The Top 10 Richest People In The World (January 2024)

Published 2 months ago
By Forbes | The Forbes Wealth Team
Billionaire Elon Musk Receives Axel Springer Award
Photographer: Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg via Getty Images

As of January 1, the 10 richest people on the planet are worth nearly $1.47 trillion—$30 billion more than a month earlier. And Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has overtaken Bill Gates to become the world’s fifth richest person.

Billionaires at the top of the Forbes list had a pretty good December—at least in terms of their stockholdings. As of January 1, 2024, seven of the world’s top 10 richest people are wealthier than they were a month ago. Their fortunes collectively rose by $30 billion during December—a much smaller jump than the $115 billion rise during November 2023. One of the biggest gainers —Mark Zuckerberg—leaped into the No. 5 spot, up from No. 7 richest in the world on December 1. He now ranks ahead of Bill Gates, who for years was the world’s richest person.

Forbes has been keeping track of the world’s billionaires since 1987. Earlier this year, we found 2,640 of them for our annual list. Throughout the year, we update their fortunes on a daily basis. Many billionaires hold much of their net worth in the stock of the company they founded or cofounded. As that stock price moves, their fortune moves along with it.

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Together the world’s 10 richest people, according to Forbes, are worth $1.47 trillion as of the strike of midnight on January 1—up from $1.44 trillion a month ago. The two biggest gainers in the past month (in dollar terms) were Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault; each is up $9.4 billion compared with December 1 due to increases in the share price of their respective companies.

Elon Musk is still the world’s richest person, worth $251 billion. The CEO of electric carmaker Tesla, Musk also owns stakes in privately held rocket firm SpaceX and social media company X, formerly known as Twitter.

For most of the first half of 2023, French luxury goods magnate Bernard Arnault was the world’s richest person, per Forbes—but that changed on June 8, 2023, when Musk overtook Arnault to become No. 1 in the world again. As of January 1, Arnault still ranks No. 2 richest, worth an estimated $200.7 billion. Arnault, the CEO and chairman of LVMH, has built the company into a giant with more than 70 brands, from Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior to Tiffany & Co. and Sephora.

Software tycoon Larry Ellison of Oracle was the biggest loser of the top ten; his fortune fell by $11.2 billion during December as Oracle’s stock fell 10%. Ellison still ranks No. 4, worth $135.3 billion.

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Here are the 10 richest people on Earth as of January 1, 2024 at 12 a.m. Eastern time, according to Forbes.

Stock prices fluctuate routinely, so these net worths may change on a daily basis. Forbes tracks the daily changes on our Real Time list of billionaires.


Key Facts

Elon Musk is the richest person in the world, a position he held for much of 2022 as well. His fortune rose by $6 billion during December 2023.

Bernard Arnault fell to No. 2 richest in early June 2023 and has remained at that rank. He was the richest person in the world for the first five months of 2023.

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9/10 of the richest people in the world are Americans, including Jeff Bezos, Larry Ellison and Bill Gates.

Gautam Adani of India fell from third richest in the world on January 24, 2023. He is ranked No. 16 in the world as of January 1, 2024.

All of the top ten richest people as of January 1 are men. Each of them is worth $100 billion or more.


Who are the top 10 richest people in the world?*

1. Elon Musk

2. Bernard Arnault

3. Jeff Bezos

4. Larry Ellison

5. Mark Zuckerberg

6. Bill Gates

7. Warren Buffett

8. Larry Page

9. Sergey Brin

10. Steve Ballmer

*As of January 1, 2024 at 12 a.m. ET


1. Elon Musk

Net worth: $251.3 billion

Source: Tesla, SpaceX, X (Twitter)

Age: 52

Residence: Austin, Texas

Citizenship: U.S.

(Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for TIME)

Musk is CEO of electric car company Tesla, rocket firm SpaceX and social media company X, formerly known as Twitter. He owns 23% of Tesla between stock and options, and has pledged some of his stock as collateral for loans. The car company accounts for about two thirds of his fortune. He bought X, then known as Twitter, for $44 billion in October 2022 and owns an estimated 74% of the social media company, which is now worth less than half what he paid for it.

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Originally from South Africa, Musk moved to Canada before his 18th birthday, worked a variety of jobs, enrolled at Queen’s University in Ontario and then transferred to University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics.

In 2000, he merged an online bank he cofounded, X.com with a similar outfit cofounded by Peter Thiel to form PayPal, which eBay bought in 2002 for $1.4 billion. He founded SpaceX in 2002 in El Segundo, near Los Angeles. In 2004 he joined Tesla as an investor and chairman, a year after it was founded; he was later granted the cofounder title. Musk, who became CEO of Tesla in 2008, took the company public in 2010. Its market capitalization soared during 2020 and 2021. In September 2021, Musk became the world’s richest person. In November 2021, his fortune peaked at a whopping $320 billion. Musk was also the world’s richest person for most of 2022—until December 2022, when a drop in Tesla’s share price pushed down the value of his fortune.

