The world’s billionaires, by generation

The world’s billionaires, by generation

What similarities do the world’s billionaires share? What are their differences ?

At 12, Elon Musk built his first video game. Likewise, Mark Zuckerberg shared an interest in computer programming, building a simple messaging platform at the same age. Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison picked up programming skills in college. All three belong to different generations and have made their fortunes in technology.

In this infographic from, we explore some characteristics of billionaires across generations, including their average net worth, top industries, number of children and most common city of residence.

The world’s billionaires, by generation

Using data from Forbes, here’s how each generation of the world’s billionaires breaks down.

silent generation

  • Not: 1928-1945
  • Average net worth: $5.5 billion
  • Most popular residence: New York, United States

Silent generation billionaires are the wealthiest on average across generations. With Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett and Zara founder Amancio Ortega in its ranks, Silent Generation billionaires are more likely to be in finance, fashion and real estate.

Top 5 Sector %
1 Finances and investments 15.5%
2 Fashion and retail 12.4%
3 Immovable 9.8%
4 food and drinks 9.0%
5 Manufacturing 9.0%

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, owner The Wall Street Journal, FoxNewsand The New York Post, is also part of this group. He has a net worth of $13 billion.

baby boomers

  • Not: 1946-1964
  • Average net worth: $4.6 billion
  • Most popular residence: New York, United States

Like the silent generation, billionaire baby boomers are most likely to be in finance. Stephen Schwarzman, founder of the private equity firm Blackstone Group, R. Budi Hartono, the richest person in Indonesia, and Ray Dalio, director of Bridgewater Associates, all belong to this generation.

Baby boomer billionaires are much less likely to be in the tech industry, although Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates made their fortunes in this field.

Top 5 Sector %
1 Finances and investments 14.2%
2 Manufacturing 12.9%
3 Fashion and retail 10.6%
4 Technology 8.7%
5 Health care 8.5%

With a net worth of $150 billion, chairman of LVMH, Bernard Arnault is the second richest person in the world. Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers, vice-president of L’Oréal, ranks 12th. Both fashion conglomerates are based in France and run by Boomer billionaires.

Generation X

  • Not: 1965-1980
  • Average net worth: $4.4 billion
  • Most popular residence: Beijing, China

The Gen X world’s billionaires are not only primarily into technology, but are more likely to live in Beijing, China. Ma Huateng, founder of social media conglomerate Tencent Holdings, created instant messaging platform QQ in his early 20s. Colin Huang built one of China’s largest e-commerce platforms, Pinduoduo, in 2015.

Top 5 Sector %
1 Technology 24.2%
2 Manufacturing 13.4%
3 Finances and investments 11.6%
4 Health care 8.0%
5 Fashion and retail 7.6%

Gen X billionaires also include Elon Musk and Google co-founder Larry Page.


  • Not: 1981-1996
  • Average net worth: $5.1 billion
  • Most popular residence: San Francisco, United States

With the second highest average net worth after the silent generation, millennial billionaires are predominantly found in technology and finance. About 100 billionaires worldwide fall into this category globally.

Mark Zuckerberg is the only millennial billionaire among the 10 richest in the world.

Top 5 Sector %
1 Technology 31.0%
2 Finances and investments 12.9%
3 Fashion and retail 8.6%
4 Media and entertainment 8.6%
5 Automotive 6.9%

Brian Chesky (co-founder of Airbnb), Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel (co-founders of Snapchat) and Swiss billionaire Guillaume Pousaz are all part of this cohort of billionaires.

Generational trends

What other trends are being seen among the world’s billionaires?

Silent Generation Billionaires Baby boomer billionaires Generation X billionaires Millennial billionaires
Women 9.6% 9.8% 11.9% 19.1%
Home made 65.7% 71.0% 80.7% 66.4%
US citizens 38.2% 27.3% 17.7% 30.2%
EU citizens 17.5% 11.7% 13.0% 18.1%
Living outside the United States 61.9% 73.2% 81.8% 65.5%
Married 78.9% 86.5% 83.6% 68.4%

Millennial billionaires are the most likely to be women, with about double the rate of all other generations at 19%. Notable female billionaires include Anna Kasprzak, who is co-owner of Danish shoe company ECCO and Brazilian Anne-Marie Werninghaus.

Self-made billionaires are more likely to be Gen X. 80% billionaires are in this category, including Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Mu Rongjun, co-founder of Meituan, a company similar to Yelp. At the same time, most billionaires living outside the United States (81%) were born into this generation.

Billionaire baby boomers are the most likely to be married. The silent generation, meanwhile, are more likely to be US citizens, with hedge fund manager George Soros and the world’s oldest billionaire, George Joseph (100) who founded the insurance company Mercury General, in this set.

Notable exceptions include Robert Kuok (98), Malaysia’s richest person, and Masatoshi Ito (97), chairman of Japan’s largest retailer.

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