This year Forbes has uncovered a record 1,426 billionaires. That is 200 more than we found in 2012, another record breaking year. It’s also nearly ten times as many as Forbes pinned down in 1987, the year we began tracking fortunes around the world.
[More from Forbes: Billionaire Newcomers]
The group is worth $5.4 trillion, an astounding 17% jump from a year ago. The average net worth of a Forbes billionaire is $3.8 billion, $100 million more than a year ago. More than two-thirds of the world’s richest added to their fortunes. Only 259 from last year’s list are poorer than a year ago. Sixty dropped out of the ranks, including Zynga’s Mark Pincus and former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon. Another 8 passed away.
Mexico’s Carlos Slim is the richest person in the world for the fourth year in a row, followed by Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates. At number three for the first time is Spaniard Amancio Ortega, founder of fast fashion phenom Zara. He is worth $57 billion, up $19.5 billion, making him the year’s biggest gainer. Legendary investor Warren Buffett slips to number 4, the first time since 2000 that he hasn’t been among the top 3. L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt moves back into the top 10 for the first time since 1999 and reclaims the title of world’s richest woman.
[More from Forbes: The World's Youngest Billionaires]
Among the notable newcomers were founders of some of the world’s hottest brands – such as Dolce & Gabbana, Tory Burch and Chobani yogurt, as well as the first ever billionaires from Angola, Guernsey, Nepal, Swaziland and Vietnam.
Top 10 Billionaires:
No. 1 Carlos Slim Helu & family
Net Worth: $73 billion (UP)
— World's richest man for the fourth year in a row.
— Net worth up $4 billion versus 2012 but still $1 billion shy of his all-time record; boost came from surging stock prices at his financial arm, Grupo Financiero Inbursa, and at his Grupo Carso industrial and retail giant.
— Pan-Latin American mobile telecom outfit America Movil remains his most valuable holding at $36.3 billion; the company spread its wings to Europe in the past year, buying pieces of Dutch telecom company KPN and Telekom Austria.
— Bought a majority of struggling Spanish soccer team Real Oviedo.
— Latin America’s most generous person, his foundation pledged to translate into Spanish 1,000 videos from the Khan Academy education nonprofit website. Slim also hosted Bill Gates in late February; the two men announced they are funding research to improve farmers' yields and reduce hunger.
No. 2 Bill Gates
Net worth: $67 billion (UP)
— World's biggest philanthropist has given away $28 billion, the vast majority of it to his foundation, which is working to eradicate such diseases as polio and malaria.
— Net worth is up by $6 billion vs. March 2012 due to gains in his investment portfolio. Holdings include tech hygiene firm Ecolab and Mexican Coke bottler FEMSA, both up more than 20% in the past year.
— Microsoft stock -- he owns about 5% of the company -- accounts for just 18% of his net worth.
— In February the first 12 non-Americans joined Bill Gates’ and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge, in which the ultra-wealthy pledge to give away at least half their net worth to charity. New pledgers include Richard Branson of the U.K. and India’s Azim Premji.
— Gates recently said the only thing left on his bucket list was, "Don't die."
No. 3 Amancio Ortega
Net worth: $57 billion (UP)
— Year’s biggest gainer: fortune up $19.5 billion.
— Moves to number 3, up from number 5 richest last year. Now ahead of Warren Buffett.
— Driving the jump is a more than 50% rise in value of Inditex shares; Ortega, who stepped down as the firm’s chairman in 2011, still owns nearly 60% of the shares.
— He also has real estate portfolio, estimated to be worth more than $4 billion, that includes iconic Torre Picasso, a 43-story skyscraper in Madrid (Google is a tenant), plus properties in Madrid, London, Chicago, San Francisco and New York.
No. 4 Warren Buffett
Net worth: $53.5 billion (UP)
Source: Berkshire Hathaway
— Year’s second biggest gainer added $9.5 billion to his fortune as Berkshire Hathaway shares rose 26% year over year.
— First time he’s not among top 3 richest since 2000.
