The richest people in the world for 2021 have been revealed. In its annual Billionaire list, Forbes has crowned the top earners for the last 12 months and no surprises here, departing Amazon chief Jeff Bezos has topped the poll. What is surprising, however, is just how much Jeff Bezos net worth swelled over a year marred with pandemics, infrastructure hold-ups and mass economic uncertainty. And he wasn’t alone.
The Business of Wealth
Amazingly, despite the challenges of 2020, the number of billionaires of Forbes‘ 35th annual list of the world’s wealthiest ‘exploded’ to an unprecedented 2,755, up 660 from last year. According to Forbes, the combined wealth of all the billionaires on the list amounts to a whopping USD$13.1 trillion, up from USD$8 trillion last year. That incredibly figure comes off the back of surging cryptocurrencies and stock prices along with a series of public offerings.
In fact, the report names 493 newcomers to the list, marking one new billionaire every 17 hours. Of the new entrants to make the billionaire mark, the wealthiest is Miriam Adelson of Nevada, who inherited her husband Sheldon Adelson’s casino empire following his death in January, swelling her net worth to USD$38.2 billion. On the lifestyle side, filmmaker Tyler Perry also made the list, along with Checkout.com founder Guillaume Pousaz and the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, Bumble co-founder Whitney Wold Herd.
Perhaps the most interesting statistics is how many billionaires are returning to the list. Around 250 people who’d fallen off the billionaires’ list in the past came roaring back with Forbes reporting that all together, a staggering 86 per cent of all billionaires are richer than a year ago. Not bad for the worst year ever.
World’s Richest People 2021
Unsurprisingly, Jeff Bezos has claimed the title of the world’s richest person, however, the stakes are tightening. For the first time, here are four people worth USD$100 billion or more, where Bezos was the sole nine-figure club member.
Here is a list of the 10 richest people in the world for 2021.
1. Jeff Bezos
Amazon boss Jeff Bezos has become a familiar face at the top of Forbes’ wealthiest people in the world list. This is the fourth year running he has taken home top honours and it comes after a massive year for his distribution and retail business. The Jeff Bezos net worth figure is now up to USD$177 billion, a jump of USD$64 billion from a year ago as a result of surging Amazon shares.
Net worth: USD$177 billion
Source of wealth: Amazon
Born: 12 January 1964 (age 57 years), Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Spouse: MacKenzie Scott (m. 1993–2019)
Parents: Ted Jorgensen, Miguel Bezos, Jacklyn Bezos
Education: Princeton University (1982–1986), Miami Palmetto Senior High School (1982), River Oaks Elementary School
2. Elon Musk
Tesla and SpaceX chief Elon Musk was the biggest gainer in dollar terms this year, flying into the No. 2 spot. Musk is now worth a monster USD$151 billion, a whopping $126.4 billion more than a year ago, when he ranked No. 31 and was worth $24.6 billion, thanks to a 705 per cent climb in Tesla shares.
Net worth: USD$151 billion
Source of wealth: Tesla, SpaceX
Net worth: 163.8 billion USD (2021) Forbes, Trending
Born: 28 June 1971 (age 49 years), Pretoria, South Africa
Citizenship: South Africa (1971–present); Canada (1971–present); United States (2002–present)
Partner: Grimes (2018–)
Children: X Æ A-Xii, Nevada Alexander Musk, Griffin Musk, Xavier Musk, Saxon Musk, Kai Musk, Damian Musk
3. Bernard Arnault
French luxury goods tycoon Bernard Arnault managed to hold onto his spot at No. 3, but that doesn’t do his year justice. Arnault raised his fortune to USD$150 billion, from USD$76 billion, due to an 86 per cent rise in the shares of LVMH, owner of brands including Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior and cosmetics retailer Sephora.
Net worth: USD$150 billion
Source of wealth: Luxury goods
Born: 5 March 1949 (age 72 years), Roubaix, France
Children: Antoine Arnault, Delphine Arnault, Alexandre Arnault, Frédéric Arnault, Jean Arnault
Spouse: Hélène Mercier (m. 1991), Anne Dewavrin (m. 1973–1990)
Siblings: Dominique Watine-Arnault
Education: École Polytechnique (1969–1971), Lycée Faidherbe
4. Bill Gates
Former world’s richest man Bill Gates also had a solid year. The Microsoft co-founder ranks No. 4 at USD$124 billion, thanks to the strong share performance in Microsoft, Canadian National Railway and tractor maker Deere & Company.
