The Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2014 was published last week, and the report provides some remarkable insights into the lives of the world’s 2,325 billionaires.
According to the foreword of the report, Wealth-X “compiled and analysed data on the world’s billionaire population, identifying key themes and macro trends, and building a profile of a “typical billionaire”, which reveals their average age, their mean net worth and wealth source, their social graph, philanthropic activities and their interests, passions and hobbies”
Details from 2014 global billionaires census
Data from the The Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2014 highlights that the world’s population of mega-rich continued to grow, reaching a record high of 2,325 billionaires this year, a greater than 7% increase compared to 2013. Moreover, the combined wealth of the billionaires club increased to US $7.3 trillion, a 12% increase from last year.
Of note, 63% of global billionaires’ primary businesses are privately held, and more than 80% of them made the majority of their wealth themselves, highlighting that entrepreneurism and private wealth are keys to their success
Europe is still the region with the highest number of billionaires at 775, while the U.S. remains the country with the highest number at 571. Billionaires in the United States now represent almost 25% of total global number. The U.S. also saw the greatest absolute growth in terms of the number of new billionaires over the last 12 months in that 57 new American billionaires were noted.
The billionaire population in Asia continued to grow in both numbers and economic significance. Of note, more than 30% of the net increase in total billionaire wealth came from Asia.
Ex-Asia, the billionaire populations in emerging markets were a mixed bag. For example, although the number of Latin American billionaires increased more rapidly than that of any other region this year, the average net worth of the region’s billionaires dropped by a quarter. In Africa, the total wealth of billionaires increased, but the overall number of billionaires in the region decreased. A similar dynamic was seen in the Middle East, where there was a 2% drop in the number of billionaires, but a 17% overall increase in their combined wealth.
Billionaires are becoming transnational
The Wealth-X report shows that 34% of the global billionaire population is concentrated in the twenty cities with the largest billionaire populations. The authors of the report also note that millionaires move from city to city rather than country to country; meaning in effect, that billionaires are becoming transnational.
The congregation of billionaires in key cities is very clear in emerging markets. In both the Middle East and Africa, almost 90% of the billionaires live in the largest regional hub cities.
A few cities have become “hotspots” for billionaires, some with a high density of foreign billionaires. For example, for every one of the scores of billionaires based in London, there is an equal number that has a second residence in the city.