Bill Gates topped Forbes‘ 2015 billionaires list, and the other top names will look equally familiar, including Carlos Slim Helu (No. 2) and Warren Buffett (up to No. 3 this year, and the biggest gainer on the list). Elsewhere, though, the list contained plenty of shakeups and new faces.
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Without a doubt, Michael Jordan is the most famous newcomer on the list. Jordan’s wealth comes his brand with Nike and his $500 million stake in the Charlotte Hornets.
China topped the ranks for most newcomers, with 71 or a quarter of the 290 total. The U.S. was next, with 57 new billionaires, then India (28), and Germany (23).
Meanwhile, bad press wasn’t enough to sink the fortunes of the folks behind up-and-coming digital brands: Uber founders Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick, and former CEO Ryan Graves, all joined the list, despite a year plagued with news stories about privacy concerns, alleged assaults by drivers, and an incident at a dinner party in which an executive suggested hiring opposition researchers to target journalists who printed unflattering stories about the company. Airbnb creators Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk, and Joe Gebbia all joined this list as well, despite battles to keep their business operational in New York, where renting out an entire apartment may violate the city’s illegal hotels law.
The Youngest of the Young
Forty-six were under age 40 — a record number. Three are even under 30: Snapchat co-founders Evan Spiegel (24) and Bobby Murphy (25) made the list, along with beer heir Julio Mario Santo Domingo (29). At age 31, Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is the youngest female billionaire on the list, while Mark Zuckerberg is the richest young billionaire, with a net worth of $33.4 billion.
Poor Little Billionaires
Although the aggregate net worth of the billionaires increased from $6.4 trillion in 2014 to $7.05 trillion in 2015, the average net worth of each billionaire decreased by $60 million to $3.86 billion. Before you shed a tear for the struggling 1 percent of the 1 percent, however, recall that the addition of 290 newcomers to the list, as well as the record-breaking 1,826 total billionaires included, means that averages are bound to dip.
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