As of 2021, there are reportedly 2,755 billionaires on Earth, with an estimated total net worth of $13.1 trillion. Of this amount, the top 10 wealthiest people in the world account for $1,153 billion, or roughly 8.8%, which is impressive when you consider that they represent around 0.36% of billionaires. Below are the 10 individuals currently considered the wealthiest at the time of updating this article—Sept. 2021—according to the Forbes World’s Billionaires List.
1. Jeff Bezos
- Age: 57
- Residence: Seattle
- Founder and Executive Chair: Amazon (AMZN)
- Net Worth: $177 billion
- Amazon Ownership Stake: 11% ($178 billion)
- Other Assets: Blue Origin ($7.15 billion private assets), The Washington Post ($250 million private assets), and $13.4 billion in cash
In 1994, Jeff Bezos founded Amazon.com in a garage in Seattle, shortly after he resigned from the hedge fund giant D.E. Shaw. In fact, he had originally pitched the idea of an online bookstore to his former boss David E. Shaw, who wasn’t interested.
Though Amazon.com originally started out selling books, it has since morphed into a one-stop-shop for everything under the sun, and is arguably the world’s largest retailer. At any rate, it is hard to dispute its self-description as the “Earth’s most customer-centric company.” Its pattern of constant diversification is evident in some of its unexpected expansions, which include acquiring Whole Foods in 2017 and launching its own branded over-the-counter drugs in Aug. 2017.
In 2020, Amazon’s share price skyrocketed on the heightened demand for online shopping as lockdowns forced consumers to stay home. On July 5, 2021, Bezos stepped down as CEO of the e-commerce giant and transitioned to his new role as its executive chair.
Bezos originally took Amazon public in 1997 and went on to become the first man since Bill Gates in 1999 to achieve a net worth of more than $100 billion. Bezos’s other projects include aerospace company Blue Origin; The Washington Post, which he purchased in 2013; and the 10,000-year clock, also known as the Long Now. On July 20, 2021, Bezos, his brother Mark, aviation pioneer Wally Funk, and Dutch student Oliver Daemen completed Blue Origin’s first successful crewed flight, reaching an altitude of just above 62 miles before landing safely.