How likely is it to become a billionaire? Not very likely, apparently. Only 2,043 people made it to the list in 2017, and even though that is actually a record high, if you consider that around 7.6 billion people live on this planet, that is a pretty small number! So how did those lucky few get there? Who are they and what made them rich?
Market Inspector crunched the numbers from Forbes’ billionaires list for 2017 and integrated it with data from the Aaron Wallis report to illustrate in an infographic where these billionaires come from, where they live, what they studied and what were their first jobs. The analysis also looked into the percentage of women in the list and into the youngest billionaires in the world.
Interestingly, the three youngest billionaires on the list are all from Norway, with the two Andresen sisters owing their fortune to their father’s investment company, Ferd, and Gustav Magnar Witzoe owning 47% of the salmon producer Salmar.
Some other curious facts emerged, for example, some of the wealthiest people on earth reached their status through very unexpected businesses: soy sauce making, diaper production, and after-school tutoring to name a few.
So what should you do to rank among the world’s richest people? It seems that the choice of education or the first occupational choices are not that relevant when it comes to making crazy amounts of money. The backgrounds of Forbes’ billionaires are quite diverse, and their first jobs are most often very normal ones, for example in sales, finance and software development.
While it may not be a big surprise that certain degrees are more common than others for billionaires, their numbers are not that impressive: the most popular degree is engineering, but only 22 among the 2043 billionaires have it, while business follows with 16 graduates and finance and economics only counts for 11. Moreover, 25% of the people on Forbes’ list do not have a degree at all.
On the topic of education, the richest person in Hong Kong – which is the second city in the world for numbers of billionaire residents – is Li Ka-Shing, who dropped out of school at the young age of 12. Ka-shing was born in China and fled to Hong Kong with his family during the Sino-Japanese War. When he was 12, after his father died of tuberculosis, he left school and started working in a factory. He is now worth USD 31.2 billion and ranks number 19 in Forbes’ World Billionaires list.