Who is the richest person in the world?
Extreme wealth can be extremely volatile; just look at the huge shifts reflected in the latest definitive list of the world’s richest people. Two men have been booted. A few more have seen their fortunes plummet. But a large number of moguls also saw their wealth soar, even as income inequality grew more dramatic and a pandemic ravaged the world.
Every year, Forbes attempts to quantify and rank the world’s richest people with its annual billionaires list. In April 2022, it released its latest rundown. Here’s a countdown of the 20 richest people on the planet by net worth as of spring 2022, as well as a look at who was bounced from Forbes’ 2021 list.
19. (TIE) Zhao Changpeng (Canada)
Chief executive officer, Binance
Net worth: $66.2 billion
Crypto has entered the club
Zhao Changpeng is chief executive officer of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.
He’s a Chinese-Canadian coder who goes by “CZ.”
19. (TIE) Rob Walton (U.S.)
Net worth: $65 billion
Scion of Walmart
Rob Walton is the oldest son of Sam, the founder of Walmart.
Walton and his wife, Melani, are major donors in a proposed project to build the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library in Medora, North Dakota.
18. Alice Walton (U.S.)
Net worth: $65.3 billion
A medical school for the 21st century
In spring of 2021, Alice Walton announced a plan to build a state-of-the-art medical school in Bentonville, Arkansas.
The project, called the Whole Health School of Medicine and Health Sciences, is scheduled to break ground in 2022.
17. Zhong Shanshan (China)
Founder and chairman of Nongfu Spring bottled water and beverage company
Net worth: $65.7 billion
A big paycheck
In September 2020, Nongfu’s initial public offering more than doubled Zhong’s wealth.
Once again with fizz
He is the richest person in China, according to Forbes.
Here, bottles of soda water produced by the beverage company Nongfu Spring are displayed for sale at a supermarket on June 29, 2021 in Shanghai, China.
16. Jim Walton (U.S.)
Walmart heir; chairman and CEO, Arvest Bank Group, Inc.
Net worth: $66.2 billion
Giving away a billion
Jim Walton is the youngest son of Walmart founder Sam Walton.
Seen here with siblings Rob (left) and Alice, Jim Walton gave away $1.2 billion worth of his Walmart stock in 2019. He reportedly gave it to several charities, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
15. Mark Zuckerberg (U.S.)
Founder, chairman and CEO, Meta (formerly Facebook)
Net worth: $67.3 billion
Taking a fall
In the past year, the fortunes of the Facebook founder have taken a hit.
A whistleblower came forward to accuse his company of misleading the public about how it handles disinformation and hate speech. And investors have given a cool reception to Zuckerberg’s plans for the company’s future.
An increasingly private island
In March 2021, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, reportedly bought 600 acres on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
Combined with their existing 700-acre property on the island, the pair now owns more than 2 square miles of land, or 2.5% of Kauai’s land mass.
14. Francoise Bettencourt Meyers (France)
Chairwoman of family’s L’Oréal holdings and granddaughter of L’Oréal’s founder
Net worth: $74.8 billion
World’s richest woman
One of the richest women in the world — and the richest on this list — Bettencourt Meyers, together with her family, owns 33% of the cosmetics company L’Oreal.
In 2019, the juggernaut logged its best sales growth in more than a decade.
13. Carlos Slim Helu & family (Mexico)
Honorary chairman, América Móvil
Net worth: $81.2 billion
A new way of thinking
Slim Helu has gone a bit further.
He has argued for a three-day workweek. The catch: People would have to work 11-hour days, a trade-off that he says will generate huge benefits for workers and employers.
12. Michael Bloomberg (U.S.)
Co-founder, Bloomberg L.P.
Net worth: $82 billion
In 2020, the former New York City mayor poured roughly $1 billion into a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, including $275 million on anti-Trump advertising.
He dropped out of the race in March 2020, endorsing frontrunner Joe Biden and transferring his remaining campaign cash to the Democratic Party.
