Not only is the wealth gap growing in most parts of the world, but the number of billionaires is growing more rapidly than the entire population in some regions. The very rich are getting richer faster.
According to the Wealth X Billionaire Census 2018, which is in its fifth edition:
[B]illionaire wealth surged by 24% to a record level in 2017, and the billionaire population rebounded by 15% to 2,754 individuals, surpassing the previous peak of 2,473 in 2015.
By region, the Asia Pacific had 816 in 2017, up 29% from 2016. The Americas had 884, up 11%. EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) had 1,054, up 9%.
Among the reports other major findings:
- Billionaire wealth grew at a much faster pace than population size across all regions
- While the US remained the dominant force for this increase, six of the top ten countries recorded faster growth than the US in their respective billionaire populations
- The number of female billionaires rose by 18%, outpacing the growth of the male billionaire population
- A growing trend for billionaires to give more, with significant portions of the population focusing at least part of their philanthropic activity on education, health and social causes, as well as art and cultural organizations
That money is being given to the poor, which is anyone outside the 2,754 individuals.
Harvard led the list of alma maters with 188. Stanford was second at 74, followed by the University of Pennsylvania at 64 and Columbia at 53. The top sports interest among the group was golf at 25%.
Several other organizations monitor the billionaire population. This includes Forbes, which has posted numbers for decades, and Bloomberg. One notable fact is the number of billionaires is not consistent among the sources. The wealth of each of the people on these lists also varies.