The Strategist

US billionaires add $1.3T to their wealth during the pandemic

03/25/2021 - 02:49

Americans for Tax Fairness organisation and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) released a report which says that over the past 12 months, i.e. from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, American billionaires in the USA have increased their wealth by a total of $1.3 trillion, or 44.6% compared to the pre-pandemic level.

Mohammed Abdelzak via flickr
Mohammed Abdelzak via flickr
Meanwhile, the report notes that 29 million Americans contracted the coronavirus and more than 535,000 died from it during the same time. "While the fortunes of billionaires were rising, nearly 80 million people lost their jobs - from March 21, 2020 to February 20, 2021, and as of February 27, 18 million people were receiving unemployment benefits," the study authors said. 

The ATF and IPS calculate that 43 new billionaires were formed in the US during the pandemic - there are now 657 of them. Among the reasons cited by the authors of the report are initial public offerings (IPO) of companies such as Airbnb, DoorDash and Snowflake, whose founders and co-owners made good money on the sale of shares.

However, since the beginning of the pandemic, people who have been among the richest Americans for years have increased their wealth the most: the fortune of Elon Musk increased by 559% or $137 billion, Jeff Bezos’ wealth grew by 58% or $65 billion, Mark Zuckerberg got 86% or $47 billion. 

The ATF and IPS report confirmed that the US technology sector has become one of the most profitable sectors during the pandemic - billionaires from this sector increased their wealth by a total of $564bn, or 68%. The second place in growth of personal wealth is the sphere of finance and investments with the growth of 37% or $226 billion. Billionaires from the American car industry increased their combined fortune by $172 billion or 317%. However, the authors of the report note that this was mainly due to Elon Musk and his Tesla.