6:01 PM EDT, March 11, 2009
[link to www.newsday.com
Bill Gates and Mayor Michael Bloomberg were once again high on the Forbes' 2009 list of the World's Billionaires, with Gates at #1 and Bloomberg at #17.
The world has 332 fewer billionaires now than a year ago, according to Forbes magazine. Just as heartbreaking: The world's richest people aren't as rich as they were a year ago.
But if you were worried about Bill Gates -- relax; the chairman of software behemoth Microsoft Corp. has regained the title of world's richest man -- worth $40 billion, although Forbes says he lost $18 billion last year.
And New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was the only billionaire among the top 20 whose net worth rose during the past year.
But Warren Buffett slipped to second place, after losing $25 billion in the past year due to the decline in value of Berkshire Hathaway stock.
Forbes annual snapshot of the world's wealth found the total number of billionaires fell to 793 from 1,125. Forbes said this marks the first time since 2003 that the number dropped from one year to the next.
Even among those who have managed to remain billionaires, there's been a vast decrease in wealth, the magazine said; the total net worth of this year's list is $2.4 trillion, down $2 trillion from $4.4 trillion last year.
The average billionaire is now worth $3 billion, down from $3.9 billion in 2008.