9 Ways to Imagine Jeff Bezos’ Riches

The money issue

9 Ways to Imagine Jeff Bezos’ Riches

Data on billionaires’ true wealth is about as murky as swamp water. But that doesn’t mean we can’t wade through it! To visualize the vast sums of the ultra-wealthy, I scoured the internet for reliable numbers on Jeff Bezos’ fortune – and came across mostly question marks and educated guesses. Bezos’ net worth is so bogged down in Amazon stock that it can fluctuate into millions of dollars in one minute. But here are our best calculations of his net worth from financial reporting and the scant paperwork available. Let’s dive in!

1. Deep Dive

Hard money is only a small part of Bezos’ vast wealth.

Private Equity (e.g. Blue Origin): $9.15 Billion

Listed Assets (e.g. Amazon Shares): $147.25 Billion

2. Let them eat cake

Jeff Bezos has given away just 1.2 percent of his net worth so far. That’s $2.1 billion. What could we achieve if he gave away more of his pie?

0.7% Give each Amazon employee $1,000.

0.8% Emergency repairs to all US roads and bridges.

1.9% Pre-K for any American child for one year.

8.7% A year’s supply of insulin for American diabetics.

10.4% Free public transportation for every New Yorker for a year.

11.4% Feed 13.8 million food insecure US households for a month.

3. Clock in

Bezos has enough money for several lives. But how many lives would the average Joe need to accumulate?

The average full-time Amazon employee earned $37,930 in 2020. To collect as much money as Bezos ($172 billion)…

… a worker would have to start working in the Pliocene Era (4.5 million years ago, when hominins were just beginning to stand on two legs!).

4. Put it in perspective

The median wealth of a US household is $118,200. Bezos has $172 billion. So… how does that compare?

The weight of a single peanut

A truckload of peanut butter* (*1,925 lbs. – almost a ton!)

The size of a white blood cell

The length of a fin whale

Fingernail dust* (*0.000117 cm.)

The height of a piece of Toblerone

Mount Everest (if you climb it five times)

A flight from New York to Louisville, Ky.

The volume of a silent library

The roar of a plane taking off

A flake in a snow globe

Every blade of grass on a small front lawn

A microscopic dot of champagne (14 bubbles)

A flute of champagne (20 million bubbles)

The diameter of an Oreo cookie

More than twice the width of the Grand Canyon

5. The World of Bezos

Bezos owns an estimated 420,000 hectares of land. Here’s what he could fit into his metaphorical backyard.

6. The swing of things

On any given day, Jeff Bezos’ net worth can go up or down. Often the changes are huge.

For example, on March 15, his estimated net worth was $166 billion in the morning when the markets opened. At the end of the day it was $172 billion.

7. Taking the Temperature

If wealth equaled warmth, how hot would Jeff Bezos be?

Jeff Bezos $172 billion

The core of the sun 27,000,000°F

Dolly Parton $350,000,000

The heat of lightning 50,000°F

Mitch McConnell $10,000,000

A pizza oven 900°F

Median wealth of US households $118,200

sweater weather 52°F

If this were to scale, it would take much, much longer – think scrolling whole minutes – to get down here. †

8. More is more

A timeline of Bezos getting richer and richer and richer and richer and richer and richer and richer…


AUGUST 2013Bezos buys The Washington Post.

AUGUST 2013Bezos buys The Washington Post.

2013


JULY 2014 Amazon introduces its first smartphone.

JULY 2014 Amazon introduces its first smartphone.

2014


JULY 2015 First ever Amazon Prime Day to celebrate 20 years of Amazon.

JULY 2015 First ever Amazon Prime Day to celebrate 20 years of Amazon.

2015


JUNE 2017 Amazon acquires Whole Foods.

JUNE 2017 Amazon acquires Whole Foods.

2017

MARCH 2020 pandemic.

2020

9. In the time it takes

Bezos adds $500* to his net worth every second. Here’s how valuable his time is.
*calculated based on Bezos’ 2012-22 vermogens capital gains

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SOURCES: Bloomberg Billionaires Index, The Land Report, Amazon filings, Forbes’s America’s Top Givers 2022, Bezos’ net worth at the close of business on March 15, 2022.

Mona Chalabi is a writer and illustrator based in London. She specializes in everything that has to do with data.

Additional design and development by Jacky Myint.

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