Forbes’ Yearly Billionaires List Hits Record High

27 March, 2017

Forbes Magazine released its yearly list of the richest people in the world. There are more billionaires than ever before - a record 2,043 billionaires on Earth.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, once again, is number one, his fourth straight year at the top. The magazine reports his wealth to be a cool $86 billion. The estimate is up $11 billion from last year.

Businessman Warren Buffett, re-gained his number two position on the list this year with $75.6 billion.

Another American Jeff Bezos is at third place with the biggest jump in wealth. The creator of the online market Amazon is $27.5 billion richer this year. The entrepreneur has $72.8 billion, according to Forbes.

Spain's Amancio Ortega, the founder of the women's clothing retailer Zara, was in second place last year. His fortune rose by $4.3 billion in a year. Ortega is listed in fourth place with $71.3 billion.

The rest of the top ten is filled with familiar names. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, at the age of 32, is in fifth place. The others are Carlos Slim Helu from Mexico, Larry Ellison of the technology company Oracle, American brother businessmen Charles and David Koch, and New York City's former mayor Michael Bloomberg.

All 10 have two things in common – they are white and they are men.

There are 227 women on the list this year. They own a combined $853 billion.

Liliane Bettencourt
Liliane Bettencourt

The first woman on the list is Frenchwoman Liliane Bettencourt, who owns a third of L'Oréal cosmetics. Bettencourt is worth about $40.7 billion.

American Alice Walton of Wal-Mart is the only other woman in the top twenty. She lost about $25 million over the last year. Now, she has to get by with just $34.4 billion.

Out of 2,043 billionaires, 10 are black.

Aliko Dangote of Nigeria is the richest of the group. He is number 107 on Forbes list. His estimated net worth is 12.2 billion dollars.The richest man in Africa, he owns a multinational cement business and has interests in agricultural products.

The Asia-Pacific area has more billionaires than any other region, with 720 names on the list. But the United States has more billionaires than any other country, says Forbes.

Among the Americans on the list is the U.S. president.

Donald Trump, the magazine says, dropped more than 100 spots to number 544 this year. But, he also made history. He is the first American president to be named to the list.

Forbes says Trump's net worth is down to $3.5 billion, the result of a downturn in New York's real estate business. But, during Trump's campaign for the presidency, his advisors said he was worth $10 billion.

I'm Caty Weaver.

Caty Weaver wrote this story with reporting from Reuters. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

cool - adj. used for emphasis in referring to a large amount of money

cosmetics - n. substances (such as a cream, lotion, or powder) that you put on your face or body to improve your appearance; makeup

entrepreneur - n. a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money

retailer - n. a person or business that sells things directly to customers for their own use

cement - n. a soft gray powder that is mixed with water and other substances to make concrete

real estate - n. the business of selling land and buildings