Billionaire Population Declines In 2016

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The billionaire population suffered a 3.1 percent decline in 2016 after a monumental high in 2015, marking the first fall since the financial crisis. According to the report from Wealth-X, 2016 saw a total of 2,397 members in the global billionaires club, with a collective wealth totalling US$7.4 trillion.

The Asia-Pacific region took a big hit with a 7 percent loss; Hong Kong in particular had a staggering 19 percent of its billionaires lose their status. Russia also suffered a significant shrinkage of 15 percent of its billionaires.

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Despite so, other parts of the world had a more optimistic 2016. A strengthening dollar and a thriving stock market are in line with the U.S. reporting a healthy 6 percent increase in its billionaire population. The Middle East also had a reasonable 1.8 percent growth, given the stabilization of oil prices following a volatile start to the year.

The report highlights a massive disparity between female and male billionaires with only one female billionaire for every seven male billionaires. Indeed, of the 2,397 billionaires in the world, only 272 are women.

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Of the main industries reported in the Wealth-X study, Banking, Industrial conglomerates and Real Estate made the top three, while the most billionaires in the world call the U.S., China, Germany, Russia and the U.K. home.

Billionaires in the tech sector are reportedly worth an average of US$2 billion higher than the worth of the average billionaire at US$5.2 billion, with approximately half younger than 50.

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