in the top five states pay, on average, between 26–28% of their income in tax, compared to those in the bottom five who pay between 21–23%.

And this pattern exists through the dataset, with higher top 1% income thresholds correlating with higher average tax rates for the wealthy.

State RanksMedian Tax Rate
Top 1026.65%

These higher tax rates point to attempts to reign in the increasing wealth disparity in the nation where the top 1% hold more than one-third of the country’s wealth, up from 27% in 1989.

Where Does This Data Come From?

Source: SmartAsset’s America’s Top 1% Is Different in Each State uses data from 2020 individual tax filings from the IRS, adjusted to 2023 dollars using the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index.

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