areppim scatter chart of the number of billionaires per million inhabitants (y-axis, logarithmic scale) as a function of the country's GDP per capita (x-axis).

The scatter chart shows the billionaire headcount index (number of billionaires per million inhabitants: y-axis, logarithmic scale) as a function of the country's GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita (x-axis). The trend is indicated by the blue dotted curve. The r and the R² statistics reveal that there is no significant correlation between the number of billionaires per million population and the country's GDP per capita.

The chart provides a revealing snapshot of the weird billionaire disorder. In the same way that one expects high mountain peaks to rise amidst high mountain ranges, it would be reasonable to expect high billionaire headcount indexes in high GDP per capita countries. Wrong, it is not necessarily so.

Above the (logarithmic) trend curve, appear the lilliputian countries whose prosperity rests significantly on luring super-rich foreigners who earn their income elsewhere with easy-going tax schemes. Wealthy people swarm Liechtenstein and Monaco. It is normal, theses countries boast GDP per capita worth five or six times the average of the countries listed in the table. The reasoning is still valid for Guernsey and Hong Kong, whose GDP per capita rises above the average and exceeds twice the median. But what should one think of Cyprus, and St. Kitts and Nevis, whose GDP per capita fails to reach the average?

Towards the center of the chart and close to the curve, one finds the group of prosperous economies such as Switzerland, the Scandinavian, Germany, the Netherlands, United States, Australia, etc. with a high GDP per capita, typically above twice the median, and a sizable number of billionaires. It makes sense.

However, the lower left area is crowded with low GDP per capita countries, of which some concede a large percentage of people living below the US$1.9 per day poverty line. Angola, India, Nigeria,South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe confess two-digit percentages of people struggling in dire poverty while at the same time feeding billionaire fortunes. China and Vietnam may be the very paradigm of the billionaire non-sense. Still ruled by so-called communist regimes, whose avowed goals are to build an egalitarian, class-less society, of which profit-makers will be excluded, and where the workers will command, these countries, with a GDP per capita that is a small fraction of the average, register a swelling billionaire phenomenon, both in numbers and in net worth, year after year.


Billionaires by Nation


(click on the link to get the 2018 list of billionaires for the country)





Extremely Poor ²

Net Worth
USD billion
NumberPer millionUSD billionGDP per capita (USD)Percent of population below $1.9/dayPoverty Gap at $1.9/day
Angola 25.02.610.04103.2283,30930.19.6
Argentina 43.215.690.21445.22712,4401.71
Australia 24.8117.9431.731,343.18149,7550.30.3
Austria 8.743.480.92419.08144,7580.20.1
Belgium 11.38.320.18515.55741,2710n/a
Brazil 208.2176.4420.22,248.1068,6504.32
Canada 36.9148.5461.251,822.73642,1830.30.1
Chile 18.441.9110.6268.99813,7931.30.8
China 1,422.11,120.43730.269,504.2088,1231.90.3
Colombia 51.318.630.06366.1595,8065.52.2
Cyprus 1.217.675.8424.22623,54100
Czech Republic 10.930.160.55231.34018,48400
Denmark 5.743.7101.75347.52053,5790.20.2
Egypt 88.618.260.07260.6943,4781.40.2
Finland 5.513.561.09251.81543,40100
France 66.0320.4400.612,810.52536,85700
Georgia 4.24.610.2415.1903,8668.32.2
Germany 82.2578.71231.53,781.69942,16100
Greece 11.19.640.36244.48117,8911.50.8
Guernsey 0.0672.3115.042.74241,232n/an/a
Hong Kong 7.5334.7678.98269.81243,741n/an/a
India 1,325.6440.11190.092,464.9331,71021.24.3
Indonesia 264.172.5200.081,037.6883,5706.81.1
Ireland 4.938.291.85332.36164,1750.50.3
Israel 8.357.0202.42287.80837,1810.70.3
Italy 61.3170.4430.72,083.32330,6611.20.9
Japan 126.1138.1350.286,047.89438,9010.30.2
Kazakhstan 17.214.450.29188.3097,71500
Lebanon 5.013.371.4142.9118,25700
Liechtenstein 0.0383.9126.146.672174,381n/an/a
Macau 0.61.411.6431.92174,017n/an/a
Malaysia 32.061.8140.44344.0529,5080.30
Mexico 129.3141.0160.121,238.1518,20930.8
Monaco 0.0396.94101.986.006153,128n/an/a
Morocco 35.23.820.06114.7842,893n/an/a
Nepal 29.41.510.0319.857729153
Netherlands 17.035.590.53890.13645,63800
New Zealand 4.712.220.42172.90039,412n/an/a
Nigeria 199.220.930.02456.7752,17653.521.8
Norway 5.339.1152.83472.76670,86800
Oman 4.45.420.4566.29314,982n/an/a
Peru 32.310.960.19193.4846,04930.8
Philippines 106.955.3120.11284.4772,9518.31.6
Poland 38.213.860.16572.05612,41400
Qatar 2.52.820.8170.66359,324n/an/a
Russia 140.9409.31010.721,654.4348,74800
Singapore 5.964.5223.73294.94752,962n/an/a
Slovakia 5.51.310.18104.67916,5300.80.4
South Africa 54.520.950.09419.4995,27516.64.9
South Korea 50.4126.8440.871,304.65927,5390.30.1
Spain 47.6136.0290.611,464.50926,6160.80.5
St. Kitts and Nevis 0.0574.2352.560.85816,597n/an/a
Swaziland 1.34.310.755.2462,7704216.6
Sweden 9.9124.6323.23560.38751,8450.30.2
Switzerland 8.5123.8364.24642.09079,88800
Taiwan 23.584.4351.49571.50024,310n/an/a
Tanzania 57.11.510.0246.77687849.115.4
Thailand 67.793.3300.44406.4245,91100
Turkey 78.964.7360.461,122.47510,8630.30
Ukraine 43.813.270.16124.0002,9060.10
United Arab Emirates,864n/an/a
United Kingdom 64.9202.9540.832,753.79341,9810.20.1
United States 332.83,096.75851.7618,624.47552,36410.9
Venezuela 32.65.520.06215.3006,607n/an/a
Vietnam 95.710.540.04164.1051,7352.80.6
Zimbabwe 16.31.410.0614.81991821.45.2
Total 9,059.62,208     
Average 126 3.63  28,312  
Median 20 0.49 17,244  
r0.56 ⁴
0.31 ⁵
¹ GDP in current US dollars, most recent World Bank estimates for 2016. Data for Guernsey, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Taiwan and Venezuela, not available in World Bank, is extracted from CIA World Factbook.
² Poverty headcount ratio at $1.90 a day (2011 PPP) (% of population), and Poverty gap at $1.90 a day (2011 PPP) (%) are available from World Bank.
³ n/a = not available.
⁴ Coefficient of correlation for Number of billionaires per million nationals-GDP per capita.
⁵ Coefficient of determination for Number of billionaires per million nationals-GDP per capita.


Sources: Forbes List of billionaires, International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database, United Nations Population Division, World DataBank - The World Bank, World Bank - PovcalNet, CIA - The World Factbook.


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