The ultimate ranking of the world’s most influential people.

Who wields the power? Who has the influence? Who are the real decision-makers?

Warren BuffettKylie Jenner

Define power in 2021:
Would you rather have $100 million or 100 million followers?

Wealth has changed, influence has changed, power has changed.

Who’s calling the shots in today’s society? To answer this and reveal who really rules the world, we’ve created a unique new metric that harnesses the power of data to consider so much more than simply what’s in the bank.  

What separates the leaders from the followers? Who are the rulers of tomorrow and which stars are on the rise? Find out, only with Who Rules The World?

Because the concept of power has undergone a seismic shift, the metric that measures it has had to evolve too.

The five sectors that combine to form the definitive Who Rules The World? index are as follows:  

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In order to compile a definitive index, three key data points were leveraged: Wealth, Power and Influence.  

These coalesce to determine who reigns supreme, where their strengths lie, and who has the capacity to tip the balance.

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Money may not be able to buy you happiness, but it certainly has a bearing on status, visibility and affluence.

As a metric it is wholly objective, and as such plays a central role in the Who Rules The World? index.

The data collated to establish ‘wealth’ takes into consideration both personal assets and those an individual has indirect control over. The resultant score is determined by combining an individual’s   net worth and that of their entities. In the case of political figures, entities are substituted by the wealth indicators of the country over which they rule.  

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No longer the preserve of economic or political spheres, influence now encompasses the many facets of the internet and all its social media channels therein.

There are questions of reach, likes, followers and impressions to consider, before even beginning to include television hours and viewing figures.

The data for this category spans audience demographic and size, as well as social media and search engine statistics.

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Here we come to the question of ‘real-world’ power. This is an individual’s ability to make a tangible difference and their ability to impact the lives of others.

This could mean (to vastly varying degrees) managing a company, running a business empire or ruling a country.

The data collated in this instance takes into consideration economic and military strength, though also how important an individual is within an entity, in terms of the strength they wield.  

The Stories Behind The Numbers

Top Countries for the Top 100

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The Industries Dominating The Top 20

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The Numbers Behind The Top Ten

To put this in context, the total Real Estate value of all New York City properties was estimated to be $1.07 trillion in 2017

Top 10 combined
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Top 10 combined
Total wealth
(Personal + entity they run)

Unsurprisingly, the Top 10 individuals in our ranking run the world’s largest economies or businesses, and collectively have direct and indirect control over an estimated $200 TRILLION (which is double the entire world’s GDP and 10 times the GDP of the USA).

The total size of the networks individuals have access to is one of the crucial factors affecting the WRTW index.

Below are the five largest networks in the world:

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Joe Biden

It may come as a surprise to see current US President Joe Biden claiming the number one spot as the world’s wealthiest individual. His claim to the title can be attributed to the amount of wealth he personally possesses, alongside the vast amount he has indirect control over.

The US boasts the largest economy in the world, which gives Biden the ability to make trillion-dollar decisions that impact billions of lives.

So, What Are The Rulers Up To?

And The Top Spot Goes To …

Google co-founder and recent addition to the $100 billion club, Larry Page not only has wealth, but also considerable power and influence, which is why he’s our inaugural WRTW title holder.

Page has managed to secure the top spot so comprehensibly thanks to the majority voting power he holds.

4 billion of the 4.39 billion people who use the internet use Google, this gives Page considerable real-world influence.

Larry Page
Mark Zuckerberg

The Rise of the Tech Giants

Zuckerberg will celebrate his 36th birthday in 2021, with a net worth of over $75 billion.

The enduring popularity of Facebook needs little explanation, but for context, its family of apps are used by more than 3 billion people every month. There is no country in the world with a population larger than the number of Facebook’s active users.

As to his next move, Zuckerberg has been quoted saying that his goal for the next decade is “to be understood”, so it will be interesting to see how that unfolds.

Where is Donald Trump?

As a man who isn’t known for keeping a low profile, it wouldn’t be hard to track down Donald Trump in person. But where does he feature on the WRTW ranking?

Whilst serving as the President of the United States he reigned supreme at the top of the index, but since stepping down he has dropped out of the top 10 altogether, having taken a significant step back from the public eye.

Interestingly, Trump held more power when he was in office than Joe Biden currently does, according to our metric.

Since stepping down, his score fell across power, wealth and influence, but a key factor contributing to his fall is his recent lack of social media activity, after several platforms blocked his accounts.  

Trump’s social media influence contributed massively to his power, and it was this that gave him an edge over current president Joe Biden. At the peak of his activity, Trump had amassed a following of over 125.76 million people, whereas Biden currently has 67.3 million.

Donald Trump
Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish

Youngest person in the top 100

Best known as a musician, Billie Eilish is also a muse to a clutch of prominent fashion designers. Combine this with a colossal following that stems from her musical talents, her fashion sense and her staunch refusal to be anything but herself, and you have the perfect social media storm.

Eilish holds the 74th spot in the WRTW ranking and is notably the youngest on the list, having only recently turned 19 years old.

Despite her age, Eilish was the highest paid celebrity of 2020 and has an estimated net worth of $50 million, as well as significant social influence, both of which contribute to her position.

Who Rules The World? 100 Index