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Industry Spotlight > Women in Wealth

Forbes Richest List Has More Billionaires Than Ever

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Think the billionaires list compiled by Forbes magazine each year was lofty territory already? Apparently not. This year’s list, the 25th in succession, broke two new records, according to the magazine. It found that in 2011 not only were there more billionaires than ever (there are 1,210), but their combined wealth, at $4.5 trillion, adds up to more than the GDP of Germany—which, by the way, was one of only six countries that had fewer billionaires this year than last.

Bill Gates (left), alas, no longer resides at the top of the heap. He literally gave away that position through philanthropy, as previously reported by Instead that slot has been taken by Carlos Slim Helú of Mexico, whose fortune has grown instead of shrunk. Where Gates gave away $28 billion, nearly a third of his former wealth (he would have been worth $88 billion this year if not for his generous spirit; as it is, he’s only got $49 billion left), Slim Helú has grown his net worth by $20.5 billion to come in at $74 billion.

Gates maintains his hold on second place, however, with what he’s got left—$60 billion. Warren Buffett comes in third with $50 billion, and after that we start to see the BRIC countries moving up in line. Brazil, Russia, India and China together added 108 new names out of the 214 to join the list this year. While the Asia-Pacific region added the most new billionaires at 105 (now there are 332 in the region) and 47% of China’s billionaires are new this year, Russia is no slouch (30% of its billionaires made the list for the first time this year as well). But the good old U.S. of A. is falling down on the job. Ten years ago we harbored nearly one in every two billionaires. Now we’re down to only one in three.

The top 10 (the complete list of all 1,210 is here), their net worth and the nations they call home are as follows:


Net Worth


Carlos Slim Helú and family

$74 billion


Bill Gates

$56 billion


Warren Buffett

$50 billion


Bernard Arnault

$41 billion


Larry Ellison

$39.5 billion


Lakshmi Mittal

$31.1 billion


Amancio Ortega

$31 billion


Eike Batista

$30 billion


Mukesh Ambani

$27 billion


Christy Walton and family

$26.5 billion