Despite the recent slide in stock markets around the globe, the two largest economies on the planet have more billionaires now than a year ago. While the number of people who landed on Forbes’ new list of the World’s Billionaires dropped from 2,153 to 2,095 in 2020, nearly half who made the ranks are citizens of either the United States or China.
The U.S. leads the pack with 614 billionaires—a record high and seven more than in 2019—though the combined wealth of these billionaires fell from $3.1 trillion last year to a recent $2.9 trillion. (Forbes calculated net worths based on March 18 stock prices and exchange rates.) Amazon’s Jeff Bezos remains the world’s richest person, but his fortune is down from a year ago as a result of his divorce settlement with MacKenzie Bezos.
China comes in second with 389 billionaires, also a record for the Asian giant. Members of its three comma club are worth a combined $1.2 trillion, up 22% from $981 billion last year. In fact, China was the only nation among the 10 countries with the largest number of billionaires that saw a rise in aggregate billionaire wealth. The 389 billionaires exclude list members from former European colonies Hong Kong (66 billionaires) and Macao (one), which Forbes lists separately. In total, greater China boasts a total of 456 billionaires.
Outside of the U.S. and China, the story’s less about growth and more about declines. Seven of the 10 countries with the most list members have fewer billionaires versus a year ago, including Germany, India, Brazil and France.
On a regional basis, the Asia-Pacific region has 778 billionaires—up from 768 last year—accounting for $2.5 trillion of wealth. Nearly half of the billionaires in this region draw their wealth from technology, manufacturing or real estate.
Canada plus Latin America together have 120 billionaires worth a collective $427 billion, down from 149 billionaires who were worth $550 billion a year ago. Forbes found 72 billionaires in the Middle East and Africa together worth $177 billion, down from 86 billionaires who had $222 billion in 2019.
UNITED STATES | 614 BILLIONAIRES
TOTAL NET WORTH: $2.9 TRILLION (DOWN $164 BILLION SINCE 2019)
RICHEST PERSON: JEFF BEZOS, $113 BILLION
CHINA | 389 BILLIONAIRES
TOTAL NET WORTH: $1.2 TRILLION (UP $220 BILLION)
RICHEST PERSON: JACK MA, $48 BILLION
GERMANY | 107 BILLIONAIRES
TOTAL NET WORTH: $447 BILLION (DOWN $54 BILLION)
RICHEST PEOPLE: BEATE HEISTER & ALBRECHT JR., $33 BILLION
INDIA | 102 BILLIONAIRES
TOTAL NET WORTH: $313 BILLION (DOWN $93 BILLION)
RICHEST PERSON: MUKESH AMBANI, $36.8 BILLION
RUSSIA | 99 BILLIONAIRES
TOTAL NET WORTH: $385 BILLION (DOWN $36 BILLION)
RICHEST PERSON: VLADIMIR POTANIN, $19.7 BILLION
HONG KONG | 66 BILLIONAIRES *
TOTAL NET WORTH: $300 BILLION (DOWN $20 BILLION)
RICHEST PERSON: SHAU KEE LEE, $28.1 BILLION
BRAZIL | 45 BILLIONAIRES
TOTAL NET WORTH: $127 BILLION (DOWN $53 BILLION)
RICHEST PERSON: JOSEPH SAFRA, $19.9 BILLION
UNITED KINGDOM | 45 BILLIONAIRES
TOTAL NET WORTH: $153 BILLION (DOWN $29 BILLION)
RICHEST PERSON: LEN BLAVATNIK, $17 BILLION
CANADA | 44 BILLIONAIRES
TOTAL NET WORTH: $143 BILLION (DOWN $10 BILLION)
RICHEST PERSON: DAVID THOMSON & FAMILY, $31.6 BILLION
FRANCE | 39 BILLIONAIRES
TOTAL NET WORTH: $304 BILLION (DOWN $26 BILLION)
RICHEST PERSON: BERNARD ARNAULT & FAMILY, $76 BILLION