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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A historically bad year for the global economy was also a record-smashing one for the wealthiest people on the planet.

Driving the news: The 35th annual Forbes world billionaires list — out today — had a record number atop its list who largely saw their net worth skyrocket.

What they're worth: $13.1 trillion — up from $8 trillion last year. (Remember: these are estimates.)

Stunning stat: There was roughly one new billionaire every 17 hours, for a total of 493 first-time names on the list.

  • Some crossed the line thanks to very 2020 reasons, like SPACs, cryptocurrency or COVID-related health care.
  • The youngest new self-made billionaire is the 26-year-old founder of Luminar, which went public via SPAC. (Another unsurprisingly: Chamath Palihapitiya, venture capitalist and prolific SPAC sponsor.)
  • The intrigue: China had the most newcomers.

Details: Jeff Bezos is still the world's richest, with a net worth of $177 billion.

  • Yes, but: He's no longer the solo member of the $100b+ club. Bezos is joined by Elon Musk, LVMH's Bernard Arnault and Bill Gates.

Among the notable drop-offs: Kylie Jenner, in part because the size of her makeup brand was half as much as Forbes initially thought. She's still plenty rich.

  • But Kim Kardashian West joined the list for the first time, thanks to her beauty and shapewear line, endorsement deals, and reality TV, Forbes says.

The bottom line: In a year marked with historic economic deterioration, Forbes says 86% of the world's billionaires were richer than they were a year ago.

See the full list.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Apr 5, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Energy industry heavyweights boost carbon price lobbying

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

CEO Climate Dialogue, a two-year-old group that includes execs from giant energy and industrial companies, has brought on lobbying powerhouse Forbes-Tate.

Why it matters: The newly public filing highlights the increased K Street activity around pricing since President Biden's win opened the door for new climate legislation.

Chauvin trial leaves cities, activists across America on edge

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The impact of the Derek Chauvin trial is reverberating far beyond the walls of the downtown Minneapolis courtroom.

The state of play: With the trial set to enter its third week, activists across America are watching the proceedings unfold with heavy skepticism that what they perceive as justice will be served.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The dispiriting housing boom

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's a discouraging scene: Bidding wars, soaring prices, and fears that homeownership is becoming out of reach for millions of Americans. We're in a housing frenzy, driven by a massive shortage of inventory — and no one seems to be happy about it.

Why it matters: Not all bubbles burst. Real estate, in particular, tends to rise in value much more easily than it falls. Besides, says National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun, this "is not a bubble. It is simply lack of supply."