Every nation must have someone who is the wealthiest, and everyone who vies for this honor is faced with the same daunting question: How? You’ve likely heard that wealth comes from hard work, but unfortunately to make it to the top spot that’s only true if you’re working hard at growing your own wealth. Of those richest people in each nation, 52% were born in the right family, as shown in the map below.

The good news is that those most richest who are self-made tend to have greater wealth, to the tune of 58% greater average wealth. By wealth, the top three people richest within their nation are all self made: Bill Gates in the US ($79.4 billion), Amancio Ortega of Spain ($78.7 billion, briefly surpassing Bill Gates to reach the #1 spot today), and Carlos Slim in Mexico ($62.8 billion). This far outstripps the largest inherited wealth on the map (Liliane Bettencourt of France at $43.3 billion).

Becoming the richest by self-made means requires a fundamental change in the way a nation distributes its resources and wealth. From retail to infrastructure to tech, getting wealthy by starting or buying a business requires that business to grow at breakneck speed to surpass the value of long-established companies, creating changing not only the industry but the national economy. If you’re born into it, your top spot is given to you by maintaining the status quo, but those self-made people who make their way to the top do so by taking their wealth; either by starting a new business, reforming a troubled business, or investing in a variety of different businesses during a time of economic volatility. For example:

  • In the US, Bill Gates in the US whose $79.4 billion was earned by disrupting the tech sector facilitated by low entry costs and an environment of intense competition.

  • Likewise, in Spain, Amancio Ortega briefly surpassed Bill Gates as the richest person in the world, succeeding in doing so by dominating the global clothing industry, which has netted him $79 billion since he first began as a shop hand.

  • In China, Wang Jianlin’s $32.1 billion has come out on top in the nation with the most billionaires in the world by investing in troubled companies, as well as solid but undervalued companies during times of socioeconomic uncertainty.

  • In Brazil, Jorge Lemann, whose $24.4 billion was largely the result of his purchase of large stakes in companies during times of economic turmoil, as is typical, since wealth based purely on investing requires a large degree of volatility to create gains.

  • In Russia, Mikhail Fridman’s $14.6 billion was also made through a variety of investment and start-ups, starting with a small window cleaning service which then expanded into a much more diversified portfolio.

  • In the UK, the $15.5 billion is attributed to the Hinduja Family, specifically four brothers who began working in textile exporting before getting their first big injection of income after buying the rights to a movie which turned into a surprisingly large success.

  • In France resides the world’s richest person by inheritance, Liliane Bettencourt, whose $43.3 billion was given to her by her parents, who both owned the company L’oreal, and had political involvement.

  • Canada’s David Thomson, worth $26.2 billion, was handed the fortune which was first created by his grandfather, the media mogul who owned Thomson Reuters.

One might be forgiven for thinking that around the world, the richest of the rich were all born into their money.  After all, a self-made person would have to accumulate wealth so quickly that within one generation they surpass a family that’s been accumulating it for several. Looking at the map, though, it becomes clear that self-made & inherited wealth are pretty even in today’s world.

Are Today’s Billionaires Born or Self-Made? This Map Shows You the Answer

Are Today’s Billionaires Born or Self-Made? This Map Shows You the Answer via Howmuch.net