Jeff Bezos' wealth is now equal to 2.3 million Americans'

David Carrig
Jeff Bezos, Amazon
Lindsey Wasson | Reuters

Just how wealthy is Jeff Bezos?

It would take the combined wealth of 2.3 million Americans to equal the $127 billion that the Amazon co-founder is now estimated to be worth.

Bezos took the top spot on Forbes' world's billionaires list for the first time ever with a net worth of $112 billion at the end of 2017, leaping past Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett.

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The steep rise in Amazon's shares have made him America's only centi-billionaire by amassing over $100 billion in wealth. And his wealth just keeps growing.

Since the beginning of the year, he has made billions more and is now worth an estimated $127 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Get used to that term. The number of centi-billionaires may be on the rise with Bezos first topping that milestone in November and Gates close behind with about $90 billion.

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A new report produced by the digital marketing firm Aira for industrial components distributor RS Components tries to visualize that wealth, comparing $100 billion to the gross domestic product of the world's richest nations.

"Bezos has seen his wealth remain in excess of $100 billion, and with the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg also tipped to reach that eye-watering milestone, it seems we're entering the era of the centi-billionaire," Vishal Chhatralia, vice president digital operations for RS Components said in a statement.

In the U.S., where a population of about 320 million contributed to gross domestic product of $19 trillion last year, the median wealth of an American was $55,876, according to the 2017 Credit Suisse's Global Wealth Report.

That means it would take the combined wealth of 1.8 million Americans to equal the $100 billion of a centi-billionaire and 2.3 million to hit the $127 billion of Jeff Bezos.

In the world's second-largest economy, it would take the combined wealth of 19 million Chinese adults with a median wealth of $6,689 to reach $127 billion. Here is how it breaks down for the top five countries based on GDP:

Bezos' gains come as shares of the online retailing giant have continued to soar even as the broader stock market took a nose-dive in February that resulted in the first correction — defined as a drop of 10 percent or more — for the Standard & Poor's 500 index in two years.

Amazon's stock is at a record high and is up about 31 percent for the year compared to a 2 percent gain for the S&P 500. Amazon rose 4 percent in February while the broader market tumbled almost 4 percent.

What does Bezos plan on doing with his money?

Bezos, unlike other billionaires such as Gates, Buffett and Zuckerberg, who have pledged to give most of their wealth away in their lifetime, has not said what he will do with his fortune.

In January, he and his wife donated $33 million to TheDream.US, a scholarship fund to allow 1,000 undocumented immigrant high school graduates with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status attend college. Bezos' father came alone to the United States from Cuba when he was 16 as part of Operation Pedro Pan.

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In December, Bezos gave $250,000 to the U.S. branch of the international press freedom watchdog group Reporters Without Borders so it could open an office in San Francisco.

In 2015, he and his wife donated $15 million to their alma mater, Princeton University. His family has also donated $35 million to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and $10 million to the Museum of History & Industry, both in Seattle.

The place to watch could be Bezos' space exploration company, Blue Origin. He has said he plans to sell $1 billion a year in Amazon stock to fund the company. While it currently is more focused on commercial and tourist uses for space, Bezos' vision is that it will create a low-cost space platform that could launch a technological revolution to rival the Internet.

That will be necessary to save the Earth, because without being able to expand into space, human civilization will have to contract, he said at a conference in Los Angeles in November.

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This article originally appeared on USA Today.

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