Inside The 2013 Billionaires List: Facts and Figures

The ranks of the world’s billionaires, as monitored and tallied by our global wealth team, have yet again reached all-time highs. The 2013 Forbes Billionaires list now boasts 1,426 names, with an aggregate net worth of $5.4 trillion, up from $4.6 trillion. We found 210 new ten-figure fortunes. Once again the U.S. leads the list with 442 billionaires, followed by Asia-Pacific (386), Europe (366), the Americas (129) and the Middle East & Africa (103).
Resurgent asset prices are the driving force behind the rising wealth of the super-rich around the globe. While last year almost as many fortunes fell as rose, this year gainers outnumbered losers by 4-to-1. Many new names made the list thanks to free-spending consumers. To name a few: Diesel jeans mogul Renzo Rosso at $3 billion, retailer Bruce Nordstrom at $1.2 billion and designer Tory Burch at $1 billion.
Carlos Slim is once again the world’s richest person, followed by Bill Gates. Amancio Ortega of Spanish retailer Zara moves up to No. 3 for the first time. He is the year’s biggest gainer, adding $19.5 billion to his fortune in one year. He moves ahead of Warren Buffett, despite the fact that the U.S. investing legend added $9.5 billion to his fortune. This is the first year since 2000 that Buffett has not been among the top 3. The year’s biggest loser is Brazilian Eike Batista, whose fortune dropped by $19.4 billion, or equivalent to about $50 million a day. His rank falls from no. 7 to no. 100 in the world.
This is our 27th year publishing the Forbes Billionaires list. Though we’ve been at it a long time, it is never an easy task. Our reporters dig deep and travel far. To compile net worths, we value individuals’ assets–including stakes in public and private companies, real estate, yachts, art and cash–and account for debt. We attempt to vet these numbers with all billionaires. Some cooperate; others don’t. We also consult an array of outside experts in various fields.
The Forbes Billionaires ranks individuals rather than large, multi-generational families who share large fortunes. So Maja Oeri, who has a disclosed stake in pharmaceutical firm Roche, makes the list, but her eight relatives who, with a nonprofit foundation, share a $16 billion fortune do not. In some cases we list siblings together if the ownership breakdown among them isn’t clear, but here, too, they must be worth a minimum of $2 billion together, or equivalent to $1 billion apiece, to make the cut. We split up these fortunes when we get better information, as we did with the Matte and Rausing families this year. Children are listed with their parents when one person is the founder and in control. Those fortunes are identified as “& family.”
We do not include royal family members or dictators who derive their fortunes entirely as a result of their position of power, nor do we include royalty who, often with large families, control the riches in trust for their nation.  Over the years Forbes has valued the fortunes of these wealthy despots, dictators and royals but have listed them separately as they do not truly reflect individual, entrepreneurial wealth that could be passed down to a younger generation or truly given away.
Our estimates are a snapshot of wealth on Feb. 14, when we locked in stock prices and exchange rates from around the world. If a stock market wasn’t open on that day–as was the case with Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Shanghai and Shenzhen–the stock price is from the previous trading day.


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