In One Map: How Many Billionaires Are in The World

The coronavirus has affected people from all walks of life--including those worth more than $1 billion. As global markets are in flux, the net worth of the world’s richest people has fluctuated to the point where many of them have lost the title of “billionaire.” Our new visualization takes the most recent data from Forbes to illustrate how many billionaires are in the world, as well as the size of their cumulative net worth.
how many billionaires are in the world

  • According to Forbes, as of March 18, 2020 there were 2,095 billionaires worldwide.
  • The total net worth of the world’s billionaires is $8 trillion, $700 billion less than the previous year. 
  • There are 58 fewer billionaires than a year ago and 226 fewer than at the beginning of March. This is in large part because of the economic meltdown in the wake of the coronavirus.
  • More specifically, 51% of the billionaires on the list are “poorer” than they were in 2019. 

The visualization and trends are based on the Forbes 2020 World’s Billionaires List. The map above shows how many billionaires are in the world, as labeled by the large white number. Each country in the map is composed of little dots, with each dot representing one billionaire. The size of each country is also proportional to the total wealth of billionaires in that country. For example, both Malaysia and Mexico have 12 billionaires, but Mexico appears bigger on the map because the net worth of Mexican billionaires ($103 billion) is more than twice as much as Malaysian billionaires ($44.7 billion)  Countries are also color-coded by region, as expressed in the map legend.

Top 10 Countries with the Most Billionaires

1. United States: 614
2. China: 388
3. Germany: 107
4. India: 102
5. Russia: 99
6. Hong Kong: 67
7. Brazil: 45
8. United Kingdom: 45
9. Canada: 44
10. France: 39

Not surprisingly, the U.S. and China, the two largest economies, are home to about half of the world’s billionaires. Even though billionaires’ net worth has taken a hit recently, millionaires and billionaires in the U.S. are set to reap more than 80% of the benefits from a change to the tax law Republicans put in the coronavirus economic relief package. This represents a continuation of recent tax laws that have favored the ultra-wealthy. For example, the 2017 Tax and Job Cuts Act reduced corporate tax rates and the top income tax bracket. As a result, in 2018 the super-rich paid a lower tax rate than the bottom 50% of earners. The details of a possible fourth phase of a stimulus package remain up for debate, as well as which industry sectors and income groups would stand to benefit the most. 

Given the rapid economic changes from the coronavirus, how do you think the number of billionaires by country will look different three months from now, six months from now, and one year from now? Let us know in the comments.

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