The global billionaire population rose by 7% in 2014, with 155 new billionaires pushing the total population to 2,325, according research firm Wealth-X and Swiss banking giant UBS AG.
In a new report, the firms note that the combined wealth of the world’s billionaires increased by 12% last year to US$7.3 trillion, which is greater than the combined market capitalization of all the companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
By region, Europe leads the way with 775 of the world’s billionaires; and, it has now surpassed North America as home to the largest share of billionaire wealth, US$2.37 trillion worth. Although, the country with the largest number of billionaires remains the United States, with 571 billionaires in 2014, followed by China with 190, and the United Kingdom at 130.
The biggest increase in billionaire wealth came in Asia, where combined wealth is up 18.7% over the past year. The region is also responsible for 30% of the net increase in global billionaire wealth in 2014, the report notes. Asia’s billionaire population also grew faster than the global average, rising by 10% in 2014, with 52 new entrants, including 33 from China.
The report also says that the average billionaire’s wealth rose by 4.4% this year to just over US$3.1 billion. Their average age is 63, and they are overwhelmingly male, with men accounting for 87.7% of the world’s total billionaire wealth.