Walmart heiress Alice Walton retakes top 'Forbes' spot as world's richest woman

David Carrig
Alice Walton at the Metropolitan Club on November 1, 2016 in New York City.
Sylvain Gaboury | Getty Images

The number of female billionaires in the world is up more than 12 percent as a record 256 women made it on to the Forbes 2018 billionaires list, up from 227 last year.

That beats the 7.5 percent rise in the number of male billionaires, but in terms of actual numbers it still pales in comparison as 1,952 men made the list this year. Women make up just 12 percent of the list.

The total net worth of female billionaires rose 20 percent and topped $1 trillion, outpacing the 18 percent total gains overall, according to Forbes.

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Alice Walton, daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, moved back into the top spot as the world's richest woman with a net worth of $46 billion.

On the list of world billionaires overall, the first 15 entries on the list are men. Her net worth is less than half of the No. 1 person on the list, Amazon co-founder Jeff Bezos, whose net worth Forbes estimated at $112 billion.

On the list of women, Walton replaces L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, who died in September 2017. Bettencourt's daughter, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, is listed second with a fortune of $42.2 billion.

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Here are the top 10 women billionaires, the source of their money, net worth, rank on the overall billionaires list (in parentheses) and country of citizenship:

  1. Alice Walton (Walmart): $46 billion (16) U.S.
  2. Francoise Bettencourt Meyers (L'Oreal): $42.2 billion (18) France
  3. Susanne Klatten (BMW, pharmaceuticals): $25 billion (32) Germany
  4. Jacqueline Mars (candy, pet food): $23.6 billion (34) U.S.
  5. Yang Huiyan (real estate): $21.9 billion (43) – China
  6. Laurene Powell Jobs (Apple, Disney): $18.8 billion (58) U.S.
  7. Gina Rinehart (mining): $17.4 billion (69) Australia
  8. Iris Fontbona (mining): $16.3 billion (80) Chile
  9. Abigail Johnson (money management): $15.9 billion (83) U.S.
  10. Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken (Heineken): $15.8 billion (86) Netherlands

See the full list: The world's women billionaires

The majority of women on the entire list inherited their fortunes but the number of women that are self-made billionaires jumped 29 percent to a record 72.

Among the top 10 wealthiest women, eight inherited their fortunes and two —Rinehart and Johnson — received a family business and substantially grew it, according to Forbes' Jennifer Wang.

The richest self-made woman on the list: Hong Kong's Zhou Qunfei, founder of smartphone screen maker Lens Technology. She ranked 198 on the list with a net worth of $7.8 billion.

With $5.5 billion, the wealthiest female American entrepreneur is Diane Hendricks. Coming in at No. 334, Hendricks built roofing giant ABC Supply with her late husband and has presided over their empire since his death in 2007, Wang said.

The U.S. has the most women billionaires with 82, Germany is second with 33 and China has 30.

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This article originally appears on USA Today.

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