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A Record Number of Women Are Now Among the World's Richest People

Alice Walton of the Walmart family, the world's richest woman. Sylvain Gaboury 2016

The results are in, and among the 2,208 billionaires across the world, 256 are women.

That’s according to Forbes’ annual World’s Billionaire rankings, released Tuesday.

While the number of women that made the list has hit an all-time high, they still comprise less than 12% of the global total. What’s more, a majority of the women inherited their fortunes.

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Nevertheless, 72 of the more than 200 achieved their wealth on their own—up from 56 in 2017, and two of these are among the top ten wealthiest women. Forty two women on this year’s list are new additions.

Only two women are in the top 20, but none have reached a top ten spot. Alice Walton, at number 16, is the richest woman in the world, jumping one spot from last year. The Walmart heiress has regained the title from L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, who died last September. Bettencourt’s daughter, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, is the only other woman to make it into the top 20, coming in at number 18.

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If you don’t have the luck of inheriting your wealth, China and the U.S. are the two best countries for self-made billionaires. Two-thirds of those who created their own wealth hailed from these two countries. So if you live in the U.S., the odds of joining the “three-comma club” are in your favor. Get ideating.

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