There’s a big difference between being a billionaire and being a high net worth individual. A billionaire is, well, a billionaire who has accumulated at least $1B through self-earnings and/or inheritance. A high net worth individual is someone who has accumulated approximately $30M through self- earnings and/or inheritance.

According to the 2018 Billionaire Census Index published by the consulting firm Applied Wealth Intelligence, there are 2,754 billionaires around the world and approximately 100,000 high net worth individuals globally. (All data mentioned in this piece has been sourced from Applied Wealth Intelligence, a consulting firm with offices in New York, London and Dubai.)

The 2018 Billionaire Census Index indicates global billionaire wealth surged by almost 25% to $9.2T in 2017. ($9.2T translates into 12% of the global GDP!) The likely reasons for this surge include a “synchronized upturn in the world economy, climbing equity markets and stable change rates against the US dollar.” Just two years earlier, the previous high was $7.7T. When compared to 2016 levels and numbers, wealth among billionaires increased by +24% and the number of billionaires increased by +15%.

China and India led the way in billionaire growth for both wealth and numbers during 2017. Asia Pacific billionaires now total some 784 individuals. Asia Pacific wealth outperformed the Americas by +22%, a huge jump from 2016.

The number of billionaires in the Americas increased by 11% to 727 individuals. The number of billionaires in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) increased by 9% compared to 2016 figures. Female billionaires, now some 11.7% of the global billionaire population pool, increased by +18% and male billionaires increased by 14.5%.   2017 marks the first time the female billionaire population rate outgrew the male billionaire population rate.

The countries with the most billionaires are

  1. United States
  2. China
  3. Germany
  4. India
  5. Switzerland
  6. Russia
  7. Hong Kong
  8. United Kingdom
  9. Saudi Arabia
  10. United Arab Emirates

(These countries support dynamic wealth creation through market forces, not political environments, according to Applied Wealth Intelligence.)

The cities with the most billionaires are

  1. New York
  2. Hong Kong
  3. San Francisco
  4. Moscow
  5. London
  6. Beijing
  7. Singapore
  8. Dubai
  9. Mumbai
  10. Shenzhen

Lastly, 5 of the 10 most valuable companies in the world are American technology companies.