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Number of Billionaires Hits Record High, Gates Tops List

Image: Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett plays table tennis with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates in Omaha
The three richest men in the world — Bill Gates, Carlos Slim and Warren Buffett (not shown) — grew even richer in 2014.RICK WILKING / Reuters

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The number of billionaires in the world grew by 222 in 2014, bringing the total to a record 2,089, according to a new report.

The three richest men in the world — Bill Gates, Carlos Slim and Warren Buffett — now have a combined $244 billion, up $52 billion over the past year, or about $100,000 a minute, said the report, which is an annual list of the world's richest individuals. Gates is the richest with $85 billion, up 25 percent over the past year. Slim is just behind with $83 billion, up 38 percent, and Buffett is third with $76 billion, up 19 percent.

But not all billionaires were as fortunate. Of the 2,089 billionaires in the world, 869 saw their wealth decrease while 649 saw increases, said the China-based Hurun Report. In total, the world's billionaires saw their wealth drop by 1.5 percent to $6.7 trillion. That's still more than the combined GDPs of Japan and South Korea.

There were 341 new billionaires, but 95 dropped out of the billionaire ranks, leaving a net gain of 222. Many of the new faces were in tech. For the first time, India topped Russia to the take the number three slot in countries with the most billionaires. The U.S. had the most, with 537, followed by China with 430, India with 97 and Russia with 93. China added the most billionaires, with 72, followed by the U.S. with 56 and India with 27.

IN-DEPTH

-- Robert Frank, CNBC.com

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