There are 2,170 billionaires in the world today, according to the inaugural Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2013, with their combined net worth estimated at over $6.5 trillion – a sum greater than the GDP of every country except the U.S. and China.
The Billionaire Census found that the total number of billionaires grew by 0.5 percent this year, while total wealth rose by 5.3 percent.
Asia saw the greatest growth in wealth and the number of billionaires – seeing a 3.7 percent jump in wealthy individuals, while combined fortune grew by 13 percent.
Meanwhile, the number of European billionaires declined by 29 individuals to 766; but their collective wealth, however, rose by 3.7 percent to $2.12 trillion.
The top five countries by number of billionaires were the U.S. (515), China (157), Germany (148), the U.K. (135) and Russia (108). The top 10 billionaire countries accounted for 66 percent of the world’s billionaires, highlighting the concentration of the super rich into a select few “hot spots”.
Meanwhile, the study did a behavioural analysis of the world’s billionaires. According to the report, the average billionaire was male, around the age of 67, worth about $3 billion and went to either Harvard or Penn State. His passions included art, aviation, real estate, traveling, and golf – in that order. He would also own at least four $20 million homes, though he tends to spend most of his time in the city where his business is headquartered (probably New York).
About 87 percent of the world’s billionaires were male. 64 percent of this group were entirely self-made billionaires, while 15 percent earned their fortune completely through inheritance. The remainders’ fortunes were built up through both inheritance and their own hard work.
Below are other key findings from the inaugural report:
- Europe is home to the most billionaires (766 individuals). However, North America has the most billionaire wealth ($2,158 billion).
- Asia contributed the largest number of new billionaires (18) this year, followed by North America (11).
- Latin America is the slowest growing region in terms of billionaire wealth, increasing by just 2.3 percent in the past year.
- As of 2013, the average net worth of the world's billionaires is US$3 billion.
- Globally, there are 111 individuals who each have a net worth that exceeds US$10 billion. Their combined net worth is over US$1.9 trillion, greater than the GDP of Canada.
- Only 17 percent of female billionaires are self-made, while 71 percent gained their fortunes through inheritance.