First, it should be noted that there are an eye-popping number of billionaires in the world. But besides that, Forbes has a detailed methodology that they use to compile their list: they value the individuals’ assets, which include stakes in public and private companies, their real estate, yachts, art and cash. They also take into account the billionaires’ estimated amount of debt. Instead of focusing on those who come from multi-generational families of wealth, Forbes ranks billionaires as individuals. Forbes also does not include royal family members or dictators whose fortune comes from their particular position of power.
Bill Gates continues to be the richest man in the world — a title he has had for 16 of the last 21 years. His assets have increased to $79.2 billion despite giving $1.5 billion to his charity, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Mark Zuckerburg is currently a part of the top 20 billionaires on the planet, a first for the millennial billionaire who invented Facebook while he was an undergrad at Harvard University.
Aliko Dangote of Nigeria saw his fortune decrease $14.7 billion from $25 billion. This was caused by a weaker Nigerian currency and lower demand for cement (where he receives his largest revenue from). Despite his assets decreasing, Dangote is still the richest man from Africa.
As for Oprah, she closed out 2014 by promoting the award winning film Selma, which her production company Harpo Films helped produced. Her OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) television company had low ratings when it initially started, however ratings are currently soaring through the roof thanks to actor/director Tyler Perry’s hit dramas and sitcoms.
Besides working on film and television, Oprah had a sold out 2014 ‘The Life You Want’ national tour of self-help teachings. Winfrey also earns funds from spin-off shows that she help create such as Dr. Phil, Rachael Ray and Dr. Oz.
Also worth noting, legendary basketball player Michael Jordan is a newcomer to the list, the 1,741 richest person with a net worth of $1 billion. Jordan makes $100 million from royalties from his Nike Air Jordan line. He also purchased 80 percent of the Charlotte Bobcats, which was valued at $275 million in March 2010. His ownership jumped to 89 percent in 2013, reports ESPN.
View the entire Forbes 2015 Billionaire list, here.