There’s no more exclusive club than the billionaire’s list. But in 2023, it’s perhaps slightly less exclusive than the previous year. There are now 2688 billionaires on the planet.
For many, billionaires epitomise all that worldly wealth and power can bring, and their businesses and philanthropic efforts can significantly impact society. They can influence politics, economic policies, and even cultural trends.
This article will explore the individuals who make up the world’s richest billionaires in 2023 and closely examine their wealth sources and their impact on the global economy.
- Who are the top 10 richest people in the world?
- (1) Bernard Arnault is the richest person in the world?
- (2) Elon Musk
- (3) Jeff Bezos
- (4) Larry Ellison
- (5) Warren Buffett
- (6) Bill Gates
- (7) Carlos Slim Helu
- (8) Steve Ballmer
- (9) Mukesh Ambani
- (10) Francoise Bettencourt Meyers
- Who is the Wealthiest Person in the World in 2023?
- How many Billionaires are there in the World?
- How many Trillionaires are there in the World?
- An Analysis of Billionaire Demographics
- The Glass Ceiling at the Top: How Many Female Billionaires are there?
- What’s the average age of a billionaire?
- What countries have the most billionaires?
- Are Billionaires usually Self-Made?
- What industry produces the most billionaires
- The High Price of Wealth: Exploring the Controversies Surrounding Billionaires
Who are the top 10 richest people in the world?
In this list, we will take a closer look at the top 10 wealthiest people on the planet:
(1) Bernard Arnault is the richest person in the world?
With a net worth of over $212.7 billion, Bernard Arnault is currently the wealthiest person in the world. Arnault is a French business magnate and art collector and the chairman and CEO of Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), the world’s largest luxury goods company. Arnault is also known for his philanthropy, particularly in art and culture.
- Age: 73
- Residence: Paris, France
- CEO and Chair: LVMH (LVMUY), a luxury goods company that owns brands such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, and Moët & Chandon.
- Net Worth: $150 billion (as of September 2021), making him the third richest person in the world.
- Christian Dior Ownership Stake: 97.5%, valued at $148 billion, which is the majority of his net worth.
- Other Assets: Arnault also has a stake in Moelis & Company, a global investment bank valued at $27.9 billion. He also reportedly holds around $10.7 billion in cash.
- Philanthropy: Arnault has pledged to donate €200 million ($226 million) to help rebuild Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, which was badly damaged in a fire in 2019. He has also made donations to other cultural institutions in France.
- Art Collection: Arnault is an avid art collector, and his collection is said to be worth several billion dollars. He has also been involved in the establishment of several cultural institutions in France, such as the Fondation Louis Vuitton museum in Paris.
(2) Elon Musk
Elon Musk is a South African-born entrepreneur and the founder, CEO, and lead designer of SpaceX, Tesla, and Neuralink. He is also known to have been the majority shareholder and CEO of Twitter since October 2022.
- Age: 50
- Residence: Austin, Texas, USA
- CEO: SpaceX, Tesla, Neuralink, The Boring Company
- Net Worth: $198 billion (as of September 2021), making him the richest person in the world.
- SpaceX: Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 to reduce space transportation costs and enable the colonization of Mars. The company has successfully launched and landed reusable rockets and is currently working on developing its Starship spacecraft for human missions to Mars.
- Tesla: Musk is the CEO of Tesla, an electric car company that has become a leader in the automotive industry. Under Musk’s leadership, Tesla has introduced innovative new electric cars, including the Model S, Model X, Model 3, and Model Y, and is working on developing self-driving technology.
- Neuralink: Musk founded Neuralink in 2016 with the goal of developing brain-machine interfaces that can help humans keep pace with advanced artificial intelligence.
- The Boring Company: Musk founded The Boring Company in 2016 with the goal of building a network of underground tunnels to alleviate traffic congestion in cities.
- Philanthropy: Musk has made several large philanthropic donations, including a $100 million donation to fund a carbon capture competition and a $5 million donation to the Khan Academy, a non-profit organization that provides free online education.
- Controversies: Musk has been involved in several controversies throughout his career, including legal disputes with the Securities and Exchange Commission and public disagreements with other business leaders and public figures.
(3) Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos is an American entrepreneur and investor known as the founder and former CEO of Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer. He also owns The Washington Post and Blue Origin, a space exploration company.
- Age: 58
- Residence: New York, USA
- Founder and former CEO: Amazon
- Net Worth: $191 billion (as of September 2021), making him the second richest person in the world.
