The ultra-rich are getting richer. And they're growing in number.
The world’s billionaires are worth a total of $3.5 trillion, as strong equity markets, real estate, and commodity prices boosted wealth by $900 billion over the past year, according to Forbes’ annual Billionaires List released Thursday.
Ten-figure membership jumped to a record 946, up 153 from 2006. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates tops the list for the 13th straight year, followed by investment guru Warren Buffett. Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu, at No. 3, boasts the biggest one-year gain--$19 billion--over the past decade.
Two-thirds of last year’s billionaires are richer this year, with net worths up for every member of the top 50. The few exceptions include Paul Allen, whose $4 billion loss pushed him out of the top ten, and fellow tech giant Michael Dell, who plunged 18 spots after losing $1.3 billion. BET founder Robert Johnson and AOL’s Stephen Case are among those who made a comeback after falling from the list.