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The World’s Billionaires, by Generation

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infographic showing the world's billionaires by generation

The World’s Billionaires, by Generation

What similarities do the world’s billionaires share? What are their differences?

At the age of 12, Elon Musk built his first video game. Similarly, Mark Zuckerberg shared an interest in computer programming, building a simple messaging platform at the same age. The co-founder of Oracle, Larry Ellison, developed programming skills at college. All three span different generations and made their fortunes in tech.

In this infographic from BusinessFinancing.co.uk, we explore some characteristics of billionaires across generations, including their average net worth, top sectors, number of children, and most common city of residence.

The World’s Billionaires, by Generation

Using data from Forbes here is how each generation of the world’s billionaires break down.

Silent Generation

  • Born: 1928-1945
  • Average Net Worth: $5.5 billion
  • Most Popular Residence: New York, U.S.

Silent Generation billionaires are the wealthiest on average across generations. With CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Warren Buffett and Zara founder Amancio Ortega among its ranks, Silent Generation billionaires are most likely to be in finance, fashion, and real estate industries.

Top 5Sector%
1
Finance & Investments15.5%
2Fashion & Retail12.4%
3Real Estate9.8%
4Food & Beverage9.0%
5Manufacturing9.0%

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who owns The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and The New York Post, is also part of this group. He has a net worth of $13 billion.

Baby Boomer

  • Born: 1946-1964
  • Average Net Worth: $4.6 billion
  • Most Popular Residence: New York, U.S.

Like the Silent Generation, billionaire Boomers are most likely to be in finance. Stephen Schwarzman, founder of private equity firm Blackstone Group, R. Budi Hartono, the richest person in Indonesia, and Ray Dalio, head of Bridgewater Associates, all fall into this generation.

Boomer billionaires are much less likely to be in the tech industry, though Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates have amassed their fortunes in this area.

Top 5 Sector%
1Finance & Investments14.2%
2Manufacturing12.9%
3Fashion & Retail10.6%
4Technology8.7%
5Healthcare8.5%

With a net worth of $150 billion, LVMH chair Bernard Arnault is the second richest person in the world. Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers, vice-chairwoman of L’Oreal, ranks 12th. Both fashion conglomerates are based in France and helmed by billionaire Boomers.

Generation X

  • Born: 1965-1980
  • Average Net Worth: $4.4 billion
  • Most popular Residence: Beijing, China

The world’s billionaires in Gen X are not only predominantly in tech, but are most likely to live in Beijing, China. Ma Huateng, founder of social media conglomerate Tencent Holdings, created instant messaging platform QQ in his early 20s. Colin Huang built one of China’s largest e-commerce platforms, Pinduoduo, in 2015.

Top 5Sector%
1Technology24.2%
2Manufacturing13.4%
3Finance & Investments11.6%
4Healthcare8.0%
5Fashion & Retail7.6%

Gen X billionaires also include Elon Musk and Google co-founder Larry Page.

Millennials

  • Born: 1981-1996
  • Average Net Worth: $5.1 billion
  • Most Popular Residence: San Francisco, U.S.

With the second-highest average net worth after the Silent Generation, millennial billionaires are seen predominantly in tech and finance. Roughly 100 billionaires worldwide fall into this category overall.

Mark Zuckerberg is the only millennial billionaire among the top 10 richest globally.

Top 5Sector%
1Technology31.0%
2Finance & Investments12.9%
3Fashion & Retail8.6%
4Media & Entertainment8.6%
5Automotive6.9%

Brian Chesky (co-founder of Airbnb), Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel (co-founders of Snapchat), and Swiss billionaire Guillaume Pousaz are all part of this billionaire cohort.

Generational Trends

What other trends are seen across the world’s billionaires?

Silent Generation BillionairesBaby Boomer BillionairesGeneration X BillionairesMillennial Billionaires
Women9.6%9.8%11.9%19.1%
Self-Made65.7%71.0%80.7%66.4%
U.S. Citizens38.2%27.3%17.7%30.2%
EU Citizens17.5%11.7%13.0%18.1%
Living Outside the U.S.61.9%73.2%81.8%65.5%
Married78.9%86.5%83.6%68.4%

Millennial billionaires are the most likely to be women, with roughly double the rate of all other generations at 19%. Notable billionaire women include Anna Kasprzak, who co-owns Danish shoe company ECCO and Brazil’s Anne-Marie Werninghaus.

Self-made billionaires are most likely to be Gen X. Over 80% of billionaires are in this category, including Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Mu Rongjun, co-founder of Meituan, a company similar to Yelp. At the same time, the most billionaires living outside of the U.S. (81%) were born in this generation.

Billionaire Boomers are most likely to be married. The Silent Generation, meanwhile, are most likely to be U.S. citizens, with hedge fund manager George Soros and the world’s oldest billionaire, George Joseph (100) who founded insurance firm Mercury General, in this set.

Notable exceptions include Robert Kuok (98), the richest person in Malaysia, and Masatoshi Ito (97), chair of Japan’s largest retailer.

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