- Amazon: Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 as an online bookstore, but it quickly expanded to sell a wide range of products and services. Amazon has become one of the world’s largest retailers, with operations in e-commerce, cloud computing, streaming media, and more.
- Blue Origin: Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000 to develop reusable rockets and enable human spaceflight. The company has successfully launched and landed reusable rockets and is working on developing its New Glenn spacecraft for orbital missions.
- The Washington Post: In 2013, Bezos purchased The Washington Post, a major American newspaper. He has invested in the newspaper’s digital operations and has been involved in editorial decisions.
- Philanthropy: Bezos has pledged to donate $10 billion to fight climate change through his Bezos Earth Fund. He has also made several other large philanthropic donations, including a $2 billion donation to fund early childhood education initiatives and a $100 million donation to Feeding America to support food banks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Controversies: Bezos has been involved in several controversies throughout his career, including public disputes with President Donald Trump and criticism of Amazon’s labor practices. He also faced public scrutiny over his personal life after his divorce from his wife MacKenzie Scott in 2019.
(4) Larry Ellison
Larry Ellison is an American businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is the co-founder and former CEO of Oracle Corporation, a technology company known for its enterprise software products. He is also known for his philanthropic work, including his over $200 million donation to establish the Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine at the University of Southern California.
- Age: 77
- Residence: California, USA
- Co-founder and former CEO: Oracle Corporation
- Net Worth: $93 billion (as of September 2021), making him the 7th richest person in the world.
- Oracle Corporation: Ellison co-founded Oracle Corporation in 1977 and served as its CEO for many years. Oracle is a major technology company that develops and sells software and hardware products, with a focus on enterprise database management systems.
- Philanthropy: Ellison has pledged to give away 95% of his wealth to charity during his lifetime. He has donated to a wide range of causes, including medical research, education, and wildlife conservation.
- Real Estate: Ellison is known for his extravagant real estate holdings, which include multiple properties in California and a Hawaiian island that he purchased for $300 million in 2012.
- Yacht Racing: Ellison is an avid yacht racer and has won multiple America’s Cup competitions with his team, Oracle Team USA.
- Controversies: Ellison has been involved in several controversies throughout his career, including legal disputes with competitors and criticism of his compensation package as CEO of Oracle. He also faced criticism for hosting a fundraiser for then-presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2019.
(5) Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett is an American investor, business magnate, and philanthropist. He is the CEO and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, a holding company known for investing in various industries, including insurance, utilities, and transportation. Buffett is widely regarded as one of the most successful investors of all time. He is also known for his philanthropy, particularly in education and public health, and has pledged to give away the majority of his wealth to charitable causes.
- Age: 91
- Residence: Omaha, Nebraska, USA
- Chairman and CEO: Berkshire Hathaway
- Net Worth: $96 billion (as of September 2021), making him the 6th richest person in the world.
- Berkshire Hathaway: Buffett has been the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway since 1965. The company is a major conglomerate that owns a diverse portfolio of businesses, including GEICO insurance, Duracell batteries, and Dairy Queen restaurants.
- Investment Philosophy: Buffett is known for his value investing approach, which involves investing in undervalued companies with long-term growth potential. He is also known for his focus on investing in companies with strong management teams and competitive advantages.
- Philanthropy: Buffett has pledged to give away more than 99% of his wealth to charity during his lifetime. He has donated billions of dollars to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as other charitable organizations.
- Personal Life: Buffett is known for his frugal lifestyle, despite his immense wealth. He still lives in the same house he purchased in 1958 for $31,500, and is known for his love of fast food and playing bridge.
- Controversies: While Buffett is generally well-regarded for his business acumen and philanthropy, he has faced criticism for his investments in companies such as Coca-Cola and Wells Fargo, which some argue are harmful to public health and the environment. He has also faced criticism for not doing more to promote diversity and inclusion in his companies.
(6) Bill Gates
Bill Gates is an American entrepreneur, software developer, and philanthropist. He is the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation, one of the world’s largest and most successful technology companies. Gates is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in the history of computing, having played a pivotal role in the development of personal computing and software. Alongside his wife, Melinda, he started the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is dedicated to improving global healthcare, reducing extreme poverty, and expanding educational opportunities.
- Age: 66
- Residence: Washington, USA
- Co-founder and former CEO: Microsoft Corporation
- Net Worth: $124 billion (as of September 2021), making him the 4th richest person in the world.
