Dec 27, 2019

The world's 500 richest people saw their collective net worth grow by 25% in 2019

Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Ian Tuttle/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize

The world's 500 richest people added $1.2 trillion to their collective net worth in 2019, boosting their holdings by 25% to $5.9 trillion, according to Bloomberg.

Why it matters: Income inequality has become a key issue for politicians around the globe, highlighted by the fact that the wealthiest 0.1% of Americans now hold a larger share of wealth at any point since 1929 — the start of the Great Depression.

Winners:

  • New billionaires in 2019 include White Claw creator Anthony von Mandl, cosmetics maven Kylie Jenner and Takeaway.com founder Jitse Grown.
  • The 172 American billionaires on Bloomberg's list added a collective $500 billion to their net worth. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was up $27.3 billion and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates increased his wealth by $22.7 billion.
  • China now has 54 billionaires, second only to the U.S.

Losers:

  • WeWork’s Adam Neumann is still a billionaire, but the company's valuation imploded from $47 billion to $8 billion during the year.
  • Rupert Murdoch's fortune dropped by about $10 billion after proceeds from Fox's sale of assets to Disney were distributed among his children.

Go deeper: Billionaire philanthropists turn money into influence

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The decade of the very poor and the super rich

Data: The World Bank and World Poverty Clock. Note: 1999-2015 World Bank figures are incomplete in South Asia. 2016-2019 figures are World Poverty Clock projections. Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The 2010s may be remembered as the decade when the global 1% accumulated unfathomable wealth, but it was also perhaps the best decade ever for the world’s poorest people.

The big picture: The rate of extreme poverty around the world was cut in half over the past decade (15.7% in 2010 to 7.7% now), and all but eradicated in China.

Go deeperArrowDec 30, 2019

Bloomberg can delay financial disclosure until after Super Tuesday

Mike Bloomberg. Photo: Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group/Getty Images

Billionaire presidential contender Mike Bloomberg received an extension through March 20 that allows him to keep details about his personal wealth confidential until after Americans vote in the 2020 Democratic primaries, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Billionaires have been a focal point so far in the 2020 election, and have been lamented by other candidates for using their vast wealth to buy the nomination.

Go deeperArrowJan 18, 2020

Tesla short sellers wish Elon Musk had funding secured at $420

Data: Money.net; Chart: Axios Visuals

Tesla has been among the most derided companies in the world, but CEO Elon Musk has been getting revenge against hated short sellers since the electric car company's June swoon.

Why it matters: Many probably wish Musk had taken the company private at $420 a share, as he said he would in an August 2018 tweet in which he claimed to have "funding secured" for the move.

Go deeperArrowJan 14, 2020