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The world’s billionaires, a statistical overview (charts)

MoneyForbes came out with their yearly “rich list” this week, also known as The World’s Billionaires 2011. As usual, it contains a wealth (pardon the pun) of data and we’ve pulled all the stats together for you and added some of our own.

Rather than just giving you a top list of the world’s billionaires (which you might as well read about over at, we went a step farther and created a statistical overview, with plenty of charts, factoids and lists for you to enjoy.

Quick facts about the world’s billionaires

  • Total number of billionaires in the world: 1,210
  • Combined fortune: $4.5 trillion (USD)
  • Combined fortune of US billionaires: $1,5 trillion
  • Number of billionaires in tech and telecom: 109 (9% of billionaires)
  • Countries with the most billionaires: USA (413), China (115), Russia (101), India (55) and Germany (52).
  • Countries with at least 10 billionaires: 22
  • Billionaires with at least $10 billion: 88
  • The average billionaire age: 61.8
  • Billionaires under the age of 30: 6 (half of which have made their fortune off Facebook)
  • Share of billionaires below 40: 3%


How many people have managed to reach that magical billion-dollar limit in the various regions of the world?

Billionaires per world region

Now that you know how many billionaires there are in each region, how much money are these billionaires good for?

We’ve summed it up for you here below:

Combined billionaire wealth per region

That North America leads the pack convincingly is, not surprisingly, thanks to the United States, which is the most billionaire-dense country in the world by far.

If you break down which countries have the most billionaires, you end up with the following top 10 list:

Number of billionaires per country


It usually takes time amass the extreme amounts of money these people are good for. In fact, there are very few billionaires below 40 (they make up just 3%, as we mentioned earlier).

This is how age is distributed for the billionaires of the world. Note that these numbers won’t quite add up to 1,210 billionaires since a few were missing age information.

Billionaire age distribution


So, how many billionaire women are there, you might ask? Not that many, it turns out: just 102 out of 1,210. That amounts to a mere 8.4%.

Male vs. female billionaires

A few unusual sources of wealth

We’re usually quite tech focused, but since this post turned out a bit broader, we figured it might be fun to share some of the more unusual, or at least less conventional, sources of wealth we found in Forbes’s list.

  • Eggs (Oleg Bakhmatyuk, Ukraine)
  • Flavorings (Chu Lam Yiu, Hong Kong)
  • Lawsuits (Joe Jamail, United States)
  • Fertilizer (several, apparently big business)
  • Landscape architecture (He Qiaonu, China)
  • Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling, United Kingdom)
  • Sugar, flour and cement (Aliko Dangote, Nigeria)
  • Palm oil (Lee Shin Cheng, Malaysia)
  • Blinds (Ralph Sonnenberg, Netherlands)
  • Elevators and escalators (Antti Herlin, Finland)
  • Drug trafficking (Joaquin Guzman Loera, Mexico)

So many ways to get rich, right? Especially that last one made us do a double take. We’ll stick with running a web service for now, we think…

With that, we leave you for now. Hope you enjoyed the data breakdown!

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