Number of the Day

The Pandemic Produced 56 New American Billionaires

You can be a billionaire too, if you leave your $600 stimulus in the stock market for a couple of centuries

Marker Editors
Marker
Published in
2 min readJan 11, 2021

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“56 — The number of people who reached billionaire status during the pandemic” text w/ generic stock market graph background
Photo: Yuichiro Chino/Moment/Getty

56: That’s how many newly minted billionaires the United States gained between mid-March and December 2020, bringing the total number to 659, according to a report by the Institute of Policy Studies and Americans for Tax Fairness, per NBC News.

These individuals have seen their collective net worth increase by more than a trillion dollars during the pandemic so far. While Elon Musk took the top spot on that list on Thursday, most of the newer entrants to the billionaire’s club aren’t household names, and gained their billionaire status much in the same way that Musk became the wealthiest man in the world: thanks to a seemingly unstoppable stock market rally. The year 2020 was also a record one for IPOs, with 217 companies raising a collective $78 billion from the public market, a 16-year high.

Meanwhile, the rest of the country continues to grapple with high unemployment and small business closures, amid soaring Covid infections. Last year saw the biggest single-year increase in the U.S. poverty rate of any year since records began in 1960, with the poverty rate for individuals without a college degree climbing to 22.1% in November.

It’s a small mercy for lower-income Americans that the federal government reached a deal last month to extend expanded unemployment benefits and send out stimulus checks. If you park your $600 in the S&P 500, you, too, can be a billionaire… in approximately 223 years. Maybe a few years sooner if those $2,000 checks come through, too.

Siri, show me what a K-shaped recovery looks like.

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