After dropping in the Forbes ranking, Musk became the world’s richest person again on June 8, 2023 and held onto the number one spot for the remainder of 2023. Musk’s fortune rose by about $6 billion in December, lifted by a 4% rise in the price of Tesla shares.

2. Bernard Arnault

Net worth: $200.7 billion

Source: LVMH/ luxury goods

Age: 74

Residence: Paris

Citizenship: France

(Photo by ERIC PIERMONT / (Photo credit should read ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)

Bernard Arnault, CEO and chairman of LVMH, built the largest luxury goods company in the world with some 70 fashion and cosmetics brands. Among its most notable: Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Moet & Chandon and Sephora. In January 2021, LVMH acquired jeweler Tiffany & Co. for $15.8 billion.

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Arnault’s father made millions in the construction business; to get his start, Arnault used $15 million of that fortune to buy Christian Dior.

All five of Arnault’s children work in parts of the LVMH empire. In January 2023, Arnault appointed his daughter Delphine to run Dior, the second largest brand in the group.

Arnault was the world’s richest person for most of the first half of 2023; he fell to No. 2 on June 8, 2023. As of January 1, 2024 Arnault is worth $9.4 billion more than a month ago, per Forbes’ estimates, following a rise in the the price of LVMH shares.

3. Jeff Bezos

Net worth: $168.4 billion

Source: Amazon

Age: 59

Residence: Medina, Washington

Citizenship: U.S.

(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

Jeff Bezos created e-commerce giant Amazon in 1994 and ran it as CEO until July 2021 (he remains chairman); that same month he went to space on a rocket built by private rocket company Blue Origin, which he founded and has funded with billions of dollars. His fortune rose by $5.8 billion during December 2023 as the result of an uptick in Amazon shares.

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Before founding Amazon.com in his garage in Seattle, he worked in New York at hedge fund D.E. Shaw. Amazon began as an online bookseller at a time when few people bought goods online. The company also grew to dominate cloud storage and moved into movie and series production to feed Amazon Prime Video.

Bezos overtook Bill Gates to become the richest person in the world in July 2017. He and Gates traded the number one and number two richest spots off and on. Bezos was the world’s richest person on Forbes’ list of the World’s Billionaires from 2018 through 2021; he dropped to second richest on the 2022 billionaires list. He dropped to fourth richest but moved back to No. 3 on January 25, 2023 as the fortune of India’s Gautam Adani (formerly No. 3 richest) fell.

In 2019, Bezos and his wife MacKenzie divorced; as part of the settlement, she got 4% of Amazon’s shares and he kept 12%. He has since sold and given away more of his stake and owns just under 10% of the company. Since Amazon went public in 1997, Forbes calculates that he has sold more than $27 billion worth of his stock. Through his Bezos Expeditions he has invested in an array of companies, including Airbnb and software firm Workday.

4. Larry Ellison

Net worth: $135.3 billion

Source: Oracle

Age: 79

Residence: Woodside, California

Citizenship: U.S.

(Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images)

Larry Ellison cofounded software firm Oracle in 1977 and ran it as CEO until 2014; he now serves as chairman and Chief Technology Officer of the company. Over the years Oracle has made a series of large acquisitions, including buying Sun Microsystems in 2010 for $7.4 billion.

In 2012, Ellison bought the Hawaiian island of Lanai for $300 million. He moved from California to Lanai in 2020 but kept his homes in California and Nevada. Ellison invested in Tesla and served on the board of the car company from 2018 through August 2022.

For eight days in June 2023, Ellison overtook Jeff Bezos as the third richest person in the world following a rise in Oracle’s share price. Shares then receded and Ellison fell back to fourth richest. His fortune fell by $11.2 billion during December 2023 as Oracle shares fell 10%.

5. Mark Zuckerberg

Net worth: $125.3 billion

Source: Facebook/Meta

Age: 39

Residence: Palo Alto, California

Citizenship: U.S.

(Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Zuckerberg cofounded Facebook—now called Meta Platforms—when he was a student at Harvard University in 2004. It has grown to be the world’s largest social network, with 3.88 billion monthly users. The company also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, both of which it acquired and greatly expanded. Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, took the company public in 2012 and still owns about 13% of it. He and his wife Priscilla Chan have pledged to direct 99% of their stock in the company toward “measures that promote human potential.” One ambitious goal they are funding is the development of tools to help others cure, manage or prevent all disease by the end of this century; Zuckerberg and Chan spoke to Forbes earlier this year about their philanthropic efforts. And Zuckerberg talked to Forbes in September about Meta’s two biggest bets ahead of the company turning 20.

Zuckerberg rejoined the world’s top 10 richest in the summer of 2023 for the first time since January 2022, as the result of a rise in the price of Meta’s stock. During the month of December, his fortune rose by $9.4 billion, while Meta’s stock climbed 9%.

6. Bill Gates

Net worth: $119.6 billion

Source: Microsoft, investments

Age: 68

Residence: Medina, Washington

Citizenship: U.S.