— Investors applaud his dealmaking savvy, and this year was no exception as he made a couple of notable moves: in February, announced a deal with Brazilian billionaire Jorge Paulo Lemann's 3G Capital to snap up iconic ketchup producer H.J. Heinz Co. for $23.2 billion; bought Oriental Trading in November 2012.
— World’s second most generous person, he gave $1.5 billion to the Gates Foundation in July 2012, bringing his lifetime giving to nearly $17.3 billion. On his birthday in August 2012 Buffett pledged $3 billion of stock to his children's foundations.
No. 5 Larry Ellison
Net worth: $43 billion (UP)
— Software mogul is $7 billion richer than a year ago, thanks to more than 20% jump in the value of Oracle stock.
— In June he bought 98% of Hawaiian island of Lanai from billionaire David Murdock for a reported $500 million.
— Just recently bought Island Air, a Hawaiian airline. Purchase price was not disclosed.
— Continues to buy property in Malibu.
— Gearing up for the America’s Cup yacht races in San Francisco later in 2013.
— Supports the Ellison Medical Foundation, which does research on aging and age-related diseases. Gave $45 million worth of Oracle shares to the foundation in April 2012.
No. 6 Charles Koch | No. 6 David Koch
Net worth: $34 billion (UP)
— World’s richest siblings added $9 billion apiece to their fortunes over the past year.
— They own a combined 84% of Koch Industries, country’s second largest private company with $115 billion in estimated sales, up 15% in the past year.
— Also got boost from improving operations at Georgia Pacific, maker of Angel Soft and Quilted Northern toilet paper, Brawny paper towels, and Dixie cups. Sold more than $1 billion worth of toilet paper in 2011.
— David, who runs the chemical technology side of Koch Industries, is the richest New Yorker.
— Things didn’t go so well on the political front as brothers failed in their quest to unseat Barack Obama from the White House ("Bitterly disappointing," he told Forbes in an interview after the election).
No. 8 Li Ka-shing
Net worth: $31 billion (UP)
Citizenship: Hong Kong
— Once again Asia’s richest person and the only one from the region among the world’s top 20 richest.
— His fortune jumped $5.5 billion to $31 billion, as shares of his biggest holdings, Cheung Kong, Hutchison Whampoa and Husky Energy, all rose more than 10%. He also received 2012 dividends of $860 million.
— Li's businesses employ 260,000 people around the world in 52 countries.
— Li-controlled companies bought British gas supplier Wales & West Utilities for $1 billion in October; his third utilities acquisition in the U.K. in 24 months. He now supplies gas to a quarter of all Brits.
— Investor in such tech outfits as Facebook, Spotify, and social TV platform Stevie.
No. 9 Liliane Bettencourt
Net worth: $30 billion (UP)
— Heiress to L’Oreal cosmetics fortune jumps to 9th richest in 2013 from 15th richest last year, thanks to a more than 30% rise in the price of L’Oreal stock. Her net worth is $6 billion higher than a year ago.
— Now the world’s richest woman. She last cracked the top 10 in 1999.
— Her father founded L’Oreal. Bettencourt and her family own more than 30% of the company.
— Bettencourt’s assets were placed under the guardianship of her daughter in 2011 after a three-year legal battle. Bettencourt, widowed and age 90, suffers from dementia. Her grandson, Jean-Victor Meyers, took her spot on the L’Oreal board in February 2012.
No. 10 Bernard Arnault
Net worth: $29 billion (DOWN)
— Falls from no. 4 in world to no. 10 due to more information about his ownership stake.
— Also a factor: Forbes now values his direct stake in Christian Dior, which in turn has a 41% stake in LVMH and trades at a near 20% discount to the underlying shares; previously we had valued the shares in LVMH.
— LVMH shares rose more than 6%; U.S. sales grew at a faster rate than sales in Asia region in the fourth quarter.
— Arnault denied reports that his request for Belgian citizenship last year was related to the country’s tax policies.
— It was announced in October that he will be knighted for his services in the U.K.