The World’s Top 50 Wealthiest Billionaires
Bill Gates. Warren Buffett. Mark Zuckerberg. George Soros. Charles and David Koch.
On an individual level, the people that make the definitive list of the Top 50 Wealthiest Billionaires are interesting, divisive, and envied around the globe. Together, they are a real force to be reckoned with: their combined fortunes tally to $1.46 trillion, which is more money than the GDP of entire countries such as Australia or Spain.
Today’s data visualization, using the latest information from Wealth-X, takes an in-depth look at the world’s wealthiest billionaires by breaking down important data on age, location, and the source of their fortunes.
Billionaires by Geography
The lion’s share of the wealthiest billionaires still come from the United States, where 58% of the list is located. The rest are mostly in Europe (16%) and China (12%), which includes those from Hong Kong.
The Southern Hemisphere only has one billionaire – Jorge Lemann from Brazil. However, even he now lives in Switzerland.
Surprisingly, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Russia combine to have a grand total of zero representation on the Top 50 Billionaires list.
Billionaires by Age
The youngest billionaire on the list is Mark Zuckerberg, at just 31 years of age. The oldest is Liliane Bettencourt, the principal shareholder of cosmetic giant L’Oréal. She is 93 years old.
The age of tech billionaires skewed the lowest, with an average age of 51. The age of all non-tech billionaires was far higher at 72.
The Walton siblings, which include Rob, Alice, and Jim Walton, are all descendants of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, and each have healthy fortunes of over $33 billion.
Meanwhile, the sons and daughters of Forrest Mars Sr., the creator of a candy empire, are not doing too bad for themselves, either. Forrest Jr., Jacqueline, and John Mars each have respective fortunes of $28.6 billion.
The divisive Koch Brothers also are high on the list, inheriting their initial wealth from father Fred C. Koch, the founder of Koch Industries. They succeeded in buying out their two other brothers, Frederick and William, after highly-publicized court battles in the 1980s and 1990s. Today the Koch Brothers have a combined fortune of $94.2 billion.
Other billionaires are connected by being from the same corporate family, sharing in the success of creating empires from the ground up. Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, and Paul Allen all worked to create Microsoft, and Larry Page and Sergey Brin built Google (now Alphabet) into one of the biggest companies in the world.
Billionaires by Industry
Technology, which brings us names such as Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Bill Gates, and Larry Ellison, has more billionaires than any other industry with 12.
The world’s largest fashion and retail brands, such as Wal-Mart, Zara, Nike, and H&M, also have helped to get many people on this list.
At the same time, other industries such as media are under-represented, with only two names with empires built in the sector making the top 50.
About the Money Project
The Money Project aims to use intuitive visualizations to explore ideas around the very concept of money itself. Founded in 2015 by Visual Capitalist and Texas Precious Metals, the Money Project will look at the evolving nature of money, and will try to answer the difficult questions that prevent us from truly understanding the role that money plays in finance, investments, and accumulating wealth.
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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