July 19, 2013

Chart of the Week: Keeping track of the world’s richest people


billionaires

If you’ve ever woken up wondering “Is Bill Gates or Carlos Slim the world’s richest person today?”, Bloomberg’s new visualization of data on the 100 richest billionaires is for you.

The screenshot, taken from Thursday’s version, shows the 20 richest individuals in the world in real-time. But along with each billi0naire’s net worth and occasionally amusing cartoon heads, Bloomberg’s visualization has many nifty tools: You can sort and rank the billionaires by age (#73 Mark Zuckerberg is the only one under 30), gender (only 11 women make the list), industry and citizenship. It’s also updated daily, providing plenty of chances to play Fantasy Billionaire Bingo.

You can also see whether each billionaire’s wealth was primarily inherited or self-made. Of the 100 billionaires in the visualization, 28 were in the “inherited” category, including four heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and three members of the Mars candy family; the rest were considered self-made.

Americans are almost evenly split as to how they think rich people in general got that way: In a 2011 Pew Research Center survey, 43% said it was “mainly because of their own hard work, ambition or education,” versus 46% who said it was “they know the right people or were born into wealthy families.” And over the many years Pew Research has asked the question, between 85% and 90% of Americans say they “admire people who get rich by working hard.”

Interestingly, one U.S. billionaire who’s not in the Bloomberg visualization, even though his estimated $27 billion fortune ranks him 13th on Forbes’ billionaires list: New York City mayor and Bloomberg LP founder Michael Bloomberg.

Category: Chart of the Week

Topics: Wealth

  1. Photo of Drew DeSilver

    is a Senior Writer at the Pew Research Center.

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