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Europe the continent with the most billionaires – report

More billionaires – 775 in total – live in Europe than on any other continent in the world, with North America the second most popular continent with 609.

Most of Europe’s billionaires – 130 – live in the UK, followed closely by Germany with 123.

The report, carried out by Wealth X and UBS, says Ireland has three billionaires, but doesn’t name them.

The figure of 2,325 billionaires for the world is a new record high, and they have a combined wealth of $7.3tn (€5.7tn).

That’s higher than the entire market capitalisation of every company that makes up the Dow Jones industrial average.

Some 155 lucky individuals have made the jump to billionaire status in the last year, an increase of 7pc.

The report says there’s one billionaire for every three million people on the planet, but billionaires control 4pc of the world’s wealth.

It said that entrepreneurship is key to becoming a billionaire.

“The fastest growing segment of the billionaire population, in terms of wealth source, are those who inherited only part of their fortunes and became billionaires through their own entrepreneurial endeavours,” it said.

The number who made their money entirely through inheritance has fallen below 20pc of the total, standing at 453. And of those who contributed to their wealth themselves, most made their fortunes in finance, banking and investment.

Industrial conglomerates were the second most lucrative source of money.

Some 65pc of the world’s billionaires have a college degree, with the University of Pennsylvania topping the list of universities with the most billionaire undergraduate alumni.

The best-performing European university was the London School of Economics and Political Science, which made it to 10th spot on the list with 11 billionaire undergraduate alumni.The LSE was the only European University in the top 20.

The report says that billionaires tend to be concentrated in cities, with New York, Moscow and Hong Kong the three most popular hubs.

But it’s important to take the figures with a little pinch of salt, because they could have changed in the time it has taken you to read this much of the article.

“In general terms, when you’re including the likes of property and equities, the value of your wealth can be quite volatile. It’s only a reflection of a given point in time,” explains Alan McQuaid, Chief Economist at Merrion Capital.

“The amount of wealth that people have can fall or rise quite sharply. Property prices have plummeted in Ireland and loads of people who had bank shares in Ireland lost an awful lot of money during the crisis … those people on the list are people who can change at any given time,” he added.

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