Five Countries With The Most Billionaires 2021
Photo: KnowInsiders.

It’s been a banner year for billionaires the world over. In 2021, Forbes found a record 2,755 billionaires across 70 countries—nearly a third higher than the 2,095 listed in 2020. Once again, nearly half of the individuals on Forbes’ World’s Billionaires list hail from the U.S. and China.

But nearly every other country on the planet also gained new billionaires this year, with only one—the Caribbean island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis—recording fewer billionaires than in 2020. Kuwait and Angola saw their only billionaires fall off the list all well, leaving them with none.

The U.S. still has the highest number of billionaires in the world, with 724 American citizens in the three comma club—a record high that beats last year’s tally of 615—but the gap between the first and second spot has narrowed.

China gained a stunning 239 billionaires since March 2020, bringing its total to 626. The gap between the number of billionaires in these two countries has been shrinking for years, declining from 283 in 2018 to 227 in 2019 and now just 98.

Top Five Countries With The Most Billionaires 2021
Photo: Forbes

#1 | UNITED STATES

724 BILLIONAIRES

TOTAL NET WORTH: $4.4 TRILLION (UP $1.5 TRILLION SINCE 2020)

RICHEST PERSON: JEFF BEZOS, $177 BILLION

Top Five Countries With The Most Billionaires 2021
Photo: US News

Fifty-six individuals have joined the top ranks of America’s wealthiest citizens since COVID-19 has first hit the country in March, bringing the total of billionaires in the U.S. to 659, according to Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies, which collected data compiled by Forbes and shared the research with Investopedia.

Between March 18 and Dec. 22, 2020, the wealth held by these billionaires has jumped by more than $1.3 trillion to $4.08 trillion, the research stated.

New billionaires include several winners from the hottest IPOs of 2020, including Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky (real time worth: $12.5 billion), DoorDash CEO Tony Xu (real time worth: $3 billion), and Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman (real time worth: $2.2 billion).

Several of the richest people in the world in 2019 saw their fortunes expand in 2020. Those included Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (real-time worth: $186.96 billion), Tesla CEO Elon Musk (real-time worth: $144.68 billion), Microsoft founder Bill Gates (real-time worth: $119.9 billion).

The top 5 countries have 1,743 of the world’s 2,755 billionaires. The United States is home to more than a quarter of these. North America had the largest increase in billionaire population, while Asia-Pacific saw the largest decrease of 13.4%, reported World Population Review.

The United States has the highest number of billionaires of any country in the world. While the billionaire population worldwide declined, it grew almost 4% in the United States – from 680 to 705. Despite this, total billionaire wealth in the United States fell by 5% to $3.013 trillion. The United States has more billionaires than China, Germany, and Russia combined and has more billionaire wealth than China, Russia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Hong Kong, India, and Saudi Arabia combined. The wealthiest people in the United States are Jeff Bezos, whose worth is an estimated $114 billion, and Microsoft entrepreneur Bill Gates, whose worth is an estimated $106 billion.

#2 | CHINA

626 BILLIONAIRES

TOTAL NET WORTH: $2.5 TRILLION (UP $1.3 TRILLION)

RICHEST PERSON: ZHONG SHANSHAN, $68.9 BILLION

Top Five Countries With The Most Billionaires 2021
Photo: Lovely Planet

According to the Hurun Global Rich List 2021, Greater China housed one of the most billionaires worldwide in 2021. In detail, Greater China topped the second in the list with a billionaire population of 626 people.

As the founder and exporter of consumer capitalism, it is no surprise that the United States is home to a large number of billionaires. However, the United States has lost their place as the country with the most billionaires in the world to China. This rise of billionaires in China has coincided with the liberalization of its economy and successive high growth rates. However, North America still leads the way in terms of the highest number of ultra high net worth individuals – those with a net worth of more than fifty million U.S. dollars. The prominence of Europe and North America is a reflection of the higher degree of economic development in those states. However, this may also change with China being set to close the gap on the United States.

Outside of the top two, a new country broke into the third spot. India, with 140 billionaires, pushed past Germany, which fell to fourth with 136 billionaires. India gained 19 new billionaires this year—a feat matched by Canada and exceeded only by the U.S., China and Germany—and its billionaires have a collective net worth of $596 billion, a 90% increase from last year’s figure of $313 billion. Further down, Italy entered the top ten with 51 billionaires, dislodging France, which fell to the fifteenth spot.

The Asia-Pacific region remains the leader with a record 1,149 billionaires—370 more than last year, largely due to the newcomers from China and India. Every single region tracked by Forbes (Europe, the Middle East and Africa, U.S., and the Americas) gained more billionaires since 2020, a stark reversal from last year, when they all declined compared to 2019 amid the Covid crash.

#3 | INDIA

140 BILLIONAIRES

TOTAL NET WORTH: $596 BILLION (UP $283 BILLION)

RICHEST PERSON: MUKESH AMBANI, $84.5 BILLION

Top Five Countries With The Most Billionaires 2021
Photo: The Commonwealth

Forbes Rich list for 2021 is out and as per the list the total number of Indian billionaires rose to 140 from 102 last year with their combined wealth nearly doubling to $596 billion. The three richest Indians alone have added just over $100 billion between them, as per Forbes.

By continent, Asia accounts for 51 per cent of the billionaires. India, the report said, now has 209 billionaires. “India last year added billionaires at a similar rate to the US, 50 compared with 69,” the report said.

With $83 billion, Reliance Industries' (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani was the richest in India, second richest in Asia and the eighth richest in the World. Gautam Adani (Adani Group), Shiv Nadar (HCL Group), Lakshmi N Mittal (ArcelorMittal) and Cyrus Poonawalla (Serum Institute of India) are the other top-ranking billionaires in India, according to the Hurun Global Rich List 2021. Apoorva Mehta of Instacart with a net worth of $1.7 billion and Nikhil Kamath of Zerodha with a net worth of $1.9 billion are the youngest Indians in the list.

#4 | GERMANY

136 BILLIONAIRES

TOTAL NET WORTH: $626 BILLION (UP $179 BILLION)

RICHEST PERSON: BEATE HEISTER & KARL ALBRECHT JR., $39.2 BILLION

Top Five Countries With The Most Billionaires 2021
Photo: CNN

The youngest billionaire on the planet is German heir Kevin David Lehmann, who is just 18. His father, Guenther Lehmann, transferred a stake in German drugstore chain drogerie markt to his son when he was 14, but it remained under a trusteeship until his 18th birthday, which was in September 2020. Not surprisingly, he is one of just a handful of billionaires to ever debut in the ranks while still a teenager.

#5 | RUSSIA

117 BILLIONAIRES

TOTAL NET WORTH: $584 BILLION (UP $199 BILLION)

RICHEST PERSON: ALEXEY MORDASHOV & FAMILY, $29.1 BILLION

Top Five Countries With The Most Billionaires 2021
Photo: The Moscow Times

Despite a weakening Ruble and the threat of U.S. sanctions looming over the country's economy, Russia's billionaire class has swelled to 117 tycoons (up from 99 last year) worth a collective $584 billion (up from $385 billion). More than a third of the gains come from just ten billionaires.

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