The Richest People on Earth

The annual Forbes list ranking the world’s billionaires according to their net worth was revealed yesterday by the leading business magazine. The previous year was particularly successful for the richest people on Earth, as the number of billionaires rose by 13% percent, from 1,810 to 2,043, and major increases in wealth were registered in numerous cases. Among them was Microsoft founder Bill Gates, whose net worth rose from $75bn to $86bn, keeping him in the top position which he has been occupying for 4 consecutive years. The business magnate has in fact been dominating the Forbes list for the past 23 years, during which he emerged as the richest person in the world on eighteen occasions.

The growth in the global billionaire population is the biggest in 31 years, since Forbes started compiling the list. In terms of nationality, of the 2,043 billionaires, 565 were American, a large number which Forbes explained by means of the stock market surge triggered by the election of Donald Trump in November 2016. The country with the second most numerous representatives on the so-called ‘rich list’ was China (319), while Germany came in third (114). Among the 195 newcomers to the ranking, it was China that reigned supreme. There was also a significant increase in the number of female billionaires, which went up from 202 to 227, with most of the new entrants to the list coming from Asia. Just like in 2016, the world’s richest woman was Liliane Bettencourt, the heiress of L’Oreal Cosmetics, with a net worth of $39.5bn.

The biggest increase in net worth was that of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, whose fortune grew by $27.6bn in just one year, propelling him from 5th place in 2016 to 3rd in 2017. On the other hand, Donald Trump plunged 220 spots on the list, now occupying 554th place with $3.5bn after a loss of $1bn. Experts believe that the fall was caused by the slow US property market, the expenses of the presidential campaign and the $25m which he paid to settle a series of lawsuits related to the former Trump University.

The annual Forbes Billionaires list comprises individuals, and not multigenerational families which share fortunes among their members. The wealth of the spouse or children is only included if the billionaire is the founder of the fortune. Royalty and dictators, whose wealth is given by their positions, are not taken into consideration in the compilation of the list.


English-German glossary

to rank (ˈræŋk) = aufstellen

billionaire (ˌbɪljəˈneə(r)) = Milliardär/Milliardärin

net worth (net wɜːθ) = Eigenkapital

wealth (welθ) = Vermögen

to emerge (iˈmɜːdʒ) = hervorgehen

to compile (kəmˈpaɪl) = zusammenstellen

stock market (stɒk ˈmɑːkɪt) = Aktienmarkt

surge (sɜːdʒ) = Anstieg

to trigger (ˈtrɪɡə(r)) = einleiten

to reign supreme (reɪn suːˈpriːm) = absolut herrschen

entrant (ˈentrənt) = Eintretender

heiress (ˈeəres) = Erbin

fortune (ˈfɔːtʃuːn) = Vermögen

to propel (prəˈpel) = antreiben

to plunge (plʌndʒ) = fallen

property market (ˈprɒpəti ˈmɑːkɪt) = Immobilienmarkt

expense (ɪkˈspens) = Kosten

to settle (ˈsetl) sth = etw erledigen

lawsuit (ˈlɔːsuːt) = Prozess

to comprise (kəmˈpraɪz) = umfassen

spouse (spaʊs) = Ehegatte/Ehegattin

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