There’s the 1%, and then there’s the 1%.
Billionaires make up 1% of the world’s ultra-high-net-worth population (net worth of $30 million or more), according to the Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2014, yet they control 4% of the world’s wealth.
The global billionaire population grew to a record 2,325, up by 7% from the 2013 study, and is on track to increase to 3,873 in 2020.
In the year to June 2014, aggregate billionaire wealth increased by 12% to $7.3 trillion, more than the capitalization of all the companies that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average, according to the report.
Between 2011 and 2013, growth in billionaires’ wealth accounted for 40% of the growth in total ultra-high-net-worth wealth.
Despite this growth, billionaires’ portfolios underperformed the global S&P 1200 equity index over the past year.
Europe retained its position as the region with the highest number of billionaires, 775, and most billionaire wealth, $2.4 trillion, while the U.S. was the country with the highest number of billionaires, 571, accounting for $2.3 trillion.
American billionaires now make up nearly a quarter of the total global billionaire population, according to the report.
In Asia, the number of billionaires grew by 10% to 560, and total wealth increased by 19% to $1.4 trillion, the largest wealth increase among regions.
The billionaire population in Latin America and the Caribbean shot up 38%, largely because of significant wealth transfers from baby boomers to their heirs. Total wealth in the region grew by only 3%, however.
The opposite occurred in Africa and the Middle East. Rampant political instability that caused declines in some individuals’ wealth was largely responsible for reducing the billionaire population, thinning the ranks in Africa by 5% and in the Middle East by 2%.