The World’s Wealthiest 10: 2024 Data Reveals How They Surpass the GDP of Entire Nations

Key takeaways:

  • Americans believe that they would need to earn $483,000 annually to be classified as wealthy
  • Elon Musk, Bernard Arnault, Jeff Bezos, Larry Ellison, and Warren Buffett have seen their fortunes double since 2020
  • Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH holds the top spot as the richest person in the world with a fortune of more than $226 billion
  • Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos saw his wealth increase by $70 billion in 2023
  • Eight out of ten of the world’s richest billionaires have either previously worked in tech, or are currently a tech executive, founder, or industry leader

How much money is enough to live a comfortable life? Some people would say this equates to a few hundred thousand dollars, others would argue that a couple of millions could help set them up for the rest of their life. For the world’s richest, this number simply does not exist. 

However, it’s possible to put a figure to the average amount of money needed to live comfortably, or at least be considered in the top percentile of the world’s richest. In the U.S., $2.6 million represents the net worth of the median American family in the upper 10% of income earners - this range is deemed as wealthy, according to the federal Survey of Consumer Finances

On average, many Americans believe that they would need to earn $483,000 annually to be classified as rich following an online survey conducted by Bankrate by YouGov in 2023. This figure is roughly six times more than the average salary of $75,203 earned by full-time workers in 2021, according to the U.S. Census

For the average person, making six figures could leave them with enough financial leverage to help them cover their expenses, pay off debt, and still have enough left to stock their savings. 

Yet, the richest individuals and families are making six figures every day, some every hour, leaving them with bank accounts larger than what some countries are worth. Several resources including Bloomberg, Forbes, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the United Nations (UN) help to puzzle together the wealth of the world’s richest billionaires and how their fortunes level up against the GDP of 200 countries.

The 10 Richest Billionaires, Ranked

The personal fortunes of the world’s richest people have witnessed rapid expansion during recent years with Elon Musk, Bernard Arnault and his family, Jeff Bezos, Larry Ellison, and Warren Buffett seeing their wealth more than doubling since 2020, according to findings by Oxfam, a British non-government organization focused on alleviating poverty and wealth inequality. 

For many of these money moguls, strategic diversification of their assets, including business activities and investments has enabled them to garner substantial financial prosperity, with many seeing their fortunes explode and with experts predicting that we will most likely see the world’s first trillionaire in the next decade. 

If you’re not sure how rich some of the world’s wealthiest billionaires are, here’s how they stack up against the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of some of the world’s leading economic nations. 

Mapping The World’s Richest Billionaires
RankBillionaireNet worth**April 2024Country GDP**GDP in USD Billions 2023GDP Per Capita USD**As of 2023
#1Bernard Arnault$226 billionEstonia: $41.80 Bn + Latvia: $46.67 Bn + Lithuania: $79.43 BnEstonia: $31,689Latvia: $25,780Lithuania: $29,496
#2Jeff Bezos$207 billionHungary: $203.83 BnHungary: $20,393
#3Elon Musk$186 billion6.5 x Georgia: $30.02 BnGeorgia: $8,076
#4Mark Zuckerberg$177 - $184 billionUkraine: $173.41 Bn OR Kuwait: $159.69 BnUkraine: $4,571Kuwait: $36,715
#5Bill Gates$153 billion7.5 x Malta: $20.31 BnMalta: $37,841
#6Larry Ellison$141 billionSlovakia: $133.04 Bn OR Dominican Republic: $120.63 BnSlovakia: $23,329Dominican Republic: $10,550
#7Warren Buffett$137 billion4 x Iceland: $30.57 BnIceland: $80,940
#8Larry Page$127 billionKenya: $112.75 Bn OR Ecuador: $118.69 Bn ORPuerto Rico: $117.52 BnKenya: $2,006Ecuador: $6,458Puerto Rico: $35,950
#9Steve Ballmer$125 billionKenya: $112.75 Bn OR 5.89% the GDP of Canada with a GDP of $2.12 Trn.Kenya: $2,006Canada: $54,154
#10Sergey Brin$122 billionOman: $108.28 Bn OR Bulgaria: $103.10 Bn OR Guatemala: $102.77 BnOman: $22,972Bulgaria: $15,577Guatemala: $5,598

Source: Bloomberg Billionaire Index, data correct as of April 9, 2024. 

