NEW YORK. There are a record 2,781 billionaires this year and figure is 141 more than last year and 26 more than the previous record set in 2021. 

Forbes say the elite are richer than ever – with a collective wealth of US$14.2tn.

Forbes said the class of billionaires for 2024 were 255% richer than a decade ago, now worth US$2tn in all, meaning just 0.5% of the world’s 2,781 billionaires hold 14% of all billionaire wealth.

At 19 years old, Livia Voigt is not only this year’s youngest newcomer, but also the world’s youngest billionaire.

Mega post star Taylor Swift has joined the Billionaire Club after being included in the new Forbes rich list.

The American pop star entered the Forbes World’s Billionaires List for the first time with US$1.1bn, along with Sam Altman, creator of the AI chatbot ChatGPT on US$1bn.

LVMH French luxury goods titan Bernard Arnault and his family topped the chart with an estimated US$233bn.

The majority of the top 10 world billionaires – eight – were from the US, with six of those listed as having made their money in technology industries. After Frenchman Mr Arnault and his family, Mr Musk, the owner of Tesla and X, formerly Twitter, is listed second, with an estimated net worth of US$195bn.

He is followed in third by Amazon owner Jeff Bezos. Mr Musk’s riches are up 8% from last year but down on his net worth in November 2021, when he became the first person ever to be worth US$300bn.

Also joining Forbes’s list is basketball legend Magic Johnson with wealth of US$1.2bn and TV producer Dick Wolf, behind the US Law and Order and Chicago PD series, also on US$1.2bn.

Chase Peterson-Withorn, senior editor on wealth for Forbes, said it had been an “amazing” year for the world’s richest people.

“A record-breaking 14 centi-billionaires have 12-figure fortunes. Even during times of financial uncertainty for many, the super-rich continue to thrive,” he added.

Geographically, the US still has more billionaires than any other country, with a record 813 on the list. China remains second, followed by India.

In the UK, hedge fund manager Michael Platt is the richest person, followed by part-owner of Manchester United Sir Jim Ratcliffe and inventor Sir James Dyson.

Forbes said 189 people had fallen off the list and.

Another 32 billionaires died, including Egyptian tycoon Mohamed Al-Fayed, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, former Chilean President Sebastián Piñera and Margaritaville singer Jimmy Buffett. – BBC

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