The rich keep getting richer — here are the billionaires who made the most billions in a single year

Jeff Bezos made nearly $40 billion in a single year.

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Jeff Bezos made nearly $40 billion in a single year.
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REUTERS/Rex Curry

  • Billionaires keep growing their billions.
  • With a record number of billionaires around the world, we calculated just how much the world’s richest billionaires earned in a single year.
  • According to our calculations, Bill Gates earned $4 billion, making him the lowest-earning billionaire on the list – nothing compared to Jeff Bezos‘ annual earnings of nearly $40 billion.

The rich keep getting richer. If there’s one thing that can be said for billionaires, it’s that they know how to grow their wealth.

According to Wealth-X’s 2018 Billionaire Census, there are a record number of billionaires around the world, and their wealth has increased by 24% since last year – another record number.

Business Insider looked at how much the world’s richest billionaires earned in the past year. To determine each billionaire’s annual earnings, we calculated the difference between their 2017 and 2018 net worths for the top 50 richest billionaires, as provided by the Forbes’ 2017 and 2018 richest people in the world lists, published every March. We then narrowed the rankings down to the top 30 billionaires who made the most money in the past year.

We didn’t include Francois Bettencourt and Giovanni Ferrero because they inherited their billions in the last year.

The lowest-earning billionaire on the list, Bill Gates, earned $4 billion. While that’s far from a measly number, it doesn’t compare to the nearly $40 billion Jeff Bezos earned in the past year.

Below, see how many billions some of the world’s richest billionaires earned in a single year.


30. Bill Gates, $4 billion

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Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 2


29. Susanne Klatten, $4.6 billion

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 32


28. Georg Schaeffler, $4.6 billion

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 31


27. Lee Shau Kee, $5.9 billion

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Bobby Yip/Reuters

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 24


26. Larry Ellison, $6.3 billion

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Kimberly White/Getty Images

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 10


25. Thomas Peterffy, $6.5 billion

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Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 47


24. Serge Dassault, $6.5 billion

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Charles Platiau/Reuters

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 41


23. Sergey Brin, $7.7 billion

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 13


22. He Xiangjian, $7.8 billion

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 50


21. Lui Che Woo, $8 billion

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 50


20. Larry Page, $8.1 billion

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Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 12


19. Sheldon Adelson, $8.1 billion

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 21


18. Steve Ballmer, $8.4 billion

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Mike Segar/Reuters

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 22


17. Warren Buffett, $8.4 billion

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Alex Wong/Getty Images

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 3


16. Dietrich Mateschitz, $9.6 billion

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Charles Coates/Getty Images

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 37


15. Jack Ma, $10.7 billion

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Ruben Sprich/Reuters

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 20


14. Francois Pinault, $11.3 billion

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Charles Platiau/Reuters

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 30


13. David Koch, $11.7 billion

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 8


12. Charles Koch, $11.7 billion

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Business Insider/Julie Bort

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 8


11. Rob Walton, $12.1 billion

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Alex Wong/Getty Images

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 15


10. Alice Walton, $12.2

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D Dipasupil/Getty Images

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 16


9. Jim Walton, $12.4 billion

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Rick T. Wilking /Stringer/Getty

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 14


8. Carlos Slim Helu, $12.6 billion

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Kimberly White/Getty Images

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 8


7. Yang Huiyan, $12.9 billion

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Wealth-X; Country Garden Danga Bay/Facebook; Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 43


6. Mark Zuckerberg, $15 billion

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 5


5. Mukesh Ambani, $16.9 billion

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Reuters/Amit Dave

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 19


4. Hui Ka Yan, $20.1 billion

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Bobby Yip/Reuters

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 24


3. Ma Huateng, $20.4 billion

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Bobby Yip/Reuters

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 17


2. Bernard Arnault, $20.5 million

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 4


1. Jeff Bezos, $39.2 billion

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Jeff Bezos
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REUTERS/Abhishek N. Chinnappa

Current Forbes billionaires rank: 1