Bernard Arnault

Net worth: $226 Billion 

Industry: Luxury Retail

As of April 2024, Bernard Arnault, the French businessman, founder, chairman, and CEO of LVMH, the world’s leading luxury goods company has a combined net worth of more than $226 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. 

Arnault has a personal fortune worth more than all three of the Baltic States, which includes Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, which have a combined population of more than six million residents. 

In his portfolio, you’ll find a plethora of luxury and designer brands, including Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Christian Dior, Chaument, Bulgari, Fenty Beauty by Rihanna and Marc Jacobs, among others. 

He is the majority stakeholder of LVMH - Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton - with a 41.4% stake. More than this, he holds a 97.5% stake in designer label, Christian Dior which has a market capitalization of $443.93 billion at the beginning of April 2024. 

Arnault had seen his fortune taking a hit during the pandemic as consumers pulled back on luxury spending, however, current market trends indicate that consumers in developing nations such as China are holding the biggest share in the luxury goods market. 

Jeff Bezos

Net worth: $207 Billion 

Industry: E-commerce and Technology 

Second on the list is Jeff Bezos, founder and executive chairman of Amazon, the world’s largest online e-commerce platform and cloud computing company. Amazon has a market capitalization of over $1.92 trillion according to its most recent financial reporting. As of April 2024, Amazon is considered the fifth-largest company in the world by market capitalization. 

Bezos’s net worth is more than the GDP of Hungary, which had a GDP of roughly $203 billion in 2023, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 

Hungary is one of the 27 Member States of the European Union, which has a combined GDP of more than $16 trillion. The country is the 17th largest in the Union bloc and contributes roughly 1.1% towards the EU economy.

As founder of Amazon, Bezos has seen his wealth skyrocket in recent years, adding more than $70 billion in 2023 alone. According to calculations, Bezos made roughly $191,780,822 per day or about $7,990,868 per hour in 2023, meaning that he made more money in 12 minutes than the typical U.S. worker would make in the median lifetime. 

Elon Musk 

Net worth: $186 Billion 

Industry: Technology 

American business tycoon Elon Musk is currently ranked as the third richest person in the world, holding this spot on both the Forbes and Bloomberg Billionaires List. Musk is the co-founder of six companies, including the electric car manufacturer, Tesla and rocket producer, SpaceX. 

Aside from this, Musk is also the owner, executive chairman, and chief technology officer of X Corp, founder of the tunnel boring company, the Boring Company, and xAI, co-founder of Neuralink and OpenAI, and the president of the Musk Foundation. 

As of April 2024, Musk’s net worth is 6.2 times greater than the GDP of Georgia, a former nation of the Soviet Union, and recorded a GDP of $30.02 billion in 2023. The country of more than 3.7 million residents has a nominal GDP per capita of $8,076 and is ranked as the 109th richest country in the world, according to IMF and United Nations (UN) rankings. 

His five largest investments by share of his portfolio include Stripe, a financial services company. Following this, he is a majority shareholder in SpaceX, OpenAI, the developers of ChatGPT, Tesla, The Boring Company and Neuralink. 

Between April and October 2022, Musk made news headlines after purchasing the popular social media company, Twitter in a $44 billion deal, which he later named X. 

Mark Zuckerberg 

Net worth: $177 - $184 Billion 

Industry: Technology 

As one of the key founding members of Facebook, now better known as Meta, Mark Zuckerberg and his company have been spearheading the development of software protocols including virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), and data solutions. 

