With 1,645 billionaires, 172 of which are women, and an aggregate net worth of $1.64 billion, this year’s Billionaire List is the biggest yet, Forbes announced today.
The list includes 268 new billionaires from across the globe including four countries that have never had a billionaire before.
Topping the list after a four-year break is Microsoft mogul Bill Gates with an estimated worth of $76 billion. Forbes credited Gates’ return to the top spot to a bounce in Microsoft shares and a leadership shakeup at the software company.
Gates isn’t all about making money, though. He seems to like giving it away. In December, one lucky Reddit user received a secret santa gift from Gates when he donated a cow to Heifer International in her name.
The known philanthropist continues his foundation’s efforts to eradicate polio, even eliciting donations from his fellow billionaires. He has also worked to convince other mega-rich individuals to promise to donate at least half of their net worth to charity by sign the Giving Pledge. Now, that’s networking at its finest.
Last year’s top billionaire, Mexican mining and telecom owner, Carlos Slim Helu, fell to No.2 this year. But we’re sure his $72 billion is a nice consolation prize.
Amancio Ortega is the world’s richest retailer and No. 3 on the list with a net worth of $64 billion. The Spaniard is best known for his Zara brand.
Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett checks into the list at No. 4 with a net worth of $58.2 billion. There’s still time to get a piece of Buffett’s fortune, that is if you can create the perfect March Madness Bracket.
Rounding out the top five is San Franciscan and Oracle Corporation CEO Larry Ellison with $48 billion.
The first woman on the list shows up at No. 8 in form of Christy Walton, of the Wal-Mart Waltons. Christy Walton has boosted her net worth to $36.7 billion, well past her family members.
Countries appearing on the list for the first time include Lithuania with food and pharmaceuticals retailer Nerijus Numavicius, Tanzania with telecom investor Rostam Azizi, Algeria with food sales businessman Issad Rebrab and Uganda with real estate conglomerate founder Sudhir Ruparelia.