Billionaires' Wealth Doubles to $6.5 Trillion, Despite Recession

Tuesday, 12 Nov 2013 10:53 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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While most of the world struggled through a global financial crisis since 2009, the wealth of billionaires more than doubled, according to the Wealth-X and UBS Global Billionaire Census.

The census report, issued last week, stated that 810 more people became billionaires since the 2009 financial crisis. Of the world's 2,170 billionaires, Asia showed the largest growth with 13 percent. 

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The report stated that billionaires' combined net worth more than doubled from $3.1 trillion in 2009 to $6.5 trillion in 2013. The total was enough to pay the United States budget deficit until 2024 and is greater than the gross domestic product of every country except the United States and China.

Other takeaways from the report include:

  • The global billionaire population rose by 0.5 percent, but their total wealth jumped by 5.3 percent in the past year.
  • While Europe has the most billionaires, 766 individuals, North America has the most billionaire wealth at $2,158 billion.
  • The average billionaire is worth $3 billion.
  • Globally, there are 111 individuals who each have a net worth that exceeds $10 billion. Their combined net worth is over $1.9 trillion, greater than the GDP of Canada.
  • Most billionaires are based in the same locations as where they grew up.
  • Most of the billionaires, about 60 percent, are self-made, while 40 percent inherited their wealth or grew their fortunes after inheritance.
  • Of the female billionaires, 17 percent are self-made, while 71 percent gained their fortunes through inheritance.
Some billionaires have bought the most prominent locations in the United States. For example, in March Chinese property maven Zhang Xin tried to purchase part of New York's iconic General Motors building, according to the Atlantic.

Zhang, CEO of the largest commercial property developer in Beijing and Shanghai, and her family were in talks to own a 40 percent stake in the building, home to FAO Schwartz and a flagship Apple Store.

In the late 1980s and 1990s, Japanese investors went on an American real estate buying spree, gobbling up landmarks like New York's Rockefeller Center and California's Pebble Beach golf resort.

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