World's richest 500 people saw their wealth jump 25 percent in 2019

World's richest 500 people saw their wealth jump 25 percent in 2019
© Greg Nash

In 2019, the world's richest 500 people saw their collective net worth jump by 25 percent or $1.2 trillion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index published Friday.

Combined, the collective net worth of the world's 500 wealthiest individuals totaled $5.9 trillion. American billionaires alone added $500 billion to their wealth, with Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergWe haven't seen how low it can go Hillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok Facebook considering ban on political ads: reports MORE gaining $27.3 billion and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates adding $22.7 billion.

According to Bloomberg, just 52 people on the list saw their fortunes decline in 2019. One of those billionaires is Amazon's Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosJeff Bezos's wealth hits record high 1B How competition will make the new space race flourish Just because Democrats are paranoid about the election doesn't mean there aren't problems MORE, whose worth dropped by $9 billion, though Bloomberg notes the decline is largely due to his divorce settlement, and Bezos still ends 2019 as the world's richest person.

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The new report comes as wealth disparity remains a hot topic in the election and a growing source of frustration for many.

A report earlier this year found that income inequality in the United States is at its highest point since data started being collected more than 50 years ago. Another report from this year found that the poorest Americans saw their income decline 7 percent over the past 15 years, while everyone else gained financially.
Progressive lawmakers have recently called for tougher tax policies for the ultra-rich; Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezIn politics, as in baseball, it ain't over till it's over Goya CEO dismisses critics for praise of Trump: 'I'm not apologizing' Trump tweets his support for Goya Foods amid boycott MORE (D-N.Y.) called for people to "tax the rich" as Democrats argued over Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenIn politics, as in baseball, it ain't over till it's over Trump defends Roger Stone move: He was target of 'Witch Hunt' Democrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' MORE's (D-Mass.) tax proposal at a primary debate in October.

Warren has made a wealth tax a centerpiece of her campaign. The proposal calls for imposing a 2 percent tax on the wealth of people with more than $50 million in assets, while those with assets more than $1 billion would face a 3 percent tax.  

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden wins Puerto Rico primary In politics, as in baseball, it ain't over till it's over Biden wins Louisiana primary MORE (I-Vt.) has long fought against income inequality, writing in an op-ed in 2014 that it is "the issue of our time."

“We make no apologies in stating that the great moral, economic and political issue of our time is the growing level of income and wealth inequality in our nation,” Sanders wrote.

The increase in billionaires' wealth also comes in the first full year since the passage of the Republican tax law.

A report by the Congressional Research Service in May of this year said the tax law's effect was smaller on the economy than many forecasters had predicted and growth was not consistent "with the direction and size of the supply-side incentive effects one would expect from the tax changes."