Economics is a difficult subject for many people to wrap their heads around because of how complicated it sometimes becomes. The global economy as a whole can be even more complicated, as the entire world can suffer through a major economic downturn because of what happens in one of the world’s major economic powers (like with what happened during the Great Depression and the Recession in 2008). Luckily, the purpose of this article is not to explain economics, its purpose is to show that many individuals exist, who have been able to overcome all, and earn an unbelievable amount of wealth.
There are a large number of people in the world who are in the millionaire category, and these people have been really successful in whatever business field they are in, but there is an even smaller group of individuals who have managed to obtain an even higher tier of wealth, and those individuals are known as billionaires. According to a research poll, there are roughly 2,188 billionaires in the entire world, and many of them live in some of the world’s wealthiest countries. Here is a list of 15 countries that have the most billionaires.
15. South Korea – 31 Billionaires
There was a time when a singular Korea existed, but that all changed in 1948 after Cold War antagonism between the United States and Soviet Union escalated to such a degree in Korea that different governments with separate ideologies ultimately divided the country in two. North Korea, as we know, is a communist country, which has been ruled by a family of dictators for over 60 years, and is considered to be one of the worst places in the world to live. South Korea (otherwise known as the “good Korea”) is the complete opposite. South Korea believes in capitalism, and as a result they have the 13th biggest economy in the world, which deals heavily with international trade. Aside from K-pop, South Korea is known for being the home of Hyundai, LG, Samsung and Kia Motors. Overall, South Korea has a GDP (gross domestic product) of well over one trillion dollars, and with multiple car and electronics manufacturers, as well as other large businesses, it is no wonder that they have 31 billionaires living in the country.
14. Singapore – 32 Billionaires
The country of Singapore is the only island city-state in the entire world, and it is a parliamentary republic which is located in Southeast Asia. Singapore possesses a highly developed market economy which has historically been based on their ports, where they import, store, trade and export large quantities of materials and merchandise. Singapore’s economy is considered to be one of the most business-friendly, innovative, competitive and dynamic economies in the world. According to things like the Index of Economic Freedom and the Corruption Perceptions Index, Singapore’s economy is also one of the world’s freest and least corrupt economies in the world. Singapore’s annual GDP comes in at over 300 billion dollars, and that is due to the country being the world’s second biggest casino gambling market, the world’s third biggest foreign exchange hub and oil-refiner, the world’s largest producer of oil-rigs, and the largest provider for ship repairs. All of these different industry sectors has allowed Singapore to the home of 32 billionaires.
13. Turkey – 34 Billionaires
The Ottoman Empire existed for over 600 years, and at the height of its existence, it covered territory belonging to three different continents; but by 1923, the empire was no more, with its only real remnant being the country of Turkey. Turkey is a parliamentary republic which is located in Eurasia, and with a GDP of over 750 billion dollars, they are the 18th biggest economy in the world. The Turkish economy relies heavily on importing and exporting, but they also possess a large automotive manufacturing sector, and it is also home to two major consumer electronic brands which provide Europeans with most of their electronics and home appliances. Turkey’s economy also revolves around other sectors like mining, oil refining, banking, iron and steel production, clothes manufacturing, agriculture, petrochemical product production, and travel and tourism. With all these different economic sectors, it is not all that surprising that Turkey is home to 34 of the world’s billionaires.
12. Canada – 35 Billionaires
Like the United States, the country that would eventually come to be known as Canada initially began to be colonized by European settlers during the late 15th and early 16th centuries, except Canada started out as a French colony, before being taken over by the British later on. Canada went on to eventually become its own sovereign nation following the events of the first World War, but it did not become a fully independent country until 1982. Canada is the world’s second largest country in terms of total area, which happens to be home to over 35 million people, and with a GDP of nearly 1.8 trillion dollars, it is the 11th largest economy in the world. Canada’s economy is highly globalized, as it is one of the ten biggest trading countries in the world, and it also possesses a low economic disparity amongst its citizens. Most of Canada’s economy revolves around the service industry, but a great deal of it also involves lumber and oil production, as well as manufacturing and pharmaceutical development. Canadians are known for being some of the nicest people in the world, so reasoning dictates that the 35 billionaires who live there, are the nicest billionaires around.
