A record total of 1,226 people made the 2012 list, representing 58 different countries. Of those, 126 were newcomers to the list and 104 were women. The United States had the greatest number of billionaires with 425. Russia had 96 people on the list, while China had 95.  Georgia, Morocco, and Peru were newly represented on the list. Falling stock prices in Asia contributed to 117 former billionaires falling from the list worldwide. Twelve others listed in 2011 died. Overall, net gainers (460) barely outnumbered net losers (441). 
Indeed, with the exception of Slim and the occasional overseas billionaire, Gates and Buffett have been a duopoly at the top of the rich list. Their close friendship and partnering in philanthropy made them a potent symbol of the philanthropic side of wealth.
Bezos will be a different figurehead. Unlike Gates, he is still actively running and building a business. He is far more press-averse, rarely giving interviews or public addresses. He is hyper-competitive. And he is only moderately — some would say barely — philanthropic.
But like Gates and Buffett, Bezos is not given to many flashy displays of wealth. He has loads of real estate — he bought the most expensive home in Washington, ., and owns homes in Beverly Hills, California, and New York along with his spread in Medina, Washington — and is one of the nation's largest landowners, with over 300,000 acres.