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Total number of billionaires up 30% amid COVID-19 pandemic

FILE PHOTO: Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin and CEO of Amazon, speaks about the future plans of Blue Origin during an address to attendees at Access Intelligence's SATELLITE 2017 conference in Washington, U.S., March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the total number of billionaires in the world grew by an “unprecedented” amount in the last year, and the richest are getting richer.

That’s according to the latest list compiled by business magazine Forbes analyzing the world’s wealthiest people.

Read more: Canada still ‘a long way off’ from COVID-19 economic recovery, experts say

The magazine uses stock prices and exchange rates from March 5 to calculate the net worths of billionaires.

The Forbes report found the total number of billionaires grew to 2,755, with 660 more than a year ago.

A total of 493 were newly added to the list, Forbes reported.

Further, the report said 250 people who had fallen off the list in the past were re-added, and 86 per cent of the billionaires are more wealthy now than they were just 12 months ago.

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At the top of the list, for a fourth year in a row is Amazon founder Jeff Bezos who is worth a reported $177 billion.

Elon Musk is now the second-richest billionaire, with a net worth of $151 billion.

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Bill Gates sits in the third spot with a net worth of $124 billion, while Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg rounds out the top five with with a net worth of $97B.

No women are among the top 10, but Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, granddaughter of the founder of L’Oreal and the richest woman in the world, comes in at number 12.

She is reported to have a net worth of $73.6 billion.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump also made the list, sitting in the 1,299th spot with a reported net worth of $2.4 billion.
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All together, the world’s 2,755 billionaires are worth $13.1 trillion.

This number is up significantly from the $8 trillion they were worth together in 2020.

Only one Canadian made the top 100 billionaires. David Thomson and family, who control a media and publishing empire Thomson Reuters, sit in the 33rd spot with a net worth of $41.8 billion, according to Forbes.

The United States boasts the most billionaires at 724. China has the second most with 698.

Read more: Young Canadians struggled most financially in 1st year of COVID-19 pandemic: Ipsos poll

The Forbes report draws a stark contrast between the world’s wealthiest, and those trying to make ends meet as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the world.

In fact, a poll conducted exclusively for Global News by Ipsos last month found that 35 per cent of 1,000 Canadians surveyed indicated that their overall financial situation had worsened over the past year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey found younger people were more likely to report their financial status had become worse.

Forty-two per cent of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 34 said their financial situation had worsened over the past year.

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That number dropped to 37 per cent among those aged 35 to 54 and fell further to 29 per cent for those aged 55 and up.

Only 15 per cent of respondents said their financial situation had increased or improved.

Read more: Jeff Bezos to step down as Amazon CEO in 3rd quarter

Many Canadians also continue to rely on assistance from the government as workplaces and businesses remain shuttered by the pandemic.

To date, the federal government has approved 12,004,240 applications for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB).

— With a file from Global News’ Emerald Bensadoun

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