Forbes releases its annual ranking of world’s billionaires

Listmaking is big business for the magazine industry: Time uses one issue each year to tell us who the world’s most influential leaders and thinkers are; U.S. News & World Reports stirs panic in college administrators everywhere with its annual ranking of the nation’s best colleges; and People and other celebrity mags give us yearly assessments of who Hollywood’s hottest heartthrobs are.

And with today’s publication of Forbes’s annual ranking of the world’s billionaires, the business community gets its equivalent to those other much-pored-over lists.

Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim, last year’s top-ranked billionaire, nabbed the No. 1 spot again with an estimated net worth of $74 billion. Microsoft founder Bill Gates and investing guru Warren Buffett also held their positions from last year’s list, coming in at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively.

Despite the lack of change at the top, Forbes notes that the list was noteworthy nonetheless: It was its largest list ever, with more than 1,200 billionaires included, and their total net worth added up to the largest amount ever, $4.5 trillion.

There is plenty of interesting trivia to be culled from the list, but here are some highlights:

l  Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is almost the world’s youngest billionaire, but not quite. That honor goes to Dustin Moskovitz, who is six days younger than Zuckerberg. Moskovitz was Zuckerberg’s roommate and used to work at Facebook before leaving to start his own company. Still, Zuckerberg’s estimated $13.5 billion dwarfs Moskovitz’s estimated $2.7 billion.

l  Moscow is now home to more billionaires than any other city.

l  The only woman to crack the top 20 on the list is Christy Walton, whose fortune primarily comes from the retailer Wal-Mart, founded by her late father-in-law.

You can view the full list on Forbes’s site, as well as check out brief profiles of each member.

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economic news.
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