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

The 500 -- including names like Bezos, Gates, Arnault and Zuckerberg -- saw their collective net worth climb 25% to $5.9 trillion over the past year, a Bloomberg analysis shows.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

For billionaires, 2019 was a very good year.

The world's 500 richest people, all of them billionaires, gained a combined $1.2 trillion in wealth in 2019, according to a Bloomberg analysis.

The 500 richest saw their collective net worth climb 25% to $5.9 trillion over the past year.

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

The list includes such names as Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Report; Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Report Co-Founder Bill Gates; Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy - Louis Vuitton  (LVMUY) , and Facebook (FB) - Get Report Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg.

In September, the Washington Post reported that income inequality in the U.S. hit the highest level since the Census Bureau starting tracking it more than 50 years ago.

Meanwhile, a study by economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman at the University of California, Berkeley, released in October, found that for the first time in American history, the 400 wealthiest people paid a lower tax rate than any other group.

Critics of the Berkeley report have claimed that the data are skewed or even potentially wrong.

The issue of income inequality has featured prominently in the race for the White House.

Last month, Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren launched a new ad campaign based on her proposal for a wealth tax.

The ad calls for a wealth tax to fund her policy initiatives. It includes interview clips of billionaires complaining about her.

Warren has proposed taxes of 2% annually on assets over $50 million and 3% on assets above $1 billion.

Senator Bernie Sanders, another Democratic presidential hopeful, proposed a tax as high as 8% on the extremely wealthy.

“There should be no billionaires,” Sanders tweeted when he announced his plan in September. 

“We are going to tax their extreme wealth and invest in working people.”