- Microsoft Corporation: Gates co-founded Microsoft Corporation in 1975 and served as its CEO for many years. Microsoft is a major technology company that develops and sells software products, including the Windows operating system and the Office productivity suite.
- Philanthropy: Gates is known for his philanthropic work through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which he co-founded with his wife in 2000. The foundation focuses on global health and development, with a particular emphasis on combating diseases such as malaria, polio, and HIV/AIDS.
- Climate Change: Gates has become increasingly involved in efforts to address climate change in recent years. He has written a book on the topic, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” and has invested in several companies working on clean energy technologies.
- Personal Life: Gates is married to Melinda Gates, and the couple has three children. They announced their divorce in May 2021.
- Controversies: While Gates is generally well-regarded for his philanthropy and business success, he has faced criticism over Microsoft’s business practices in the past, including antitrust lawsuits. He has also faced criticism for his role in promoting high-stakes testing in education reform and for his connections to Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender who died in 2019.
(7) Carlos Slim Helu
Carlos Slim Helu is a Mexican business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He is the chairman and CEO of Grupo Carso, a conglomerate of companies involved in a diverse range of industries, including telecommunications, banking, and infrastructure. He is considered one of the most influential people in Mexico and a prominent figure in the global business community. Slim is also known for his philanthropic work, including his founding of the Carlos Slim Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting initiatives in education, health, and social development.
- Age: 81
- Residence: Mexico City, Mexico
- Chairman and CEO: Grupo Carso
- Net Worth: $65 billion (as of September 2021), making him the 12th richest person in the world.
- Grupo Carso: Slim founded Grupo Carso in 1980, which is a conglomerate that operates in a wide range of industries, including telecommunications, retail, and construction.
- América Móvil: Slim’s telecommunications company, América Móvil, is one of the largest mobile phone carriers in Latin America.
- Philanthropy: Slim is a prolific philanthropist and has donated billions of dollars to various causes through his Carlos Slim Foundation. His philanthropic work focuses on improving healthcare, education, and cultural institutions in Mexico and other Latin American countries.
- Art Collection: Slim is also known for his extensive art collection, which includes works by famous artists such as Rodin, Dali, and Renoir.
- Personal Life: Slim is married and has six children.
- Controversies: Slim has faced criticism for his business practices in the past, including allegations of monopolistic practices in the telecommunications industry. He has also been criticized for his perceived lack of philanthropy in relation to his immense wealth.
(8) Steve Ballmer
Steve Ballmer is the former CEO of Microsoft Corporation, where he worked for over 30 years and played a key role in the company’s development and growth. After leaving Microsoft, Ballmer purchased the Los Angeles Clippers, a professional basketball team in the NBA.Here are some key facts about him:
- Age: 66
- Residence: Washington, USA
- Owner: Los Angeles Clippers (NBA team)
- Net Worth: $95 billion (as of September 2021), making him the 8th richest person in the world.
- Microsoft Corporation: Ballmer worked at Microsoft Corporation for over 30 years, serving as its CEO from 2000 to 2014. During his tenure, he oversaw the development and launch of products such as Windows XP, Windows Vista, and the Xbox gaming console.
- Los Angeles Clippers: In 2014, Ballmer purchased the Los Angeles Clippers, a professional basketball team in the NBA, for $2 billion.
- Philanthropy: Ballmer and his wife Connie have donated hundreds of millions of dollars to various causes, including education and healthcare initiatives. In 2018, they launched the Ballmer Group, a philanthropic organization focused on improving economic mobility for children and families in the United States.
- Civic Engagement: Ballmer is also known for his civic engagement, particularly in the areas of government data and civic education. He founded the non-profit organization USAFacts, which aims to provide objective data and analysis on government spending and other public issues.
- Personal Life: Ballmer is married and has three children.
- Controversies: While Ballmer is generally well-regarded for his business success and philanthropy, he has faced criticism for his management style at Microsoft and for his ownership of the Clippers, which has been marked by controversy over racial comments made by the team’s previous owner.
(9) Mukesh Ambani
Mukesh Ambani is an Indian business magnate and the chairman and largest shareholder of Reliance Industries, a conglomerate interested in petrochemicals, refining, oil and gas exploration, and retail. Ambani is widely regarded as one of the most powerful and influential figures in Indian business, and his company is one of the largest in the country.