His personal fortune sees him having more in the bank than the entire country of Ukraine, which had a total GDP of nearly $173 billion in 2023. He is easily richer than Kuwait, with a GDP of $159 billion, and considered the world’s 10th largest oil-producing company. As of 2024, Kuwait produced roughly 2,990,544 barrels of crude oil each day. 

According to his 13 G/A financial filings, Zuckerberg holds close to 350 million shares in Meta Platforms, the parent company for Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. 

In early 2024, Meta Platforms management announced that it would be paying a quarterly dividend of $0.50 per share. This would be the company’s first time paying shareholders a dividend, and with 350 million shares, Zuckerberg is expected to make $175 million from his holdings. 

In total, he’s expected to make nearly $700 million in annual dividend income, which is 2.5 times the GDP of the Marshall Islands, an island nation located in the central Pacific Ocean. The country recorded more than $642 million in passenger and cargo ship exports in 2023, including $156 million in special purpose shops, and $95,3 million in refined petroleum exports.

Bill Gates 

Net worth: $153 Billion 

Industry: Technology 

Once the richest person in the world, Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, the largest technology company by market capitalization, currently holds a 1.38% stake of roughly 103 million Microsoft shares. 

Much of Gates’s financial aspirations have been largely attributed to the success of Microsoft during the late 1990s and early 2000s. However, the billionaire turned philanthropist has vowed to give up 99.96% of his fortune throughout his lifetime, directing his wealth towards social and humanitarian projects.  

Gates has a wealth 7.5 times more than Malta, an archipelago in the Mediterranean Ocean, and a member state of the EU. The country has a population of more than 530,000 and is considered fairly developed, with a GDP per capita of more than $37,841, as of 2023, Malta had a nominal GDP of $20.31 billion.  

Although Gates is planning to hand over most of his fortune in the coming years, his company continues to lead the race for innovation, spearheading the development of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and online gaming. 

In 2023, Microsoft grew by 57%, boasting a market cap of $3.15 trillion, making it one of the biggest companies in the world, even surpassing its nearest rival Apple 

Larry Ellison

Net worth: $141 Billion

Industry: Technology 

As the co-founder, chairman, and chief technology officer of the software company, Oracle, Larry Ellison makes the list as the sixth wealthiest person in the world. 

He currently holds a 40% stake in Oracle, a company that has become known for its cutting-edge technological solutions, including database management and cloud computing. 

In the past, Ellison shared that he started Oracle as the framework of the technology industry, and leveraged new possibilities to become not only an industry leader but an innovator that could help push the boundaries of modern technological advancements. 

Ellison sees his fortune surpassing the GDP of countries such as Slovakia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, and Kenya, among others. 

The tech entrepreneur holds a robust property portfolio worth more than $1 billion. In 2021, Ellison splurged more than $600 million on Lanai Island, situated in Hawaii, which made him the owner of 98% of the island. 

Lanai is a small island parcel that has two Four Seasons Resorts and supplies nearly 80% of the world’s pineapples. The 20,000 acres is a popular tourist destination for higher earners and their families and is a slice of paradise in the Pacific Ocean. 

Aside from owning the majority of an island, Ellison holds several other valuable properties in his portfolio, with mansions in Rhode Island, Lake Tahoe, Malibu, and Woodside in California, Palm Beach, and a historic building in Kyoto, Japan. 

Warren Buffett 

Net worth: $137 Billion 

Industry: Finance and Investing 

Warren Buffett started investing at the age of 11 years, after which he spent years learning and understanding the investment landscape, which would later put him on track to become known as the “Oracle of Omaha.” 

Known for his strategic abilities and tenacity to purchase and hold company stocks, despite economic turmoil, Buffett has become one of the most respected, and perhaps most successful investors on Wall Street. 

While he made a good deal of his money through investing, he is the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, an owner of insurance companies, rail transportation, manufacturing, retail, and energy generation, among other sectors. 

