The global billionaire population and their combined wealth both increased strongly, reversing the previous year’s decline, according to a Wealth-X report released Tuesday.
The number of billionaires known to exist around the globe reached 2,825 last year, an 8.5% or 221 increase from 2018. Their combined wealth rose 10.3% year-over-year to a total of US$9.4 trillion, according to Billionaire Census 2020, Barron’s reported, citing research by Wealth-X.
In 2018, the billionaire population decreased 5.4% year-over-year, and their total wealth shrank 7%, according to Wealth-X, a global wealth information and insight provider.
The U.S. and China remained the top two countries with the most billionaires. The U.S. accounted for 788 billionaires in 2019, while China had 342, Barron’s explained. The two countries also each accounted for three of the top 15 cities with the largest number of billionaires.
New York had 113 individuals with more than US$1 billion in net worth, followed by Hong Kong with 96 and San Francisco with 77. Beijing ranked sixth with 57 billionaires, according to the report.
The Wealth-X reports comes just weeks after the Federal Reserve reported that U.S. household wealth fell 5.6% to $110.8 trillion in the first quarter of this year as U.S. stock markets were hammered by the escalating novel coronavirus epidemic, which has since pushed the United States into recession.
The majority of the drop came from cratering U.S. stock prices at the time, data released by the Fed showed earlier this month.
From mid February through the end of March, an index that covers 90% of the market capitalization of U.S. stocks lost more than $10 trillion in value. Over the quarter the S&P 500’s decline was 20%, the largest quarterly loss since the fourth quarter of 2008, but it has since recouped almost all those losses, Reuters explained.
By contrast, household net worth was $117.3 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2019.