Net worth: USD$124 billion
Source of wealth: Microsoft
Born: 28 October 1955 (age 65 years), Seattle, Washington, United States
Spouse: Melinda Gates (m. 1994)
Children: Jennifer Katharine Gates, Rory John Gates, Phoebe Adele Gates
5. Mark Zuckerberg
Rounding out the top five is Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, at USD$97 billion. The tech entrepreneur may have come under fire in recent times, but that didn’t stop him from swelling his net worth by an eye-watering USD$42.3 billion. The massive jump comes in the wake of a big year for Facebook that saw the company’s shares rise 80 per cent as people around the world used its social media platforms to stay in touch.
Net worth: USD$97 billion
Source of wealth: Facebook
Born: 14 May 1984 (age 36 years), White Plains, New York, United States
Spouse: Priscilla Chan (m. 2012)
Children: Maxima Chan Zuckerberg, August Chan Zuckerberg
6. Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett may be the world’s sixth-richest person, worth USD$96 billion but 2021 marks the first year since 1993 that the revered investor running Berkshire Hathaway has not appeared in the top five. The stock expert and investment legend, better known as the Oracle of Omaha raised his net worth by USD$28.5 billion.
Net worth: USD$96 billion
Source of wealth: Berkshire Hathaway
Born: 30 August 1930 (age 90 years), Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Spouse: Astrid Menks (m. 2006), Susan Buffett (m. 1952–2004)
Children: Susan Alice Buffett, Peter Buffett, Howard Graham Buffett
7. Larry Ellison
American business magnate Larry Ellison also had a whopping year. The Oracle co-founder has major shares in Tesla, which surged enormously in 2021, giving him one of the biggest paydays in recent memory.
Net worth: USD$93 billion
Source of wealth: Software
Born: 17 August 1944 (age 76 years), The Bronx, New York, United States
Spouse: Melanie Craft (m. 2003–2010)
Children: Megan Ellison, David Ellison
Education: The University of Chicago (1964–1966)
Books: Softwar: An Intimate Portrait of Larry Ellison and Oracle
8. Larry Page
Google co-founder Larry Page was able to take his wealth to a new level in 2021. The American entrepreneur is now worth an estimated USD$91.5 billion, thanks to a surge in working from home and diversified products.
Net worth: USD$91.5 billion
Source of wealth: Google
Born: 26 March 1973 (age 48 years), Lansing, Michigan, United States
Spouse: Lucinda Southworth (m. 2007)
Education: East Lansing High School (1987–1991)
Parents: Gloria Page, Carl Victor Page
9. Sergey Brin
Similar to his Google co-founder, Sergey Brin also swelled his net worth massively in 2021. The tech guru is now worth an estimated USD$89 billion thanks to a seemingly endless run of success for the world’s most popular search engine.
Net worth: USD$89 billion
Source of wealth: Google
Born: 21 August 1973 (age 47 years), Moscow, Russia
Spouse: Nicole Shanahan (m. 2018), Anne Wojcicki (m. 2007–2015)
Children: Chloe Wojin, Benji Wojin
Education: Stanford University (1993–1995)
Parents: Michael Brin, Eugenia Brin
10. Mukesh Ambani
Mukesh Ambani of India has become the richest person in Asia, taking out the tenth place with a net worth of an estimated USD$84.5 billion. The Reliance Industries Ltd shareholder has nudged out Jack Ma of China, Asia’s richest person a year ago, whose rank dropped to No. 26 thanks to a massive year.
Net worth: USD$84.5 billion
Source of wealth: Diversified
Born: 19 April 1957 (age 63 years), Aden, Yemen
Spouse: Nita Ambani (m. 1985)
Children: Isha Ambani, Akash Ambani, Anant Ambani
Education: Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT)
Siblings: Anil Ambani, Nina Kothari, Deepti Salgaocar
Who is the richest person in the world?
According to the latest predictions for Forbes, Amazon founder and departing chief Jeff Bezos is the richest person in the world, with a net worth of around USD$177 billion.
How much is Elon Musk worth?
While Elon Musk’s wealth is heavily dependent on stock price, the Tesla boss’ most recent net worth estimate is around USD$151 billion, as reported by Forbes.
Who is the richest woman in the world?
According to the latest reports from Forbes, Alice Walton, daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton is the richest woman in the world. With a net worth of around USD$54.1 billion, Walton just beats out L'Oréal heiress and former world’s richest woman Francoise Bettencourt Meyers for the title.