A number is never just a number: Billionaires

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There is one billionaire for every three million people in the world.


Number of billionaires in the world in 2014 -- a 7 per cent increase since last year and it represents an all-time record high. They control nearly 4 per cent of the world's wealth.

$7.3 trillion (U.S.)

Combined worth of the world's billionaires in 2014 -- up 12 per cent since last year. That's higher than the market capitalization of all the companies included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.


Percentage of the world's billionaires living in the United States. It's the country with the most billionaires -- 571 of them.


Number of billionaires in Canada in 2014. That's one more billionaire than a year ago. Their combined wealth is $105 billion (U.S.)


Among the top 10 cities for North America's billionaires, only one is in Canada: Toronto. There are 10 billionaires in Toronto. Meanwhile, New York remains the top city for the world's billionaires. There are 103 of them in New York.


The average billionaire is 63 years old. Almost half of the world's billionaires are over the age of 65 and are looking at wealth preservation, rather than more wealth accumulation.


Percentage of the world's male billionaires who got there through the gift of inheritance or a combination of inheritance and their own activity. The rest are totally "self-made."

Top 5

The top five industries for male billionaires: finance, banking and investment; industrial conglomerates; real estate; manufacturing; textiles, apparel and luxury goods.


Number of the world's billionaires who are women -- 12.3 per cent of all billionaires.


Percentage of women billionaires who got there through the gift of inheritance. Interestingly, 14.7 per cent of women billionaires work in non-profit or social organizations.


Percentage of the world's male billionaires who are eligible. The vast majority are married. Meanwhile, 35 per cent of the world's female billionaires are eligible.


Percentage of billionaires who engage in philanthropy.


The most bullish prediction of the number of billionaires in the world by 2020. That would represent a 78 per cent increase over the number of billionaires today.

(Source: billionairecensus.com)

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative's Trish Hennessy has long been a fan of Harper Magazine's one-page list of eye-popping statistics, Harper's Index. Instead of wishing for a Canadian version to magically appear, she's created her own index -- a monthly listing of numbers about Canada and its place in the world. Hennessy's Index -- A number is never just a number -- comes out on the first of each month in rabble.ca.

Photo: Thomas Hawk/flickr

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