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Mar 10

Carlos Slim Still First as World’s Richest List Grows.

If it seems like the rest of the world is getting richer, it’s true, it is.

The world’s wealthiest people had a record-breaking good year in 2011, says Forbes magazine, which released its list of the globe’s billionaires. During the year, 214 people became billionaires, bringing the world’s total to 1,210 people holding $4.5 trillion. These billionaires’ wealth is larger than the Gross Domestic Product of Germany.

THE LIST: World’s richest people as ranked by ‘Forbes’ magazine
These wealthy individuals saw their average net worth jump 5.7% to $3.7 billion, powered in large part by soaring stock and commodity prices.

The U.S., with 413, is still home to more billionaires than any other country. But the rising influence of wealth outside the U.S. is becoming more clear in that:

•The world’s richest person, again, isn’t American. Carlos Slim of Mexico was again the wealthiest with a net worth of $74 billion, adding $20.5 billion. Slim widened his lead over Microsoft’s Bill Gates by $18 billion, largely due to Gates’ massive philanthropic efforts valued so far at roughly $30 billion, says Steven Bertoni of Forbes. “Bill Gates is only losing because he’s helping the rest of the world,” he says.

•Most new billionaires aren’t being created in the U.S. During the year, 23 new billionaires were minted in the U.S., in large part resulting from the swelling paper value of social media site Facebook. Meanwhile, China added 54 new billionaires and Russia added 31. More than 108 new billionaires came from Brazil, Russian, India and China, the so-called BRIC nations.

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