As of April 2024, Buffett had a net worth of more than $137 billion, which not only makes him one of the richest investors in the world, but he holds a net worth 4 times bigger than the GDP of Iceland. 

As one of the five main Nordic nations, Iceland has a GDP of roughly $30.57 billion, and with just under 380,000 residents, the country has a nominal GDP per capita of $80,940, higher than that of the United States. Iceland is considered one of the most developed nations in Europe and plays a vital part in the North Atlantic shipping industry and NATO. 

Larry Page

Net worth: $127 Billion 

Industry: Technology 

Anyone using the internet these days has Larry Page and Sergey Brin to thank. As business partners, Page and Brin were the founders of Google, best known as the most used internet search engine, globally. 

Over the years, Google has strategically diversified its operations now including several companies and big brands under its umbrella. The company owns names such as Google FitBit, Google Maps, Waze, DeepMind, ITA Software, Motorola Mobility, and YouTube. 

Google has become an international conglomerate, and each day billions of consumers either interact or use one of its services, enabling a more digitally connected consumer market and enabling the discovery of the next frontier of technological innovation. 

If Page had to be a country, he would be the 62nd or 63rd richest country in the world, right between Slovakia and the Dominican Republic.

In 2005, Page and his business partner announced a restructuring of Google and introduced Alphabet. The company now oversees several household names, including Google, and has more than 200 subsidiary businesses scattered across various industries. As of 2024, Alphabet was worth more than $2 trillion.

Steve Ballmer 

Net worth: $125 billion

Industry: Technology 

Stanford MBA dropout and former tech executive, Steve Ballmer is famously known for quitting his college career early and cozying up with his friend, Bill Gates at Microsoft, where he spent most of his years as the CEO of the company. 

Ballmer made billions leading Microsoft, earning him a top position as one of the richest people in the world. After leaving the company, and the industry back in 2014, Ballmer has since spent his time dedicated to several social causes, and perhaps most notably, running and owning the Los Angeles Clippers, a basketball team he purchased for $2 billion in the same year. 

On top of this, Ballmer, along with his wife, have shifted their focus towards philanthropy, and in 2022, they both donated more than $425 million to the University of Oregon, which primarily focuses on studying and improving the behavioral mental health needs of children. 

Even being the ninth richest person on our list, if Ballmer was a country, he’d be richer than Kenya, the seventh largest economy in Africa. In 2023, Kenya had a population of more than 53 million and a GDP of $112.75 billion. 

Not yet convinced? Ballmer’s net worth currently represents 5.89% of Canada’s GDP, the 10th largest in the world at $2.12 trillion. While you won’t easily find the former CEO around the boardroom table anymore, you’ll be sure to see him supporting his basketball team. 

Sergey Brin 

Net worth: $122 billion

Industry: Technology 

As co-founder of Google, alongside his business partner, Larry Page, and the former president of Google's parent company, Alphabet, Sergey Brin is the tenth richest person on our list and currently holds a 10% ownership stake in Alphabet, of which he owns 1.5 million shares worth just over $232 million. 

According to his financial filings, Sergey holds an additional 360 million Google shares, easily making him one of the richest shareholders of the company. 

The American businessman and former director is richer than Oman, a land-locked country in the Middle East and West Asia. The country's geographical location has meant that the local economy relies heavily on crude oil exports, and is globally considered as the 64th richest country in the world, ahead of competitors such as Bulgaria in Eastern Europe, Guatemala, and Angola. 

Despite Brin’s contribution to the development and progress of technological innovation, he is considered an avid angel investor, having invested millions into several well-known startup companies such as Navier, Mosa Meat, 23andMe, and Tesla, among others. 

On top of this, Brin has been the co-founder of Alphabet, alongside Larry Page, is the co-founder of Bayshore Global Management, and helped to co-create PageRank. 

