Billionaire wealth returned to growth in 2016 after falling the year before, according to the 2017 UBS/PwC Billionaires Report.
“After a pause in 2015, expansion in billionaire wealth has continued,” the report states.
Globally, the total wealth of billionaires rose by 17% in 2016, up from $5.1 trillion to $6 trillion. For comparison, billionaire wealth fell by 5% in 2015, declining from $5.4 trillion to $5.1 trillion.
In 2016, the net number of billionaires also grew. There was a 10% rise in the number of billionaires globally to 1,542, according to the report.
These findings emerge as UBS Group AG and PwC released their joint annual billionaires insight report, New Wealth Creators Gain Momentum. Now in its third year, the report analyzes data covering 1,550 billionaires and looking back two decades.
The UBS/PwC database includes the 14 largest billionaire markets, which account for around 80% of global billionaire wealth. Their analysis also included more than 25 interviews with billionaire advisors and additional face-to-face interviews with more than 30 billionaires and approximately 30 of their heirs.
Here are four more major findings from the 2017 UBS/PwC Billionaires Report:
1. Billionaires create millions of jobs.
Across all industries, companies linked to billionaires have created jobs over the past year, the report finds.
The 1,542 billionaires on the report’s database own or partly own companies that directly employ at least 27.7 million people worldwide, which is “roughly the same as the U.K.’s working population,” the report says.
According to the report, 2016’s newly minted billionaires was linked to companies that employed at least 2.8 million people, or roughly a tenth of the total, a high percentage that results from the fact that 86% of the year’s newbies were self-made.
“While we do not have employment data for 1995, the start of our study period, there were only 289 in-scope billionaires at the time, which suggests that growing entrepreneurial wealth has been accompanied by expanding employment,” the report states.
For context, the report notes that 13% of the people employed by S&P Global 1,200 firms in 2016 worked for companies linked to billionaires.
2. Billionaires bankroll a large share of art and pro sports.
The emergence of great wealth is paying dividends for art collecting and sports clubs globally — not just in the U.S. and Europe but also in the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Africa, according to the report.
The report finds that the ultrawealthy account for a growing number of the top 200 collectors. In 1995, there were 28 billionaires on the list — by 2016, that number has grown to 72.