Who wants to be a billionaire?
Forbes recently announced its 25th annual Billionaires List for 2011. While home-grown moguls and magnates dominate the list, this year’s rankings offer interesting food for thought about global wealth. According to Forbes, one in three billionaires is an American, down from nearly one out of two a decade ago. There are 10 more American billionaires on the list than last year, but 56 fewer than in 2008, which was America’s best showing.
Topping this year’s list is Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu, who added $20.5 billion to his fortune, the most of anyone else on the list (which comprised 1,210 people, a record). Bill Gates dropped to No. 2, followed by Warren Buffet.
Here’s some factoids gleaned from this year’s list to impress your friends: the youngest billionaire is Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz, 26. He is eight days younger than Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who also made the list at 52 (up from 212 last year) along with four other founders and investors. The Asia-Pacific region contributed a record 332 billionaires to the list, up from 234 a year ago. The wealthiest woman is Christy Walton, widow of Wal-Mart heir John Walton, who with her family ranked tenth on the list. There are 214 new billionaires on the list, up from 94 last year. The combined wealth of everyone on the list is an unprecedented $4.5 trillion, which, Forbes reports, is greater than the gross domestic product of Germany. Before this year, only the United States had ever produced more than 100 billionaires. China now has 115 and Russia 101.