The number of billionaires globally reached 2,825 in 2019, an 8.5% or 221 increase from 2018, according to the latest edition of the Wealth-X Billionaire Census 2020 issued on Tuesday.
According to the report, the billionaires’ combined wealth rose 10.3% year-over-year to a total of US$9.4 trillion in 2019.
China recorded the strongest growth in billionaire population and combined wealth.
The strong growth of the billionaire numbers last year was primarily attributable to a high performance in the financial markets, the Wealth-X said.
There were more billionaires in Europe - 847 total - than any other region in the world in 2019, followed closely by North America, which had 834. But the combined net worth of North America’s billionaires, which was $3.5 trillion, far surpassed that of the Europe’s at $2.5 trillion.
The U.S. and China remained the top two countries with the most billionaires. The U.S. accounted for 788 billionaires in 2019, while China had 342. The two countries also each accounted for three of the top 15 cities with the largest number of billionaires.
The report also researched how the billionaires fared so far in 2020, given the dramatic COVID-19 pandemic and its profound impacts on the global economy and stock markets. A preliminary analysis showed that over half of the primary industry groups recorded a decline in both their billionaire population and cumulative wealth over the first five months this year, according to the Wealth-X.