The New Billionaires: Younger, Self-Made, More Diverse

The New Billionaires: Younger, Self-Made, More Diverse

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By Beth Braverman

Quick, picture a billionaire.

Chances are you conjured up an older, white man who inherited his fortune. That stereotype was pretty accurate for the past century, but times are changing.

Cultural and economic shifts over the past decade are realigning the demographics of the world’s 1 percent, and the billionaires of the future will be self-made, younger, and more diverse, according to a new report from UBS and PwC

Last year, two-thirds of the world’s billionaires were self-made, compared with just 43 percent of billionaires 20 years ago. The report projects that the trend toward more self-made billionaires will continue get stronger over the next 5 to 10 years, peaking at about 70 percent of the billionaire population.

Related: Playgrounds of the Very Rich and Famous—A 2015 Guide

While two-thirds of current billionaires are over age 60, the average age is getting younger, thanks to both wealth transfers from the older generation and the growth of self-made billionaires.

In addition to getting younger, the report finds that billionaires are also increasingly more diverse. From 2003 to 2013, the number of female billionaires rose from 44 to 116. That’s still less than 10 percent, but it’s a number that’s growing fast. 

Part of the trend toward diversity among billionaires is the explosive growth of wealth in Asia. In the first quarter of 2015, China created a new billionaire almost every week. The authors of the report expect that Asia will overtake the United States as the center of billionaire growth in the next decade.

Chart of the Day: Long Way to Go on Coronavirus Testing

Healthcare workers with ChristianaCare test people with symptoms of the coronavirus in a drive-thru in the parking lot of Chase
Jennifer Corbett
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The White House on Friday unveiled plans for a new effort to ramp up testing for Covid-19, which experts say is an essential part of limiting the spread of the virus. This chart from Vox gives a sense of just how far the U.S. has to go to catch up to other countries that are dealing with the pandemic, including South Korea, the leading virus screener with 3,692 tests per million people. The U.S., by comparison, has done about 23 tests per million people as of March 12.

After Spending $2 Billion, Air Force Bails Out on Planned Upgrades of B-2 Bombers

The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber flies over the Missouri Sky after taking off from the Whiteman Air For..
© Hyungwon Kang / Reuters
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The Air Force has scrapped a planned upgrade of its B-2 stealth bomber fleet — even after spending $2 billion on the effort — because defense contractor Northrup Grumman didn’t have the necessary software expertise to complete the project on time and on budget, Bloomberg’s Anthony Capaccio reports, citing the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer.

Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters that the nearly $2 billion that had already been spent on the program wasn’t wasted because “we are still going to get upgraded electronic displays.”

Big Hurdle for Sanders’ Plan to Cancel Student Debt

Chip East / REUTERS
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Bernie Sanders wants to eliminate $1.6 trillion in student debt, to be paid for by a tax on financial transactions, but doing so won’t be easy, says Josh Mitchell of The Wall Street Journal.  

The main problem for Sanders is that most Americans don’t support the plan, with 57% of respondents in a poll last fall saying they oppose the idea of canceling all student debt. And the politics are particularly thorny for Sanders as he prepares for a likely general election run, Mitchell says: “Among the strongest opponents are groups Democrats hope to peel away from President Trump: Rust Belt voters, independents, whites, men and voters in rural areas.”

Number of the Day: $7 Million

NY mayor cites climate stance in endorsing Obama
By The Fiscal Times Staff

That’s how much Michael Bloomberg is spending per day in his pursuit of the Democratic presidential nomination, according to new monthly filings with the Federal Election Commission. “In January alone, Bloomberg dropped more than $220 million on his free-spending presidential campaign,” The Hill says. “That breaks down to about $7.1 million a day, $300,000 an hour or $5,000 per minute.”