Visual Capitalist – reports
The last decade has seen a number of changes in the world’s richest billionaires list.
For one, there are new faces at the top of the leaderboard that were never there before. One of the most obvious changes though, is that the richest billionaires have accumulated a lot more wealth in recent years. Using annual data from Forbes on the richest billionaires, we’ve visualized the wealth and ranking of the top 10 billionaires over the past decade.
Who are the World’s Richest Billionaires?
While the pecking order has fluctuated, the leaderboard remains very exclusive. Out of a possible 10 spots, there are only 19 individuals that have made the list over the last decade.
Here’s the current list of richest billionaires in 2022, including when they first made the list (if in the last decade):
Rank Name Country Net Worth (2022) First Year on List*
#1 Elon Musk 🇺🇸 U.S. $219 billion 2021
#2 Jeff Bezos 🇺🇸 U.S. $171 billion 2016
#3 Bernard Arnault 🇫🇷 France $158 billion –
#4 Bill Gates 🇺🇸 U.S. $129 billion –
#5 Warren Buffett 🇺🇸 U.S. $118 billion –
#6 Larry Page 🇺🇸 U.S. $111 billion 2019
#7 Sergey Brin 🇺🇸 U.S. $107 billion 2021
#8 Larry Ellison 🇺🇸 U.S. $106 billion –
#9 Steve Ballmer 🇺🇸 U.S. $91 billion 2020
#10 Mukesh Ambani 🇮🇳 India $91 billion –
Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist, Bill Gates, is a perennial presence at the top of these lists. Gates is currently at his lowest rank over this time period, but is still in fourth spot. The billionaire has pledged to give away nearly all of his fortune to the eponymously named Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
From 2018 to 2021, Jeff Bezos sat at the top of the world’s richest people ranking, only to be bumped out by Elon Musk. In 2020, Bezos became the first person to amass a $200 billion fortune after Amazon’s stock price surged during the pandemic. In recent months, Bezos’ net worth has taken a hit as Amazon’s share price has fallen back down to Earth.
Today, Elon Musk is the world’s richest person.
The Rich Get Richer
Over time, the median net worth of the richest billionaires has grown significantly.
Most fortunes are held in the form of business equity, real estate, and publicly-traded stocks—all asset classes that have benefited from the era of cheap money and ultra-low interest rates.
Over the decade period, the median net worth of the top 10 billionaires has nearly tripled from $39 billion to $115 billion.
In fact, the first billionaire to pass the $100 billion threshold was Jeff Bezos in 2018, when he took the top spot on the list from Bill Gates. However, now all but two on the top 10 wealthiest list are centibillionaires.