The next billionaires in numbers

What do we know about the emerging generation of the mega-wealthy?

The extremely wealthy are growing in numbers and entire industries are being created to cater to their desires but where are the individuals who are amassing vast fortunes based and what do we know about them?

Companies and websites are springing up to track and analyse the names, numbers and needs of the mega-wealthy, you can even get a daily update on who today's richest man (it's always a man) is.

So what can we tell from all of this analysis about the wealthy and the kind of world their rise is creating?

The number of billionaires is forecast to grow by 38% to 2,315 in the decade to 2023, according to Knight Frank's annual Wealth Report which is carried out by the research company Wealth Insight.

Chart showing the rising number of billionaires in the world

The crude number of billionaires may not be that high, but the report forecasts growth among those with $30m (£18m) or more, also known as "Ultra High Net Worth Individuals", to reach 215,000 by 2023, a rise of 28%.

While the numbers of the super-rich will swell in all regions of the world, the rate of growth in emerging economies is forecast to be much stronger in the coming decade.

Asia, according to the study, will have the most billionaires and the growth will be considerably greater than in North America and Europe. However it is also worth noting that this reflects a larger population in general. Another thing worth noting is that with inflation a billion today is not going to be worth the same as a billion in 10 years' time.

Chart showing the number of billionaires by continent

When you break it down country by country, the US is still expected to have the most billionaires in 2023 but China, Russia and India will be racing to catch up with far higher rates of growth.

Chart showing the countries with the most billionaires

One surprising result from the research is the number of self-made multi-millionaires far outstrips those who inherited their money or built a fortune on a substantial inheritance, by roughly two to one.

The dilemma for those who make their own fortune is whether to pass their wealth on to their children or to give the bulk of it away.

Multi-billionaire Edward Zhu, who moved to China from the United States two decades ago, says talented people should start from nothing and that is what he wants for his children.

Edward Zhu on why he may not give his fortune to his children

When it comes to gender, almost nine out of 10 of all the individuals worth more than $30m are men.

And perhaps less surprisingly, the ultra-rich don't find it too hard to find a partner. Both men and women are almost guaranteed to already be hitched for life.

Charts showing the age, gender, marital status and wealth sources of billionaires

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