Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Billionaire: Definition, Examples, vs. Millionaire

The term billionaire refers to an individual with assets or a net worth of at least one billion currency units in their native currency such as dollars, euros, or pounds. Billionaires are extremely rich, with assets ranging from cash and cash equivalents to real estate, as well as business and personal property.

These individuals are ranked each year by Forbes, an American business magazine, which first started compiling lists of the world's richest in 1987.

Key Takeaways

  • A billionaire is someone who has assets or a net worth of at least one billion currency units in their native currency.
  • Billionaires have a variety of assets, including cash and cash equivalents, real estate, and business and personal property.
  • Forbes has been ranking the world's billionaires every year since 1987.

Net Worth and Assets

A billionaire is a person with a net wealth of a billion dollars—$1,000,000,000, or a number followed by nine zeroes. This is one thousand times greater than a millionaire ($1,000,000). Billionaires in other countries are defined by monetary units in other currencies such as euros, pounds, and others. So someone who is a billionaire in the eurozone is defined with a net worth of €1 billion or more, while someone in the United Kingdom has £1 billion or more.

Subtracting liabilities from assets results in an individual's net worth. A billionaire's assets generally include things like cash and liquid investments, personal property such as real estate, jewelry, cars and other vehicles, and furniture. Business interests such as equipment and commercial properties are also included if the individual has a personal stake in a corporation.

Billionaires make up a small and very elite club of powerful individuals—both men and women—in the world. These people control enormous sums of money and the power and influence that comes with it.

A deca-billionaire is someone who has more than $10 billion while a centi-billionaire has more than $100 billion in net wealth.

Forbes magazine publishes a list of the world's billionaires every year. When Forbes produced the first list in 1987, there were 140 names on the list. In 2022, Forbes listed a record 2,668 billionaires around the globe with a combined net worth totaling $12.7 trillion.

Famous Billionaires

According to Forbes' 2022 report, the United States has the most billionaires in the world with a total of 735. In Russia, there are 34 fewer billionaires following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and in China, where regulation on tech companies led to 87 fewer Chinese billionaires on the list.

Elon Musk ranked the highest on the magazine's list with a total net worth of $219 billion. Elon Musk cofounded six companies including electric car maker Tesla and SpaceX. In October of 2022, Musk completed his acquisition of Twitter for $44 billion.

Readers can isolate names on the Forbes billionaire list by country, industry, as well as age group. For instance, Lukas Walton was one of the youngest billionaires, ranking 106th with a net worth of $16.5 billion. He is the grandson of Sam Walton, founder of Walmart (WMT). His father, John, died in a plane crash, leaving the then-19-year-old much of his fortune.

Article Sources
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  1. Forbes. "World's Billionaires 30th Anniversary: Looking Back on Three Decades of Billionaires."

  2. Forbes. "Forbes Billionaires 2022."

  3. Forbes. "Elon Musk's Twitter Buyout Was a Billion Dollar Windfall For These 13 Hedge Funds."

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