Richest People in the World in 2021

Richest People in the World

Over $633 billion has been amassed by the 10 richest people in the world since March 2020.

To put that into perspective, that’s more than sevenfold the wealth accumulated by the top 10 in the time period prior. As just one example, Elon Musk witnessed his wealth increase at least 520% in the last year. Meanwhile, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has earned an additional $74 billion.

With data from the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List, we navigate how the wealth of various uber-affluent groups have changed since the beginning of the pandemic.

The 10 Richest People in the World

With a net worth of $193 billion, Bernard Arnault is the wealthiest in the world, surpassing Jeff Bezos in late May.

Arnault, chairman of LVMH—a brand that owns Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Dom Perignon— has seen his wealth grow $117 billion since March 2020. Contributing to this growth is the meteoric rise of LVMH shares, which have boomed roughly 110% over the time frame.

Based on data as of June 1, 2021 here are the ten wealthiest individuals worldwide:
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RankNameSourceNet Worth June 2021Net Worth Mar 2020Change 2020-2021
1Bernard Arnault & familyLVMH$193$113$117
2Jeff BezosAmazon$187$76$74
3Elon MuskTesla, SpaceX$156$25$131
4Bill GatesMicrosoft$127$98$29
5Mark ZuckerbergFacebook$119$55$56
6Warren BuffettBerkshire Hathaway$109$68$41
7Larry PageGoogle$104$59$49
8Larry Ellisonsoftware$104$51$45
9Sergey BrinGoogle$100$49$51
10Francoise Bettencourt Meyers & familyL’Oréal$89$49$40
Total Change$633

Top 10 Wealth Growth

Since the onset of the pandemic, Elon Musk has seen his wealth grow the fastest out of the top 10. Over the first quarter of 2021, Tesla deliveries reached 184,000—a company record.

At one point, Musk even briefly surpassed Jeff Bezos as the richest person in the world. This is impressive, since Jeff Bezos’s wealth ballooned over 65% in the same time frame. Similarly, Zuckerberg, Gates, and Buffett have all seen double or triple-digit growth.

richest people in the world growth 2021

Following Musk is Bernard Arnault, who runs luxury conglomerate LVMH. Despite 2020 profits falling 28%, the French magnate has made over $117 billion. In January, LVMH closed a $15.8 billion acquisition of jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co.

On average, the top 10 richest saw gains of 132% over the course of the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, the majority were in tech.

Who’s In and Who’s Out?

Among the newest to join the billionaire’s club is Whitney Wolfe Herd, CEO of Bumble at 31 years old.

Wolfe Herd is the youngest American woman to take a company public ever, with Bumble’s February 2021 IPO raising $2.2 billion. Bumble is the second-largest dating company to go public after Match Group, which owns 45 dating companies including Tinder.

By contrast, last year’s youngest billionaire, Kylie Jenner, fell off the list after allegedly inflating her net worth. Interestingly, the Kardashian’s took great lengths to show Forbes the extent of her wealth, including showing them their tax returns along with invitations to their mansions.

Still, Jenner’s net worth stands at roughly $700 million.

A New Gilded Age?

Given the staggering growth of the ultra-wealthy in recent years, today’s wealth concentration is now comparable to America’s Gilded Age.

At the time, John D. Rockefeller was the richest person in the world—worth roughly $285 billion in today’s terms. His businesses produced 1.6% of total U.S. economic output.

By comparison, Bernard Arnault, at $193 billion, still has a little ways to go just yet.

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