Guess Which Country Has the Most Billionaires Per Capita

A blog about business and economics.
March 4 2013 4:46 PM

Which Country Has the Most Billionaires Per Capita?

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The estate of Lily Safra, the widow of Lebanese-Jewish banking billionaire Edmond Safra, in the French Riviera in 2008

Photo by Eric Estrade/AFP/Getty Images

No, it's not the United States. According to the list of the world's billionaires released by Forbes on Monday, the U.S. doesn't even break the top 10. If you had a hunch that it might be a tiny country with a still relatively small but proportionally large number of billionaires, ding! It's Monaco. Monaco has three billionaires—specifically, David and Ezra Nahmad, two brothers who are art "megadealers," along with Lily Safra, the widow of a wealthy banker.

Coming in second and third after Monaco are two other tiny states: St. Kitts and Nevis (a 104-square-mile sovereignty in the Caribbean) and Guernsey (a British Crown dependency). The U.S. comes in at 14th in between Lebanon and Norway—even socialistic Sweden (12th) has more billionaires per capita than we do. China comes in 57th place, or eighth from the bottom.

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Here's the top 10 (number of billionaires/estimated population):

1. Monaco (3/35,427)
2. St. Kitts and Nevis (1/53,051)
3. Guernsey (1/65,573)
4. Hong Kong (39/7.1 million)
5. Belize (1/356,600)
6. Cyprus (3/1.1 million)
7. Israel (17/7.8 million)
8. Singapore (10/5.2 million)
9. Kuwait (5/2.8 million)
10. Switzerland (13/7.9 million)

And the bottom five? Romania, India, Nepal, Nigeria, and Vietnam. India has 55 billionaires, which seems respectable until you realize that Germany has 58 billionaires with 6 percent of India's population.

Emma Roller is a Slate editorial assistant. Follow her on Twitter.

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