The Number of Billionaires in the World Doubled in the Past Decade—Find Out Which Countries Topped the List

It seems like the rich keep getting richer no matter what’s going on in the world. This was even true in the 2010s when the world was still recovering from the global financial crisis in the late 2000s. In the past ten years, the economy has bounced back, the stock market has soared, and the rich got even richer.

The past decade has seen new billionaires, especially in the technology and real estate industries. Since 2010, the number of billionaires around the world has doubled from 1,011 to 2,095. The world’s billionaires now have a collective net worth of $8 trillion.

Asian countries have seen a surge in the number of their billionaires with China leading the pack. Gaining the most number of new billionaires, Mainland China now has 389 from the 64 they had in 2010. From a mere trio of billionaires, Thailand now has 20 of them. Singapore started the decade with only 4 billionaires in 2010. Now, they already have 26. In India, the number of billionaires grew by 108%, with 102 in 2020.

European countries like Italy, France, Germany, and Switzerland also grew their statistics. Eighteen other countries that started the decade with zero billionaires now have at least one.

Unsurprisingly, the United States fared great in this aspect. It recorded the second-highest jump behind China. Some of the most notable newcomers include Kylie Jenner, MacKenzie Bezos, and Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney, whose company is behind the popular video game Fortnite.

On the flip side, ten countries saw a decline in the number of billionaires in their country. These include Saudi Arabia, Belgium, and New Zealand.

China posted the most number of new billionaires for the last decade.

Top 10 Countries with the Most Number of New Billionaires

#10 Italy – From 13 to 36

Some of the richest people in Italy have stakes in businesses involved in things that scream opulence—fashion, coffee, sports cars, and chocolate.

Giovanni Ferrero’s company is behind Nutella, Kinder, and Tic Tac. Leonardo Del Vecchio’s sunglasses manufacturing company, Luxottica, owns brands Ray-Ban and Oakley and makes glasses for Bulgari and Chanel. Augusto and Giorgio Perfetti are proud of their brands Mentos and Airheads, Giuseppe De’Longhi is known for high-end coffee makers and espresso machines, while Piero Ferrari partly owns his eponymous luxury car company.

#9 Switzerland – From 11 to 35

Swiss billionaires Gianluigi and Rafaela Aponte are involved with MSC, the second-largest shipping line in the world in terms of vessel capacity. Maja Oeri’s family, meanwhile, is behind the pharmaceutical giant, Roche.

#8 Brazil – From 18 to 45

The South American country has the world’s richest banker, Joseph Safra. Another Brazilian billionaire is Jorge Paulo Lemann, who invested in Brazil’s largest brewer.

#7 France – From 12 to 39

France is home to the world’s richest tastemakers. Bernard Arnault’s luxury empire lists Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., and Sephora among its portfolio of 70 brands. Some of the country’s billionaires come from uber-wealthy families, just like Francoise Bettencourt Meyers of L’Oreal, the Wertheimers of Chanel, and François Pinault of luxury group Kering, which handles design brands like Gucci, Saint Laurent, and Alexander McQueen.

A number of billionaires from France are involved in luxury brands.

#6 Russia – From 61 to 99

Most of the richest billionaires in Russia have stakes in the metals, oil, gas, and steel industries. These include Vladimir Potanin of Norilsk Nickel and Leonid Mikhelson and Gennady Timchenko of gas company Novatek.

#5 Hong Kong – From 25 to 66

Hong Kong is one of the world’s most expensive cities to buy a home. So, it’s not surprising that a good portion of the country’s billionaires is made up of real estate developers.

#4 India – From 49 to 102

India has doubled its number of billionaires over the past decade, but some of the mainstays of their list of richest people are Mukesh Ambani of oil and gas behemoth Reliance Industries and India’s retail king Radhakishan Damani.

#3 Germany – From 52 to 107

Billionaire siblings Susanne Klatten and Stefan Quandt partly own German luxury automaker BMW. Another pair of billionaires, Hasso Plattner and Heinz Hermann Thiele own the world’s leading manufacturer of rail and commercial vehicle braking systems. Meanwhile, Dietmar Hopp is behind the software company SAP.

Home to brands like the BMW, Germany has doubled the number of its billionaires for the past decade.

#2 United States – From 404 to 614

From start-up founders to celebrities, the U.S. has had quite the number of billionaires. Some of the most recent ones who clinched the billion-dollar mark founded tech companies that are now basking in success.

This new breed of billionaires includes WhatsApp’s Jan Koum and Brian Acton, Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel, Uber’s Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, and Pinterest’s Ben Silbermann and Evan Sharp. Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk also became a billionaire in the least decade.

#1 China – From 64 to 389

Probably one of the most famous Chinese billionaires is Jack Ma, who co-founded e-commerce giant Alibaba. Other billionaires include Ma Huateng, who has stakes in Chinese social messaging app WeChat. New to the list of Chinese billionaires is the co-founder and former CEO of Chinese property developer Longfor Properties, Wu Yajun.