The Richest People in the World in 2023
After witnessing record gains in wealth, ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) lost a combined $10 trillion last year.
A lagging stock market dented these fortunes against high interest rates, energy shocks, and economic uncertainty. But in 2023, some of the world’s billionaires have flourished, posting sky-high revenues in spite of inflationary pressures.
With data from Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List, we feature a snapshot of the richest people in the world in 2023.
Elon Musk Back at the Top
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and the company’s largest shareholder, is the wealthiest person in the world. Musk’s net worth stands at over $258 billion.
In 2023, Tesla’s shares have more than doubled in price, supported by optimism surrounding the supercomputer it is building. This supercomputer, called Dojo, is being fed huge amounts of visual data to enable cars to drive autonomously.
Analysts say that Dojo could boost Tesla’s enterprise value by $500 billion.
In the table below, we show the world’s 10 richest people with data as of August 31, 2023:
|1||Elon Musk||Tesla, SpaceX||$258B|
|2||Bernard Arnault & family||LVMH||$209B|
|5||Warren Buffett||Berkshire Hathaway||$120B|
|9||Mark Zuckerberg||Meta (Facebook)||$105B|
The second-richest person in the world is France’s Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH. With 75 brands, the luxury conglomerate owns Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, and Tiffany.
Third on the list is Jeff Bezos, followed by Oracle founder Larry Ellison. Oracle, a multi-billion dollar cloud provider, is partnering with Nvidia in its artificial intelligence (AI) supercomputing platform designed for enterprises across multiple industries.
Fifth on the list is Warren Buffett. In his annual letter to shareholders, he discussed how Berkshire Hathaway reported record operating profits despite economic headwinds. The company outperformed the S&P 500 Index by about 22% in 2022.
How Fortunes Have Changed
Given multiple economic crosscurrents, billionaire wealth has diverged over the last year. Zuckerberg’s wealth has soared the fastest, at 57%, followed by Ellison at 43%.
In its “year of efficiency,” Meta has laid off over 10,000 employees this year on top of 11,000 in November of 2022. Meanwhile, online advertising has bounced back in 2023, and the company posted better-than-expected revenues in the second quarter.
Bill Gates has seen his wealth decline 11%, or $14 billion, the most across the top 10 richest.
So far this year, AI market euphoria has led fortunes in big tech to rebound, although not all have fully recovered. In 2022, the top 10 tech billionaires lost almost $500 billion in combined wealth.
Shakeups in Asia
Among the most striking news for the world’s richest centers around Gautam Adani, formerly the richest person in Asia.
In January, Hindenburg Research, a short-selling firm, released a report claiming that the Adani Group engaged in stock manipulation and fraud. Specifically, the report alleged the firm used offshore accounts to launder money, artificially boost share prices, and hide losses.
The Adani Group, which owns India’s largest ports—along with ports in Australia, Sri Lanka, and Israel—lost $100 billion in value in the span of a few weeks.
Interestingly, very few Indian mutual funds hold significant shares in Adani Group, signaling a lack of confidence across India’s market, which was also cited in Hindenburg’s report.
As a result, Mukesh Ambani has climbed to Asia’s top spot, controlling a $94 billion empire that spans from oil and gas and renewable energy to telecom. His conglomerate, Reliance Industries is the largest company by market cap in India.
Visualizing U.S. GDP by Industry in 2023
Services-producing industries account for the majority of U.S. GDP in 2023, followed by other private industries and the government.
Visualizing U.S. GDP by Industry
The U.S. economy is like a giant machine driven by many different industries, each one akin to an essential cog that moves the whole.
Understanding the breakdown of national gross domestic product (GDP) by industry shows where commercial activity is bustling and how diverse the economy truly is.
The above infographic uses data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis to visualize a breakdown of U.S. GDP by industry in 2023. To show this, we use value added by industry, which reflects the difference between gross output and the cost of intermediate inputs.
The Top 10 U.S. Industries by GDP
As of Q1 2023, the annualized GDP of the U.S. sits at $26.5 trillion.
Of this, 88% or $23.5 trillion comes from private industries. The remaining $3 trillion is government spending at the federal, state, and local levels.
Here’s a look at the largest private industries by economic contribution in the United States:
|Industry||Annualized Nominal GDP |
(as of Q1 2023)
|% of U.S. GDP|
|Professional and business services||$3.5T||13%|
|Real estate, rental, and leasing||$3.3T||12%|
|Educational services, health care, and social assistance||$2.3T||9%|
|Finance and insurance||$2.0T||8%|
|Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services||$1.2T||4%|
|Other private industries||$2.6T||10%|
Like most other developed nations, the U.S. economy is largely based on services.
Service-based industries, including professional and business services, real estate, finance, and health care, make up the bulk (70%) of U.S. GDP. In comparison, goods-producing industries like agriculture, manufacturing, mining, and construction play a smaller role.
Professional and business services is the largest industry with $3.5 trillion in value added. It comprises establishments providing legal, consulting, design, administration, and other services. This is followed by real estate at $3.3 trillion, which has consistently been an integral part of the economy.
Due to outsourcing and other factors, the manufacturing industry’s share of GDP has been declining for decades, but it still remains a significant part of the economy. Manufacturing of durable goods (metals, machines, computers) accounts for $1.6 trillion in value added, alongside nondurable goods (food, petroleum, chemicals) at $1.3 trillion.
The Government’s Contribution to GDP
Just like private industries, the government’s value added to GDP consists of compensation of employees, taxes collected (less subsidies), and gross operating surplus.
|Government||Annualized Nominal GDP |
(as of Q1 2023)
|% of U.S. GDP|
|State and Local||$2.1T||8%|
Figures may not add up to the total due to rounding.
State and local government spending, largely focused on the education and public welfare sectors, accounts for the bulk of value added. The Federal contribution to GDP amounts to roughly $948 billion, with 52% of it attributed to national defense.
The Fastest Growing Industries (2022–2032P)
In the next 10 years, services-producing industries are projected to see the fastest growth in output.
The table below shows the five fastest-growing industries in the U.S. from 2022–2032 in terms of total output, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
|Industry||Sector||Compound Annual Rate of Output Growth (2022–2032P)|
|Computing infrastructure providers, data processing, and related services||Information||3.9%|
|Wireless telecommunications carriers (except satellite)||Information||3.6%|
|Home health care services||Health care and social assistance||3.6%|
|Oil and gas extraction||Mining||3.5%|
Three of the fastest-growing industries are in the information sector, underscoring the growing role of technology and digital infrastructure. Meanwhile, the projected growth of the oil and gas extraction industry highlights the enduring demand for traditional energy sources, despite the energy transition.
Overall, the development of these industries suggests that the U.S. will continue its shift toward a services-oriented economy. But today, it’s also worth noticing how services- and goods-producing industries are increasingly tied together. For example, it’s now common for tech companies to produce devices, and for manufacturers to use software in their operations.
Therefore, the oncoming tide of growth in service-based industries could potentially lift other interconnected sectors of the diverse U.S. economy.
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