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U.S. sets record in Forbes' 'Billionaires 2019'; Bezos, Gates top list

By
Nicholas Sakelaris
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos speaks at The Economic Club Milestone Celebration Dinner in Washington, D.C., on September 13, 2018. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos speaks at The Economic Club Milestone Celebration Dinner in Washington, D.C., on September 13, 2018. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

March 5 (UPI) -- The number of billionaires in the world and their total net worth have dwindled in 2019 for the second year in a row, Forbes said Tuesday in its annual list of wealthiest billionaires.

Nearly 250 people who made the list in 2018 did not make this year's list -- the greatest drop since 2009 that's allowed others to climb the ranks. President Donald Trump is still listed, and even moved up 51 spots to become the world's 715th-richest person -- although his net worth stayed relatively flat.

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With a net worth of $3.1 billion, Trump is the richest politician in Washington, D.C., but not the wealthiest public servant. JB Pritzker took that title in January when he became governor of Illinois, with a net worth of $3.2 billion.

Collectively, the billionaires' net worth total $8.7 trillion, Forbes said -- a decline of $400 billion from a year ago.

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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos remains the world's richest billionaire, for the second year in a row, with a total worth of $131 billion -- an increase of $112 billion over last year. He was the first billionaire to top $100 billion last year and has gained another $19 billion so far this year. His total net worth, though, could soon be scaled down due to a pending divorce. Forbes said his wife Mackenzie could be entitled to half of Bezos' assets, which would make her the richest woman in the world.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates is ranked No. 2 with $96.5 billion. He held the top spot for 12 of the last 18 years. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg ranks 8th ($62.3 billion) -- falling out of the top 5 spot he held last year. Others in the top 10 are investor Warren Buffett ($82.5B), French magnate Bernard Arnault ($76B), Mexican businessman Carlos Slim Helu ($64B), Spanish businessman Amancio Ortega ($62.7B), Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison ($62.5B), businessman Michael Bloomberg ($55.5B) and Google co-founder Larry Page ($50.8B).

There were 195 newcomers to the list, including Chinese businessman Colin Huang, Spotify co-founders Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon, Juul Labs' James Monsees and Adam Bowen. The youngest billionaire was 21-year-old cosmetics magnate Kylie Jenner.

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The Asia-Pacific region saw 60 fewer billionaires on the 2019 list than it did last year, with the majority being from China. Europe and the Middle East also lost ground. The United States gained ground -- setting a Forbes record with 609 billionaires on the list.

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