According to Forbes, its list of billionaires from around the world has dropped in 2020, showing some of the richest aren’t immune to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. That said, some patterns are definitely noticeable. See the richest man in the world today — and every year from the past couple decades — and find out how much they’re worth and more about the year they dominated.
1987: Yoshiaki Tsutsumi
Net worth: $20 billion
In 1987, if you asked, "who is the richest man in the whole world?" the answer may have surprised you — unless you lived in Japan. Yoshiaki Tsutsumi became a real estate baron thanks to extensive investments he made after inheriting control of the Seibu Corporation, which was founded by his late father, Yasujirō Tsutsumi.
This year also marked October 19, 1987 as Black Monday, where global stock markets crashed and the Dow Jones dropped 508 points — four and a half times the previous record.
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1988: Yoshiaki Tsutsumi
Net worth: $18.9 billion
It was widely expected that Tsutsumi's elder half-brother, Seiji Tsutsumi, would succeed Yasujirō upon his death, but instead, Seiji inherited the Seibu department stores, which he subsequently parlayed into the Credit Saison empire.
1989: Yoshiaki Tsutsumi
Net worth: $15 billion
In addition to Seibu Corporation, Yoshiaki also focused on developing and expanding the vast land holdings inherited from his father. At one point, his companies owned one sixth of all the land in Japan.
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1990: Yoshiaki Tsutsumi
Net worth: $16 billion
Another year, another billion made.
1991: Taikichiro Mori
Net worth: $18.5 billion
Mori quit his job as an economics professor and entered the real estate business. Smart man.
1992: Taikichiro Mori
1993: Yoshiaki Tsutsumi
Net worth: $9 billion
Aside from his real estate investments, Tsutsumi also initiated new ventures into the sports market, building a stadium in the Tokyo area to house a professional baseball team, the Seibu Lions, and was instrumental in Nagano's successful bid to host the 1998 Winter Olympics.
1994: Yoshiaki Tsutsumi
Net worth: $8.5 billion
This year marked Tsutsumi's last year topping Forbes' list of billionaires and, in fact, he dropped off entirely after a series of scandals and his 2005 arrest.
1995: Bill Gates
Net worth: $12.9 billion
And a new era, the tech era, begins.
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1996: Bill Gates
Net worth: $18 billion
It was in 1975 that Gates and Paul Allen launched Microsoft, which would eventually become the world's largest PC software company.
1997: Bill Gates
Net worth: $36.4 billion
Just like that, Gates doubled his money.
1998: Bill Gates
Net worth: $51 billion
Gates continued to dominate.
1999: Bill Gates
Net worth: $90 billion
On December 27, 1999, Gates hit an all-time high of $92.5 billion. Wowza. But it was also a sign of things to come as Jeff Bezos of Amazon joined the list of billionaires for the first time.
2000: Bill Gates
Net worth: $60 billion
In January of this year, Gates stepped down as CEO, which also saw his net worth drop. He was still tops, though, so no need to cry for the guy.
2001: Bill Gates
Net worth: $58.7 billion
Market downturn cut the wealth of half of the world's billionaires in 2001 — but Gates, for the most part, was left unscathed.
2002: Bill Gates
Net worth: $52.8 billion
Gates may have been criticized for his business tactics, but he is still one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution, proving it year after year.
2003: Bill Gates
Net worth: $40.7 billion
Times were a-changing. Not only did 2003 mark the debut of Red Bull founders and the makers of Gummi Bears on the list, but Oprah Winfrey also made the cut, making her the first black female to make the list of billionaires.
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2004: Bill Gates
Net worth: $46.6 billion
And Gates saw an upturn. He was also joined by list newcomers Guy Laliberté, the creator of Cirque de Soleil and an author you may have heard of: J.K. Rowling.
2005: Bill Gates
Net worth: $50 billion
Gates continued to dominate for the U.S., but other countries came ready to play. Billionaires from Kazakhstan, Poland, Ukraine and Iceland joined the list.
2006: Bill Gates
Net worth: $52 billion
In June 2006, Gates announced that he would transition to part-time duties at Microsoft to focus on a more full-time basis at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which was established in 2000.
2007: Bill Gates
Net worth: $56 billion
This was the year two-thirds of all billionaires got richer. This year was also when former wealthiest man in the world a few years over, Yoshiaki Tsutsumi, fell out of the ranks.
2008: Warren Buffett
Net worth: $62 billion
On June 27, 2008, Gates stepped down as Microsoft Chairman to devote himself to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. So it wasn't surprising when Buffett, one of the most successful investors in the world, swooped in.
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2009: Bill Gates
Net worth: $40 billion
Buffett wasn't on top for long, having seen his fortune decline $25 billion after shares of Berkshire Hathaway fell nearly 50% in 12 months. That put Gates back in the number one position yet again.
2010: Carlos Slim Helu (and family)
Net worth: $53.5 billion
For the third time in three years, the world had a new richest man. Thanks to surging prices of his telecom holdings, the Mexican tycoon became the richest guy in the world, beating out Gates and Buffett.
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2011: Carlos Slim Helu (and family)
Net worth: $74 billion
Slim added $20.5 billion to his fortune, enough to retain the number one ranking.
2012: Carlos Slim Helu (and family)
Net worth: $69 billion
The gap between Slim and Gates was getting smaller as Slim's fortune fell $5 billion and Gates' rose $5 billion, but the telecommunications mogul still topped the list of billionaires.
2013: Carlos Slim Helu (and family)
Net worth: $73 billion
Slim edged out Gates yet again.
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2014: Bill Gates
Net worth: $76 billion
Gates was back in the top spot, even after he stepped down as Microsoft's chairman in February of this year and assumed a new post as Technology Advisor to support the newly appointed CEO Satya Nadella.
2015: Bill Gates
Net worth: $79.2 billion
This was the 16th time Gates topped the list of billionaires, but there were two notable newcomers: Michael Jordan, thanks to his well-timed investment in the Charlotte Hornets and the world's then-youngest billionaire, Evan Spiegel, co-founder and CEO of Snapchat.
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2016: Bill Gates
Net worth: $75 billion
Third year in a row, his 17th time at number one. No big deal.
2017: Bill Gates
Net worth: $86 billion
2017 marked a record year for the global rich list as this was the first time over 2,000 people made the cut. There were 195 newcomers, 56 people under the age of 40 and a record 227 women. But Gates still dominated.
2018: Jeff Bezos
Net worth: $112 billion
Thanks to Amazon's rising stock price, it was a banner year for Bezos, resulting in the biggest one-year gain in wealth ($35 billion) since Forbes started tracking billionaires back in 1987. This year Bezos also became the richest man in the world ever.
Here are more of the richest people in the world this past year.