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Bill Gates back on top as world’s richest

Record number of women join Forbes’s ranking

Bill Gates’s net worth is estimated at $76 billion.

Mehdi Taamallah/AFP/Getty Images

Bill Gates’s net worth is estimated at $76 billion.

NEW YORK — Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is again the world’s richest person.

Forbes magazine revealed its ranking of the world’s billionaires Monday. Gates, who led the list for 15 of the past 20 years, won the spot back from Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu, who had topped the list for the past four years. Gates’s net worth is estimated at $76 billion; Slim follows at $72 billion.

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Spanish clothing magnate Amancio Ortega, known for the Zara retail chain, maintained his number three spot and came out ahead of famed US investor Warren Buffett, who ranked fourth. Larry Ellison of Oracle came in fifth.

Forbes said a record 1,645 billionaires made the list this year, with an average net worth of $4.7 billion. That was up from 1,426 billionaires last year with a net worth of $4.2 billion. Total net worth of this year’s list was $6.4 trillion, up from $5.4 trillion last year.

The magazine said 1,080 of the billionaires were self-made, 207 inherited their wealth, and 352 inherited a portion.

The largest net worth gainer was Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who more than doubled his fortune to $28.5 billion as the value of his company’s stock soared. He ranks 21st on the list.

The social media giant helped bring a few notable newcomers to the list, including Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, and Whats-App founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton, who recently sold their business to Facebook for $19 billion.

Forbes said 268 billionaires were new to the list, beating out a prior high of 226 newcomers in 2008. And a record number of women made the list this year, with 172 women joining, up 25 percent from last year.

Abigail Johnson of Boston-based Fidelity Investments was number seven on the list of females, with $17.3 billion

One hundred people dropped out of the rankings, while 16 passed away.

The United States was the country with the most billionaires, at 492, followed by China with 152 and Russia with 111.

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