NEW YORK – Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is back on top of the list of the world’s richest people after a four-year break.
Forbes magazine announced its ranking of the world’s billionaires Monday.
Gates, who led the list for 15 of the past 20 years, won the spot back from Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu, who had topped the list for the past four years. Gates’ net worth is estimated at $76 billion; Slim Helu follows at $72 billion.
Spanish clothing magnate Amancio Ortega maintained his third-ranked spot and came out ahead of famed U.S. investor Warren Buffett, who ranked fourth. Larry Ellison of Oracle came in fifth.
Forbes says a record 1,645 billionaires made the list this year, with an average net worth of $4.7 billion. That’s up from 1,426 billionaires last year with a net worth of $4.2 billion. Total net worth of this year’s list was $6.4 trillion, up from $5.4 trillion last year.
The magazine said that 1,080 of the billionaires were self-made, 207 inherited their wealth and 352 inherited a portion but are still growing it.
The largest net worth gainer on the list was Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who more than doubled his fortune to $28.5 billion as the value of his company’s stock soared. He ranks 21st on the list.
The social media giant helped bring a few notable newcomers to the list, including Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton, who recently sold their business to Facebook for $19 billion.
A record number of women made the billionaires list this year, with 172 women joining, up 25 percent from last year.