11. Gautam Adani and family (India)
Founder, Adani Group
Net worth: $90. billion
Controlling a port
Along with his family, Adani controls India’s largest port, in his home state of Gujarat, shown here.
He also owns stakes in an airport, a mine and other ventures.
10. Mukesh Ambani (India)
Chairman of Reliance Industries
Net worth: $90.7 billion
What a wedding!
In 2018, Ambani’s daughter, Isha, married in Mumbai in an extravaganza that reportedly cost $100 million.
Beyonce reportedly performed for the new couple.
9. Steve Ballmer (U.S.)
Former CEO of Microsoft; current owner of the Los Angeles Clippers
Net worth: $91.4 billion
Rooting for the Clippers
Once known as Microsoft’s 30th employee, Ballmer ran the company from 2000 to 2014.
He now spends most of his time minding his Los Angeles basketball team. In April 2022, Ballmer’s Los Angeles landmark Forum Sports and Entertainment Arena in Inglewood got a new name, Kia Forum.
8. Larry Ellison (U.S.)
Net worth: $106 billion
Buying an island
Ellison reportedly lives on the Hawaiian island of Lanai… most of which he bought outright in 2012.
In 2018. Ellison took a seat on the board of Tesla.
7. Sergey Brin (U.S.)
Controlling shareholder, Alphabet Inc.
Net worth: $107 billion
Alphabet is the parent company of Google. Brin and fellow billionaire Larry Page co-founded Google in 1998, while the two were Ph.D. students at Stanford.
In 2019, Brin retired as president of Alphabet, but he remains a board member and employee.
6. Larry Page (U.S.)
Controlling shareholder, Alphabet Inc.
Net worth: $111 billion
Come fly with me?
Like many tech execs, Page has peeled off a portion of his wealth and put it into futuristic startups.
For example, he’s a founding investor in space exploration company Planetary Resources. He’s also funding “flying car” startups called Kitty Hawk and Opener.
5. Warren Buffett (U.S.)
CEO, Berkshire Hathaway
Net worth: $118 billion
A new tax?
Buffett has said he believes America’s wealthiest should pay more in taxes. There are almost 30,000 families in the U.S. with assets of more than $100 million, Buffett’s among them.
A newly proposed tax would also hit America’s roughly 700 billionaires; these households would be subject to a new minimum tax of 20%, ensuring they don’t pay lower tax rates than many lower- and middle-income Americans.
4. Bill Gates (U.S.)
Net worth: $129 billion
A high-profile divorce
In May 2021, Bill and Melinda French Gates announced they were divorcing after 27 years of marriage.
French Gates later opened up about the breakup: “As I said, it’s not one thing, it was many things. But I did not like that he’d had meetings with Jeffrey Epstein, no.”
3. Bernard Arnault & family (France)
Chairman and CEO, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton
Net worth: $158 billion
Going all-in on LVMH
Already a controlling shareholder in the French luxury goods company that owns Louis Vuitton, Arnault recently spent $538 million to further invest in the burgeoning LVMH stock.
His fashion and beauty empire includes about 70 brands.
2. Jeff Bezos (U.S.)
Net worth: $171 billion
A step down
The new ranking marks a step down for Bezos, who was No. 1 on the 2021 list.
Bezos also took a different kind of step down in 2021; he left his position as Amazon CEO to become executive chairman in July 2021.
1. Elon Musk (U.S.)
CEO of Tesla and SpaceX
Net worth: $219 billion
A lucrative pandemic
Musk made big news in April 2022 after announcing takeover plans for a major social media platform.
The Tesla CEO recently got approval from Twitter board members to buy the social media platform.
BOOTED: Ma Huateng (China)
Chairman of Tencent Holdings
Over the past year his wealth has plummeted from $65.8 billion to $37.2 billion — still a lot of money, but he no longer makes Forbes’ list.
Tencent stock took a hit in 2021, partly on speculation that the company might face a Chinese government crackdown. Tencent Holding is the operator of the popular WeChat message system
BOOTED: Amancio Ortega (Spain)
Over the past year, the wealth of the fashion pioneer fell from $77 billion to $59.6 billion.