- Age: 64
- Residence: Mumbai, India
- Chairman and largest shareholder: Reliance Industries Limited
- Net Worth: $137 billion (as of September 2021), making him the 5th richest person in the world.
- Reliance Industries Limited: Ambani has been the chairman of Reliance Industries Limited since 2002. The company is a major player in the petrochemicals, refining, oil and gas exploration, and telecommunications industries in India.
- Jio: Ambani’s telecom company, Jio, has disrupted the Indian telecom market by offering low-cost mobile data and voice services. Jio has become one of the largest mobile phone carriers in India, with over 400 million subscribers.
- Philanthropy: Ambani has made significant philanthropic contributions to various causes in India, including education, healthcare, and disaster relief efforts.
- Personal Life: Ambani is married and has three children.
- Ambani Residence: Ambani’s residence, Antilia, is one of the most expensive homes in the world, with 27 floors and a reported value of over $1 billion.
- Controversies: Ambani has faced criticism over his perceived close ties to the Indian government and allegations of crony capitalism. He has also faced criticism over Reliance Industries’ environmental record and labor practices.
(10) Francoise Bettencourt Meyers
Francoise Bettencourt Meyers is a French author, heiress, and businesswoman. She is the chairwoman and majority owner of L’Oréal, one of the world’s largest cosmetics and beauty companies. Bettencourt Meyers is currently the wealthiest woman in the World. She is known for her philanthropic work and has donated millions of dollars to support causes such as medical research, education, and the arts.
- Age: 68
- Residence: Paris, France
- Chairwoman: Bettencourt Meyers family holding company
- Net Worth: $80 billion (as of September 2021), making her the 10th richest person in the world.
- L’Oreal: Bettencourt Meyers is the granddaughter of L’Oreal founder Eugene Schueller and the daughter of Liliane Bettencourt, who was the richest woman in the world until her death in 2017. Bettencourt Meyers and her family own a controlling stake in L’Oreal, which is one of the largest cosmetics companies in the world.
- Philanthropy: Bettencourt Meyers is a noted philanthropist and has donated millions of dollars to various causes, including education, medical research, and the arts. She is also involved in several charitable foundations, including the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation and the Eugène Schueller Foundation.
- Author: Bettencourt Meyers is the author of several books on Jewish-Christian relations and the Bible. She is also a member of the French Academy, the prestigious institution that oversees the French language and literature.
- Personal Life: Bettencourt Meyers is married and has two children.
- Controversies: Bettencourt Meyers has largely stayed out of the public eye, and there have been no major controversies associated with her. However, L’Oreal has faced criticism in the past over its advertising practices and use of animal testing in product development.
Who is the Wealthiest Person in the World in 2023?
As of March 2023, Bernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO of luxury group LVMH, is the wealthiest person on the planet with $212.5 B worth of assets.
A large amount of billionaires’ wealth is based on the value of the shares they own in several companies. This is why the ranking order varies daily, according to fluctuations in stock market valuations.
How many Billionaires are there in the World?
In 1918, John D. Rockefeller was the only person to be considered a billionaire.
During the Dot-com burst of 2001, there were approximately 500 of them. The number of billionaires steadily grew, with the only notable halt being during 2008’s financial crisis.
In 2023, the estimated number of billionaires in the World is over 2700.
How many Trillionaires are there in the World?
No one has yet claimed the title of trillionaire (£1000 B). Still, given the exponential evolution of the fortune of billionaires, it is possible to imagine several people reaching this status in the relatively near future.
An Analysis of Billionaire Demographics
Let’s delve into the demographics of billionaires, examining the characteristics and backgrounds of these individuals who have amassed vast amounts of wealth.
Through a few simple questions about age, gender, nationality, and industry, we seek to gain a deeper understanding of the global billionaire population.
The Glass Ceiling at the Top: How Many Female Billionaires are there?
It is a well-known fact that most billionaires worldwide are men.
According to Forbes’ 2022 Billionaires List, 88% of billionaires were men.
This significant gender gap in wealth distribution has been attributed to various factors, including historical discrimination, societal expectations and biases, and differences in access to education and career opportunities.
Some argue that the gender gap in billionaire status is due to the underrepresentation of women in high-paying industries such as finance, technology, and manufacturing.
There are also concerns that women face discrimination and bias regarding financing and investment opportunities, which can limit their ability to accumulate wealth.
Some efforts are being made to address this gender gap, with initiatives like female-focused venture capital funds and mentorship programs for women entrepreneurs.
