California: Land of the Billionaires

Last week, Forbes released its annual Billionaires List, showcasing a record 1,826 individuals worldwide who are worth at least $1 billion. But the striking figure—an increase of 290 billionaires over the previous year—isn’t the only interesting thing about this list. Also intriguing is the sheer number of billionaires who call the Golden State home.

According to Forbes, there are 131 California residents who are currently worth $1 billion or more. That puts the number of billionaires in the State of California higher than any other country on earth, with the exception of the United States itself and China. In fact, California’s billionaires hold a combined wealth of $560.1 billion, which surpasses the GDP of 49 countries.

Though there are plenty of real estate and media moguls on Forbes’ list, the majority of the state’s billionaires work in the tech industry. Consequently, half of them can be found in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley. San Francisco boasts 26 billionaires, while the City of Los Angeles is home to 22.

All that wealth doesn’t seem to be trickling down too well. According to the U.S. Census data, California still has the highest level of poverty in the nation when factors like cost of living are considered.

“California looks worse than many other states in terms of the gap between rich and poor,” says Sarah Bohn, research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California. “The story is that California is not resource poor. We’re just kind of cost-of-living poor.”

Read more about California’s billionaire here.


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