(Photo by Mike Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times)

As a teenager, Gates became passionate about computer programming. He dropped out of Harvard to cofound software firm Microsoft with his high school friend Paul Allen in 1975, creating one of the first software programs available for the nascent personal computer industry. He was CEO of the company for 25 years and remained chairman until 2014. He eventually stepped off the board in 2020 but told Forbes in early 2023 that he still spends about 10% of his time consulting with teams at Microsoft. These days he has investments in dozens of companies, including waste removal firm Republic Services and agricultural equipment maker Deere & Co., and is one of the largest owners of farmland in the U.S.

Forbes first listed Gates as a billionaire in 1987; he was the richest person in the world from 1995 through 2017 (except in 2008 and from 2010 through 2013). Largely due to the $59 billion he has donated to the Gates Foundation, including a $20 billion gift in July 2022, he was overtaken as the world’s richest person in 2018 by Jeff Bezos. He and Melinda French Gates divorced in 2021; she received an estimated $10 billion in stock and other assets as part of the divorce settlement.

While Gates’ fortune grew by $2 billion during December 2023, his rank among the world’s richest held steady at No. 6 as of January 1.

7. Warren Buffett

Net worth: $118.6 billion

Source: Berkshire Hathaway

Age: 93

Residence: Omaha, Nebraska

Citizenship: U.S.

(Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)

Known as the “Oracle of Omaha,” Warren Buffett is one of the most successful investors of all time. He runs investing conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, which owns dozens of companies, including insurer Geico, battery maker Duracell and restaurant chain Dairy Queen. The son of a U.S. congressman, he first bought stock at age 11 and first filed taxes at age 13.

Buffett created the Giving Pledge with Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates in 2010, asking billionaires to commit to give away at least half their fortune to charitable groups. Buffett has said he would donate 99% of his fortune. So far he’s given at least $51.5 billion in Berkshire Hathaway stock to the Gates Foundation and his kids’ foundations. That makes him the most generous billionaire on the planet. Back in mid-June, Buffett gave away $4.6 billion worth of his Berkshire Hathaway shares. During December 2023, his fortune fell by about $700 million, amid a slight drop in the price of Berkshire Hathaway shares.

8. Larry Page

Net worth: $117.2 billion

Source: Google

Age: 50

Residence: Palo Alto, California

Citizenship: U.S.

(Photographer: Albin Lohr-Jones/Pool via Bloomberg)

Page cofounded search engine Google with fellow Stanford PhD student Sergey Brin in 1998 and served as CEO until 2001 and from 2011 to 2015. He now serves as a board member of Google’s parent Alphabet and continues to be a controlling shareholder.

Page was a founding investor in asteroid mining company Planetary Resources, which was acquired by blockchain firm ConsenSys in 2018.

He moved into the top 10 richest in the world following a notable 15% jump in the share price of Alphabet in May 2023. Between December 1, 2023 and January 1, 2024 Page’s fortune rose by about $5.5 billion as Alphabet shares climbed nearly 6%.

9. Sergey Brin

Net worth: $112.4 billion

Source: Google

Age: 50

Residence: Los Altos, California

Citizenship: U.S.

(Photo by Arturo Holmes/FilmMagic)

Sergey Brin stepped down as president of Alphabet, parent company of Google, in December 2019 but remains a controlling shareholder and a board member. He cofounded Google with Larry Page in 1998 after the two met at Stanford University while studying for advanced degrees in computer science.

Brin, who came to the U.S. from Russia with his family when he was 6 years old to escape anti-Semitism, is the richest immigrant in America. His fortune increased by an estimated $5.1 billion during December 2023 amid a nearly 6% jump in the price of Alphabet shares.

Brin, who disclosed more than a dozen years ago that he is at higher risk of getting Parkinson’s disease than the general population, has donated more than $1.1 billion toward advancing research into the neurodegenerative disease, with a pronounced emphasis on advancing basic science.

10. Steve Ballmer

Net worth: $112.2 billion

Source: Microsoft, investments

Age: 67

Residence: Hunts Point, Washington

Citizenship: U.S.

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Ballmer, a classmate of Bill Gates’ at Harvard University, joined Microsoft as employee number 30 in 1980 after dropping out of the MBA program at Stanford University. He ran Microsoft as its CEO from 2000 to 2014.

When Ballmer retired from Microsoft, he purchased the Los Angeles Clippers team for $2 billion—a record high for an NBA team at the time. Forbes now values the team at $4.65 billion.

Ballmer’s fortune fell by an estimated $600 million in the past month amid a less than 1% climb drop in the price of Microsoft shares.

Who is the richest man in the world?

As of January 1, 2024, the richest person in the world is Elon Musk, the CEO of electric car company Tesla; he’s worth an estimated $251 billion. He moved into the number one spot in June of 2023, overtaking Bernard Arnault of France.

Who is the richest woman in the world?

The richest woman in the world is Francoise Bettencourt Meyers of France. As of January 1, 2024, she is worth an estimated $98.9 billion and is the world’s 14th richest person. Her fortune lies in her ownership stake in cosmetics giant L’Oreal, which she inherited from her late mother. Her grandfather was the founder of L’Oreal.