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The world’s billionaires hit a rough patch this year, facing the lingering effects of the pandemic, a war in Europe and a wavering global economy.
The number of billionaires actually dropped amidst these circumstances, from 2,755 in 2021 to 2,668 in 2022, according to Forbes’ World’s Billionaires List.
But in the U.S., where the world’s highest concentration of billionaires is located, that wasn’t the case — the number increased from 717 last year to 748 this year.
Not surprisingly, America’s billionaires are largely clumped in coastal cities, according to a new analysis by consulting firm Webster Pacific showing where they are located in 2022 and how that compares to 2021.
The greater New York region, which Webster Pacific classifies as Manhattan, New York Northern and Long Island/New Jersey, has 149 billionaires as of 2022. In New York City alone the number of billionaires increased from 100 in 2021 to 107 in 2022. That increase represents 12 percent growth in the city’s billionaires’ wealth year over year, from $572.1 billion in 2021 to $638.4 billion in 2022.
After the greater New York region, the Bay Area currently has the second-highest number of billionaires at 112. Those are largely concentrated in Silicon Valley, where there are 58 billionaires and the San Francisco area where there are 44.
Following New York and the Bay Area, Texas (64 billionaires), Los Angeles (64 billionaires) and Miami (54 billionaires) round out the top tier regions where they live in the U.S. today.
According to Webster Pacific’s analysis, cities that have seen significant billionaire wealth growth in the last year include Palm Beach, Florida; Dallas, Texas; and St. Louis, Missouri.
Palm Beach has become a favorite of the wealthy since the pandemic started, which helps account for the city’s growth in billionaire wealth. The number of billionaires increased from 12 last year to 16 this year, with an increase in the city’s billionaire wealth from $64.6 billion in 2021 to $87 billion in 2022.
The number of billionaires in Dallas, on the other hand — much like in St. Louis — did not change significantly in the last year, but their wealth certainly did. So far this year there are 19 billionaires in Dallas, one more than last year, and billionaires’ wealth in the city has increased by 28 percent from $59 billion in 2021 to $75.8 billion in 2022. The city is home to 10-plus-digit earners like Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones, banker Andrew Beal and oil magnate Ray Lee Hunt.
In St. Louis, the number of billionaires increased from five to six in the last year, with their wealth rising from $19.7 billion to $25.2 billion during the same period, a 28 percent increase in wealth. The city’s biggest high-net-worth individuals include Pauline MacMillan Keinath, heiress to the founder of Cargill; and World Wide Technology founder David Steward.
Major cities of San Francisco, Las Vegas and Phoenix all saw declines in billionaires from 2021 to 2022. While Las Vegas saw a significant percentage decrease in billionaire wealth year over year with a 20 percent decline from $57.4 billion in 2021 to $46.1 billion in 2022, San Francisco saw an even greater dollar decline year over year, with a drop in billionaire wealth from $194.9 billion in 2021 to $160.8 billion in 2022 (a 17 percent decline in wealth).
Who are the biggest billionaires of them all? Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos topped Forbes’ global list, clocking in net worths of $219 billion and $171 billion respectively.
Musk resides in Austin, where billionaire wealth rose from $241.1 billion in 2021 to $300.5 billion in 2022 (despite the number of billionaires in the city remaining steady at 10 across both years). And Bezos is in Seattle, where billionaire wealth dropped 15 percent from $269.9 billion in 2021 to $228.7 billion in 2022 as the city went from 12 billionaires last year to eight this year.
In 2020 during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Musk pledged via Twitter to get rid of all his “physical possessions,” which spurred a major selling spree of his properties. He sold the last of his property portfolio, located in San Francisco, in November 2021, about one month after announcing that he would be relocating the Tesla headquarters from California to Texas.
Meanwhile, Bezos has recently made a first foray into the hot short-term rental market by backing a new short-term rental investment platform called Arrived.
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