Gender Equality and Billionnaires

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  On March 12, 2009, Forbes magazine published its annual list of the world's billionaires. In line with the rest of the world, even the world's billionaires have suffered from the financial crisis. In 2009, there are 793 people billionaires, a 30% decline from a year ago. Of the 1,125 billionaires who made last year's ranking, 373 fell off the list: 355 from declining fortunes and 18 who died. There are 38 newcomers, plus three moguls who returned to the list after regaining their 10-figure fortunes. It is the first time since 2003 that the world has had a net loss in the number of billionaires.

The world's richest are also a lot poorer. Their collective net worth is $2.4 trillion, down $2 trillion from a year ago. Their average net worth fell 23% to $3 billion. The last time the average was that low was in 2003.

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Demography of Wealth

Twelve months ago Moscow overtook New York as the billionaire capital of the world, with 74 tycoons to New York's 71. Today there are 27 in Moscow and 55 in New York.

After slipping in recent years, the United States is regaining its dominance as a repository of wealth. Americans account for 44% of the money and 45% of the list's slots, up seven and three percentage points from last year, respectively. Still, it has 110 fewer billionaires than a year ago.

Women in the Top 100 Billionnaires

There are 9 women in the top 100. This number excludes women who may be included under a family listing. The wealthiest women in the top twenty is Alice Walton (12) and Christy Walton (13), whose family owns the US supermarket chain, Walmart. Other women in the top 150 include Liliane Bettencourt (21); Abigail Johnson (35); Susanne Klatten (36); Birgit Rausing (39); Ann Cox Chambers (43); Jacqueline Mars (=43); Iris Fondbana (76); Cristina (with her husband Philip) Green (105); Antonia Johnson (=105); and Johanna Quandt (131).

Famous 'celebrity billionaires include Oprah Winfrey and J.K. Rowling.

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