What’s the average age of a billionaire?
While it is true that many billionaires are advanced in age ( 64 years old on average), with decades of business experience and accumulated wealth behind them, there are also a small but notable number of very young billionaires who have achieved tremendous success at a relatively young age.
One common path to early billionaire status is through entrepreneurship and the creation of successful startups. For example, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, became a billionaire at 23, thanks to the success of the social media platform he created while still a college student.
Similarly, Evan Spiegel, the co-founder of Snapchat, became a billionaire at 25 after the messaging app he helped create became wildly popular.
But as we’ll see, some people become billionaires even younger.
The youngest billionaire man is Kevin David Lehman, aged only 20.
The current youngest billionaire woman, and youngest in History, is media personality and businesswoman Kylie Jenner, aged 25, who became a billionaire at only 21.
What countries have the most billionaires?
Billionaires are distributed around the world in a highly unequal manner.
The United States has the highest number of billionaires, with 735 individuals identified as having a net worth of $1 billion or more. China is closely behind with 698 billionaires, while Germany, India, and Russia are among the top five.
Are Billionaires usually Self-Made?
It is a common misconception that all billionaires are self-made, meaning they achieve their immense wealth solely through their efforts and hard work. While this may be true for some billionaires, it is not valid for all of them.
Many billionaires inherit wealth from their families, often through intergenerational transfers of large amounts of money or assets. In some cases, they may also inherit successful family businesses, giving them a head start in creating wealth.
Moreover, some billionaires have accumulated their wealth through various forms of privilege and access to resources that are not available to everyone. This may include opportunities from being born into wealthy or influential families, having access to high-quality education and training, or benefiting from societal structures favouring particular groups.
It is estimated only 71% of billionaires are self-made.
What industry produces the most billionaires
The industry’s podium for billionaires is tight: the most represented industry is Finance & Investments (15% of the billionaires). The second place is a close race between Tech and Manufacturing, oscillating around 13% of the total number of billionaires.
Fashion & Retail (9.3%), Healthcare (8.1%) and Food&Beverages (7.6%) also make up a decent share of the World’s billionaires.
The High Price of Wealth: Exploring the Controversies Surrounding Billionaires
The concentration of wealth in the hands of a small number of individuals has long been a source of controversy and criticism. In recent years, the rise of billionaire wealth has brought renewed attention to the issue, with many questioning the social and economic implications of such vast wealth accumulation.
One of the most prominent criticisms of billionaire wealth is that it exacerbates income and wealth inequality. With so much wealth concentrated in the hands of a few individuals, there is less money available to support the needs of the broader population, including public services, education, and healthcare. This can lead to social unrest and inequality, as those without access to wealth are left behind.
In addition to concerns about inequality, critics of billionaire wealth also point to the potential negative impact on democracy. With so much money in the hands of a few individuals, there is a risk that billionaires can use their wealth to influence political outcomes and shape policy in their favour.
This can undermine the democratic process and lead to policies that benefit the wealthy at the expense of the broader population.
When wealth and power is concentrated in the hands of a few?
The concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few billionaires has led to several political and social controversies in recent years. One of the most notable examples is the rise of populist movements that seek to challenge the power of the elite, including billionaires.
In the United States, the 2016 presidential election was marked by a heated debate over the role of billionaire donors in the political process. Many argued that the influence of billionaires like the Koch brothers and George Soros had a corrupting effect on democracy.
In contrast, others defended the right of wealthy individuals to participate in the political process.
Beyond politics, billionaires have also faced scrutiny in the media and the public eye for their behaviour and lifestyle choices. Some have been criticised for engaging in lavish spending or conspicuous consumption, while others have faced public backlash for their perceived lack of philanthropy or social responsibility.
How to Fix Economic Inequality?
Addressing the issue of billionaire wealth inequality is a complex and challenging task requiring a range of policy solutions and societal changes.
For some, the main solution is to increase taxes on the wealthy, particularly capital gains and other income currently taxed at lower rates than traditional income. This would provide a more excellent pool of resources to support public services and reduce inequality.
For others, it is about increasing transparency and accountability around the activities of billionaires, particularly in political spending and philanthropy. Requiring greater disclosure and oversight could limit the ability of billionaires to use their wealth to shape policy outcomes or avoid paying their fair share.
More generally, there is a clear need for greater public awareness and understanding of wealth inequality and how it contributes to broader social and economic problems.