Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

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.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

New York Times Union Workers Planning Dec. 8 Walkout, Rally Over Pay

"Our collective action is working: Management backed off its attempt to kill our pension and agreed to expand fertility benefits," the union said of ongoing talks. "But management still barely budged on some of our most important priorities."

Jessica Corbett ·


100+ Groups Urge Congress to Back Sanders' Yemen War Powers Resolution

"After seven years of direct and indirect involvement in the Yemen war, the United States must cease supplying weapons, spare parts, maintenance services, and logistical support to Saudi Arabia."

Brett Wilkins ·


Revealing He Too Had Manning Leaks, Ellsberg Dares DOJ to Prosecute Him Like Assange

"Let's take this to the Supreme Court," says the Pentagon Papers whistleblower, taking aim at what he argues is an unconstitutional use of the Espionage Act.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Why Is It This Close? Why?' Narrow Warnock Win Sparks Fears of Ominous Doom for Democrats

"The closeness of this race is among the most depressing and ominous things I've seen in American politics in my lifetime," said one observer.

Julia Conley ·


Germany Arrests 25 Over Alleged Far-Right Plot to Violently Overthrow Government

Prosecutors said supporters of the group—who reportedly include a descendant of royalty, a judge, and a Russian citizen—believe Germany is ruled by a so-called "deep state" that should be overthrown "through the use of military means and violence."

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo