Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Today is the LAST DAY of this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

TODAY is the last day to meet our goal -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett speak with journalist Charlie Rose at an event organized by Columbia Business School on January 27, 2017 in New York City. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

World's 500 Richest People Gained $1.2 Trillion in Wealth in 2019: Analysis

"In the U.S., the richest 0.1% control a bigger share of the pie than at any time since 1929."

Jake Johnson

The 500 richest people in the world, all of whom are billionaires, gained a combined $1.2 trillion in wealth in 2019, further exacerbating inequities that have not been seen since the late 1920s.

That's according to a new Bloomberg analysis published Friday, which found that the planet's 500 richest people saw their collective net worth soar by 25 percent to $5.9 trillion over the last year.

"In the U.S., the richest 0.1 percent control a bigger share of the pie than at any time since 1929," Bloomberg noted. "The 172 American billionaires on the Bloomberg ranking added $500 billion, with Facebook Inc.'s Mark Zuckerberg up $27.3 billion and Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates [rising] $22.7 billion."

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, eight of the 10 richest people in the world are from the U.S.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos lost nearly $9 billion in wealth in 2019, according to Bloomberg, but he will still likely end the year as the richest man in the world with a total net worth of $116 billion.

The analysis comes as 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, particularly Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), have made tackling inequality a key component of their policy platforms.

Warren has proposed an annual two percent tax on assets over $50 million and a three percent tax on assets above $1 billion.

Sanders, who has said he does not believe billionaires should exist, is calling for a wealth tax that would slash the fortunes of U.S. billionaires in half over 15 years, according to his campaign.

"A small handful of billionaires should not be able to accumulate more money than they could spend in 10 lifetimes," Sanders said in September, "while millions of Americans are living in poverty and dying because they can't afford healthcare."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

TODAY is the last day of our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Texas Supreme Court Allows Century-Old Abortion Ban to Take Effect

"Extremist politicians are on a crusade to force Texans into pregnancy and childbirth against their will, no matter how devastating the consequences."

Jake Johnson ·


'What's There to Even Discuss?' Omar Says Free, Universal School Meals Should Be Permanent

"We have an opportunity to prove that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people can still deliver big things. And we can feed tens of millions of hungry kids while we do it."

Jake Johnson ·


'Stark Betrayal': Biden Administration Floats New Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

"This is the third time since November the Biden administration has announced new oil and gas leasing plans on the Friday before a holiday," said one climate advocate. "They're ashamed, and they should be."

Jake Johnson ·


As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo