U.S. billionaires’ wealth soars 70% during pandemic
America’s billionaires total wealth climbed to almost $5.02 trillion on Oct.15, from just below of $1.95 trillion on March 18, 2020 when COVID-19 became a global pandemic, according to the report by the Institute for Policy Studies Program on Inequality (IPS) and Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF).
This leads to the country's richest to increase their collective wealth by $2.07 trillion during those 19 months, their dataset showed.
Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, 50, came on top of the wealth list by seeing exponential growth of 751%, or $184.7 billion, as his wealth skyrocketed to over $209.3 billion, from just $24.6 million, during that period.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, 57, came second on the list. The former CEO's wealth has grown to $192.2 billion, from $113 billion, for a $79.2 billion, or 70%, increase.
Third came Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates' wealth rose to $132.4 billion, from $98 billion a 35.1%, or $34.4 billion gain.
In addition to the wealth of American billionaires, their numbers have also increased. While there were a total of 614 bank accounts with 10-figure deposits in March 2020, now there are 745 of them as of October 2021.
The pandemic, however, has also increased the uneven income distribution among US population as well.
"The $5 trillion in wealth now held by 745 billionaires is two-thirds more than the $3 trillion in wealth held by the bottom 50% of US households estimated by the Federal Reserve Board," the report said.
Almost 89 million Americans have lost jobs during the pandemic, the report said.
There were 7.7 million unemployed individuals in the world's largest economy as of September, according to latest data by the Labor Department. ■