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World's richest people added $1.8T to their combined wealth in 2020

World's richest people added $1.8T to their combined wealth in 2020

The world’s 500 richest people added approximately $1.8 trillion to their combined wealth in 2020, bringing them to a total net worth of $7.6 trillion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index

Bloomberg noted that the 31 percent increase, which came even amid the economic crisis spurred by the coronavirus pandemic, is the largest annual gain in the index’s eight-year history. 

The growth mainly reached those at the very top, where five people now each hold more than $100 billion, with another 20 individuals each worth at least $50 billion. 

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At the top of Bloomberg’s index is Amazon founder and CEO Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosCivil rights groups urge lawmakers to crack down on Amazon's 'dangerous' worker surveillance The tax code's Achilles' heel is surprisingly popular — and that's a problem for taxing the rich Overnight Energy: Lake Mead's decline points to scary water future in West | White House leads opposition to raising gas tax | Biden taps ex-New Mexico lawmaker for USDA post MORE with approximately $190 billion. The tech company profited highly amid the pandemic as lockdowns and health restrictions forced more people to turn to online shopping. 

Tesla founder and CEO Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskNASA's sudden interest in Venus is all about climate change Press: Even Jeff Bezos should pay income taxes Democrats face new pressure to raise taxes MORE saw the greatest wealth increase in 2020, which Bloomberg reported was potentially the fastest wealth creation in history. 

Now worth $170 billion, Musk first surpassed Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates for the title of second-richest person in the world in November.

Musk’s increase in wealth was largely driven by Tesla, which as of Saturday has a market value of nearly $670 billion. About three-fourths of Musk’s net worth is made up of Tesla shares.

Bloomberg reported that, combined, Bezos and Musk had an increase in wealth of about $217 billion in 12 months, which is roughly enough to send $2,000 checks to more than 100 million Americans. 

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The Tesla founder’s ascent was just the second time in the index’s history that Gates was not considered one of the two richest people in the world. 

Gates now takes the third spot with a total net worth of about $132 billion, while Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, holds fourth place with $114 billion. 

Facebook founder and CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergTexas governor signs ban on outside help for election administrators Hillicon Valley: NATO members agree to new cyber defense policy | YouTube banning politics, elections in masthead ads | 50 groups urge Biden to fill FCC position to reinstate net neutrality rules Pink Floyd's Roger Waters: 'No f---ing way' Zuckerberg can use our song for ad MORE is the fifth-richest person in the world with a net worth of about $104 billion. 

According to Chuck Collins, director of the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies, the growth for the world’s top billionaires “hits a painful nerve for the millions of people who have lost loved ones and experienced declines in their health, wealth and livelihoods.” 

"Worse, it undermines any sense that we are 'in this together' — the solidarity required to weather the difficult months ahead," Collins told Bloomberg. 

As of Saturday, more than 84 million people worldwide have been infected with COVID-19, with more than 1.8 million deaths as a result of the virus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.