Gourmet restaurants, world-class nightclubs, favorable tax breaks--not to mention proximity to the world's financial centers. These are some of the attributes that make a city particularly attractive to billionaires and cause many of them to cluster in the same urban communities. It's no wonder, then, that one in three billionaires call one of 10 cosmopolitan cities home.
Despite all the squabbling between New York and London for bragging rights, neither is actually home to the largest number of billionaires. That honor belongs to Moscow.
The Russian capital is home to 74 billionaires, with an average net worth of $5.9 billion. That's quite a jump from just five billionaire residents in 2002. Among Moscow's wealthy denizens: Russia's richest person, aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, who just announced plans to take a stake in oil group Russneft, and Roman Abramovich, who owns an expensive dwelling in London but insists that Moscow is his home.
What makes Moscow so popular with Russia's wealthiest? Says billionaire oilman Viktor Vekselberg, "The standard of living in Moscow is on par with all of the world capitals." And it's less expensive. A ticket to Russia's famed Bolshoi Theater--where the likes of Mikhail Baryshnikov has danced--will only set you back $50. And top-notch kindergartens run by the government are free.
Moscow knocked off perennial No. 1 city New York, who is close behind with 71 billionaires and an average net worth of $3.3 billion. It is the first time since 2001, when we started closely tracking the city data, that New York hasn't been at the top. More than half of these New Yorkers make their money in finance and investments.
Other well-known New York tycoons include Mayor Michael Bloomberg, media mogul Rupert Murdoch and real estate honcho turned TV celebrity Donald Trump, who says this about his hometown: "Everything is here, everything is accessible, and there is always something great to do."
Coming in a distant third is London. We found just 36 billionaires whose primary residence is the U.K. capital. But what is interesting is that 18 of them are citizens of other countries. Leading that list is Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, who ranked fourth in our March wealthiest billionaires list (he was worth $45 billion then). "I find London an excellent place to live largely because of its geographic location," Mittal says. "I can fly pretty much anywhere in 12 hours."
Other notable foreigners calling London home include Iceland's richest citizen, Thor Bjorgolfsson, and shipping tycoon John Fredriksen, who switched his citizenship from Norway to Cyprus recently but chooses to live in London, where he owns one of the city's most expensive houses. There are also a number of billionaires, like Abramovich, who own second homes in London but don't consider it their main dwelling. Meanwhile, New York City has just one foreign billionaire who claims residence there, and Moscow is home only to Russian billionaires.
The U.S. has more cities in the top 10 than any other country: four including Los Angeles, home to 24 billionaires, including director Steven Spielberg; Dallas, home to 15, including oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens; and San Francisco, with 19 billionaires, including tech wunderkinds like Google's Larry Page (his co-founder Sergey Brin and the world's youngest billionaire Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg live close by in Silicon Valley).
Hong Kong is the most popular city for Asian billionaires; 30 live in the former British colony. But Mumbai, India, earns bragging rights as the city on our list with the richest billionaires. Mumbai's 20 billionaires, including two of the world's 10 richest (brothers Mukesh and Anil Ambani), are worth an average $7.6 billion, handily besting Moscow's $5.9 billion average.
And where billionaires go, the luxuries follow. These centers of finance and culture welcome you--if you can afford them, that is.