Every year Forbes releases its billionaires list where all the richest people in the world are ranked and profiled. Market Inspector analysed the list and combined the data with the Aaron Wallis Report, which provides further information on the wealthiest people on earth and how they got rich, as well as their first jobs and educational background.
Unsurprisingly, the United States has the highest amount of billionaires, with 551 in total. To put this figure into perspective, the country has a population of over 320 million people, with a GDP per capita of USD 52,195. China is the second most billionaire-dense country, with a total of 309 billionaires with a population of 1,375. The GDP per capita in China is USD 6,894. Following, Germany, India and Russia have respectively 120, 105 and 96 billionaires among their nationals.
Some interesting facts and figures emerged, which show that there is no one way nor one path to become a billionaire. In fact, 75% of all the billionaires did complete a degree, but while it appears that some educational backgrounds are more common than others, the figures for each type of degree are quite low. Only 22 billionaires share the most common education: engineering. Sixteen studied business, while only eleven graduated in finance and economics. The numbers are even smaller for those with other degrees, which makes it hard to say which one field of studies may make you the most successful.
It is also very interesting to notice how the three youngest billionaires are all from Norway: Alexandra and Katharina Andresen, and Gustav Magnar Witzoe. All of them received shares of their respective family companies and owe their incredibly high net worth to that. In fact, each of the Andresen sisters received 42% of the shares of their father’s investment company in their early 20s; while Gustav Magnar Witzoe owns 47% of his father’s salmon producing company. The fourth youngest billionaire, however, is the Irish co-founder of Stripe, an online payment system, and he is the youngest self-made billionaire on the list.
Unfortunately, the number of women billionaires is significantly lower than men. Only 11% of the 2043 people on Forbes’ list are women, with the current wealthiest woman being Alice Walton, who is the only female heiress to the Walmart fortune. Walton’s succession to the number one spot came after Liliane Bettencourt, one of the main shareholders of L’Oreal, passed away in September 2017. Oprah Winfrey, the TV show host, producer and entrepreneur, is the richest female billionaire who made her fortune on her own.