Nearly a Quarter of the World’s Billionaires Are Americans

Curious about billionaires? Here are six things you never knew about the ultra rich.

Nearly a Quarter of the World’s Billionaires Are Americans Photo (cc) by thetaxhaven

The billionaires club is growing. In fact, its membership has reached an all-time high.

The world this year has 155 new billionaires, a 7 percent increase since 2013, driving up the total number of billionaires to 2,325. Even though it’s a record high, there’s just one billionaire for every 3 million people on earth.

Just who are these billionaires? According to the 2014 “Billionaire Census” from Wealth-X and UBS, the typical billionaire has a net worth of about $3.1 billion, is 63 years old and is married. Altogether, billionaires’ total wealth has increased by 12 percent in the last year to a staggering $7.3 trillion, which is equal to 4 percent of global wealth.

With 571, the U.S. has more billionaires than any other country. New York City is home to 103 of those billionaires, more than any other city in the world. According to the billionaire census report:

Billionaires in the United States now account for nearly 25 percent of the total global billionaire population. The United States also experienced the largest absolute growth in terms of the number of new billionaires: 57 new American billionaires were recorded in this year’s census.

Here is a list of six things from the report you never knew about billionaires:

  • Men vs. women. Of 2,325 billionaires in the world, just 286 are women.
  • Self-made. It’s not all about inheritance. Eighty-one percent of billionaires made the majority of their fortune themselves.
  • Education. You don’t necessarily need a college degree to be a billionaire. The study showed that 65 percent of billionaires completed a college education, compared with 35 percent with no degree.
  • Wealth ceiling. Just four billionaires are worth more than $50 billion.
  • Cold hard cash. On average, billionaires hold about $600 million of their net worth in cash.
  • Billionaire buddies. Billionaires chum around with other billionaires. The report said the typical billionaire has “business or personal relationships with another nine UHNW [ultra high net worth] individuals, three of [whom] are billionaires.”

Wealth-X predicts the global billionaire population will reach 3,800 by 2020.

Did any of the billionaire statistics take you by surprise? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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