11. Italy – 37 Billionaires
Italy has an incredibly rich history spanning over 2000 years, which includes it being the birthplace of the Roman Empire, The Renaissance, and the Catholic church. Modern day Italy is a capitalist parliamentary republic which has an annual GDP of almost 2 trillion dollars, making its economy the 3rd largest in the European Union and the 8th largest in the world. The Italian economy is known for including businesses that are both creative and innovative, and it is also known for having an incredibly competitive agricultural sector which includes the largest amount of wine production in the world. Italy’s economy also deals heavily with tourism, fashion, car, machinery and food industries; and it is also the world’s 6th largest manufacturing country, as well as one of the world’s ten biggest exporters. Throughout Italy’s history, there have always been individuals who have possessed immense amounts of wealth, and that continues today as the country has 37 individuals who have over a billion dollars.
10. Japan – 42 Billionaires
Japan, or the “Land of the Rising Sun” as it is also sometimes referred to as, is an island country located in the Pacific Ocean in East Asia. Japan has a long and rich history which is steeped in so much honor and tradition, that people continue some of the same practices in 2016 that their ancestors did hundreds of years ago (like bowing out of respect). It may be a relatively small country, but Japan actually has the world’s tenth highest population, and the world’s 3rd largest economy with a GDP of over 4 trillion dollars. Like most of the other highly industrialized countries, most of Japan’s economy revolves around the service sector, but its economy is also heavily boosted by the fact that Japan is home to some of the world’s biggest and technologically advanced electronics, machine tool and car producers. Their economy also deals with the production of clothing, food and chemicals; they are also one of the leading countries in scientific research and technology. With all of the sectors that help to provide Japan with so much wealth, it is surprising that the country only has 42 billionaires.
9. Brazil – 49 Billionaires
During the time of European exploration and colonization, Portuguese sailors found and claimed a large amount of territory in South America, and that territory is now the country of Brazil. Brazil is the biggest country in South America, and the 5th largest in the world, its population is also the 5th largest, and its economy, with a GDP of over 1.5 trillion dollars is the 9th largest in the world. Brazil is a major player in the commodities market, and is one of the world’s biggest exporters of things like clothing, coffee, footwear, ethanol, steel, oranges, electrical equipment, sugarcane and soybeans. The Brazilian economy also relies on things like logging and fishing, as well as tourism which is very important to them, hence the decision to host both a soccer World Cup and summer Olympics, two years apart. Brazil has been going through some difficult times politically recently with rampant and widespread corruption, but even with that being the case, it is still home to 49 billionaires.
8. France – 51 Billionaires
France has been a powerhouse in Europe for centuries, and it has a history which includes battling the Roman Empire, the Renaissance, having their own revolution, and taking part in both world wars. Modern day France has an annual GDP of nearly 2.5 trillion dollars, which makes France’s economy the 3rd largest in all of Europe, as well as the 6th largest in the world. France’s economy revolves around many things, and it is a global leader in many sectors, as it is 6th largest agricultural producer, it is the most popular country in terms of tourism, it is the 4th largest weapons exporter, and it also leads the world in nuclear power. France is also known for producing clothes, communication satellites, pharmaceuticals, cars and chemicals. As of 2016, there are 51 billionaires in France, which is not all that surprising considering that France is home to 31 of the world’s largest companies.
7. Switzerland – 66 Billionaires
There is more to Switzerland than the Alps, chocolate, and being the birthplace of tennis star Roger Federer. Switzerland is a country that has actually existed for over 700 years, and it is located in parts of both Western and Central Europe, which is why it is a country made up of individuals who speak German, French, Italian and Romansh. In terms of GDP, Switzerland comes in at just over 651 billion dollars, which makes it the 19th largest economy in the world, which is pretty good considering it is a country of less than 8 million people. Switzerland is renowned for having constant political and monetary stability, which in turn makes it one of the world’s most stable economies, which is also why investors flock to the country. The Swiss economy relies heavily on foreign investment, but it also revolves around tourism and exporting things from their industrial and agricultural sectors like watches, meat and dairy products, and industrial chemicals. In a country as small as Switzerland, there are 66 billionaires, which shows just how successful a country with a stable economy can be.
6. Russia – 80 Billionaires
Ever since the end of the second World War, Russia has been causing either economic, political or diplomatic issues throughout the world, first as the communist Soviet Union, and even now as a constitutional republic. Russia’s total surface area covers the entirety of Northern Asia and a significant portion of Eastern Europe, making it the largest country in the entire world; but just because it is the biggest country, does not mean that it also possesses the biggest GDP, as their 1.1 trillion ranks 15th overall. Russia’s economy covers many sectors, with their petroleum industry being quite important as it is one of the largest in the world; and the same can also be said about their coal mining industry. Russia also has the 4th largest fishing industry in the world, and one of the largest forestry industries as well, but its economy also deals with things like aircrafts and aerospace technology, electronics and car manufacturing. People around the world may not like the politics within Russia, but those politics have not stopped the country from becoming wealthy and creating some truly wealthy individuals, which includes 80 billionaires.