To Conclude 

Developments in the field of technology, software, computing, and data continue to reign supreme among some of the world’s richest billionaires. With the global economy standing at the cusp of a digital transformation that would see the large-scale introduction of artificial intelligence and machine learning, we can expect to witness another industrial revolution that could potentially create a new era of billionaires, and extend the ever-growing list of the world’s most affluent individuals. 

Methodologies 

This article was created using sourced data from the internet including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), United Nations (UN), Forbes, and Bloomberg. Data relating to the GDP of over 200 countries were analyzed and compared to the top ten listed individuals on the Forbes World Billionaires List 2024 and the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Through this analysis, it was possible to determine which individuals have a higher net worth than the countries mentioned or referred to in this article. All data collected were correct and accurate as of April 9, 2024. 

Countries with The Most Billionaires

Top 30 Richest Billionaires In The World

Top 30 Richest Billionaires In The World
RankNameTotal Net Worth in USDYTD Change In USDIndustryCompany
1Bernard Arnault$226 Bn(+) $10.1 BnConsumer & RetailLVMH
2Jeff Bezos$207 Bn(+) $28.3 BnTechnologyAmazon
3Elon Musk$185 Bn(-) $50.9 BnTechnologySpaceX & Tesla
4Mark Zuckerberg$177 - $184 Bn(+) $49.5 BnTechnologyFacebook
5Bill Gates$153 Bn(+) $9.15 BnTechnologyMicrosoft
6Steve Ballmer$143 Bn(+) $12.3 BnTechnologyMicrosoft
7Larry Page$139 Bn(+) $12.9 BnTechnologyAlphabet & Google
8Larry Ellison$133 Bn(+) $9.90 BnTechnologyOracle
9Warren Buffett$132 Bn(+) $12.6 BnFinanceBerkshire Hathaway
10Sergey Brin$132 Bn(+) $12.3 BnTechnologyAlphabet & Google
11Mukesh Ambani$112 Bn(+) $15.6 BnEnergyReliance Industries
12Carlos Slim$101 Bn(+) $4.44 BnDiversifiedGrupo Carso
13Michael Dell$99.9 Bn(+) $21.5 BnTechnologyDell
14Gautam Adani$99.5 Bn(+) $15.2 BnIndustrialAdani Group
15Amancio Ortega$92.6 Bn(+) $5.13 BnRetailInditex
16Francoise Bettencourt Meyers$98.4 Bn(-) $10.2 BnConsumerL'oreal
17Jim Walton$81.2 Bn(+) $8.63 BnRetailWalmart
18Rob Walton$79.7 Bn(+) $8.47 BnRetailWalmart
19Alice Walton$78.7 Bn(+) $8.63 BnRetailWalmart
20Jensen Huang$75.8 Bn(+) $31.8 BnTechnologyNvidia
21Julia Flesher Koch & family$79.8 Bn(+) $4.33 BnIndustrialKoch Industries
22Charles Koch$66.9 Bn(+) $3.96 BnIndustrialKoch Industries
23Zhong Shanshan$64.9 Bn(+) $2.80 BnDiversifiedNongfu Spring & Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise
24Alain Wertheimer$48.2 Bn(+) $1.12 BnConsumerChanel
25Gerard Wertheimer$48.2 Bn(+) $1.12 BnConsumerChanel
26Jacqueline Badger Mars$44.0 Bn(-) $2.62 BnFood & BeverageMars
27John Mars$44.0 Bn(-) $2.62 BnFood & BeverageMars
28Tadashi Yanai$41.0 Bn(+) $2.88 BnRetailFast Retailing
29Stephen Schwarzman$40.9 Bn(-) $1.52 BnFinanceBlackstone Group
30Jeff Yass$40.9 Bn(+) $962 MnFinanceSusquehanna Intl Grp
Source: Bloomberg Billionaire Index. Data correct as of April 17, 2024.

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