5. United Kingdom – 82 Billionaires
The United Kingdom made headlines a couple of weeks ago when its citizens decided to leave the European Union in a vote that was commonly referred to as “Brexit”. The decision to leave had an immediate negative impact on the global economy, and it will likely have a negative impact on the UK’s own economy for many years to come, because as a member of the European Union, their economy had managed to become the 2nd biggest in Europe and the 5th largest in the world with a GDP of over 2.8 trillion dollars. The UK’s economy relies heavily on the service sector and the manufacturing sector which primarily deals with cars and the aerospace industry. The pharmaceutical industry is also a big deal in the UK and so is mining, construction, tourism and business and financial services. Brexit will indeed prove to be a big mistake down the line, but until it is fully implemented in about two years time, the UK and its 82 billionaires will just have to go about business as per usual.
4. Germany – 82 Billionaires
The territory in Central-Western Europe which is now known as Germany, has existed for nearly 2000 years, and it was made a part of the Holy Roman Empire at the start of the 10th century. Germany became its own sovereign state in the early 19th century, and despite suffering incredibly devastating defeats in both World Wars that basically left the country in economic ruin twice, it is now one of the wealthiest countries in the world. The annual GDP for Germany is roughly over 3.3 trillion dollars, which not only makes it the largest economy in all of Europe, but also the world’s 4th largest economy. Germany is home to 28 of the world’s largest companies which includes car manufacturers like BMW and Volkswagen and the world’s fourth largest retailer (like Walmart) known as Metro, but their economy is also heavily influenced by tourism, science and technology, transportation, and energy production. Like the UK, Germany has 82 billionaires, but unlike the UK, Germany’s financial situation for the near future still looks highly optimistic.
3. India – 111 Billionaires
The country of India is located in South Asia, where it is the world’s 7th largest country, and home to over a billion people making it the second most populous in the world. Since the early 90s, India has been one of the world’s fastest growing economies, becoming an industrialized nation in its own right which produces a GDP of nearly 2.4 trillion dollars, which is good enough to make it the world’s 7th largest economy. India’s labour force is almost half a billion people strong, which is why they are one of the world’s largest importers and exporters, and they are a major global provider of agricultural goods like tea, cotton, wheat, rice and sugarcane. India also has major industries, that include cloth manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, software and chemical production, steel and telecommunications. The Indian economy may be one of the world’s largest, but because of the huge population, the country still has a large poverty and corruption problem, which is a big reason why there are only 111 billionaires in the whole country.
2. United States – 535 Billionaires
The United States has had a much shorter history than many of the other countries on this list, but that fact does not in any way take away from the reality that the United States is likely the most important country to have ever existed. The U.S. is a beacon of hope and freedom for people all over the world, and thanks to its democratic and capitalistic mentality, it has become the largest economy in the world with a GDP of just over 18.5 trillion dollars. There is a huge abundance of natural resources in the U.S., which is why they are the world’s second largest exporter, and why they are also one of the global producers of oil, and agricultural products like corn, soy, dairy and meats. The manufacturing sector is also large, including multiple chemicals, salt, cars, machinery, coal and other minerals, and natural gas. Things like sports, schools, the military, music, the banking sector and movies, are also major contributors to the U.S. economy which also happens to be home to some of the world’s most recognizable companies like McDonalds and Coca-Cola. As the world’s largest economy, it is no wonder that it is also home to an extremely high number of wealthy individuals, which includes 535 billionaires.
1. China – 568 Billionaires
Rounding up the list of countries with the most billionaires is China, with a grand total of 568, of which 90 just joined the billionaire club this past year alone. China has a long history associated with it spanning over 2000 years, and now in 2016, it is the 4th largest country in the world and contains the largest population with over 1.3 billion people. Despite being a socialist one-party state with aspects of communism, China has been one of the fastest growing economies since the late 1970s, and now has a GDP of 11.3 trillion dollars, making it the world’s second largest economy. China is the world’s largest manufacturing economy, and exporter, as the country produces large quantities of agricultural goods, clothing, toys, machine parts, electronics, and basically most of the things you can buy in Walmart or Target. The economy of China also relies on things like telecommunications, luxury goods and tourism; and there is also a large amount of foreign investment done in China.