The World's Billionaires is an annual ranking by documented net worth of the wealthiest billionaires in the world, compiled and published in March annually by the American business magazine Forbes. The list was first published in March 1987. The total net worth of each individual on the list is estimated and is cited in United States dollars, based on their documented assets and accounting for debt and other factors. Royalty and dictators whose wealth comes from their positions are excluded from these lists. This ranking is an index of the wealthiest documented individuals, excluding any ranking of those with wealth that is not able to be completely ascertained.
Each year, Forbes employs a team of over 50 reporters from a variety of countries to track the activity of the world's wealthiest individuals and sometimes groups or families – who share wealth. Preliminary surveys are sent to those who may qualify for the list. According to Forbes, they received three types of responses – some people try to inflate their wealth, others cooperate but leave out details, and some refuse to answer any questions. Business deals are then scrutinized and estimates of valuable assets – land, homes, vehicles, artwork, etc. – are made. Interviews are conducted to vet the figures and improve the estimate of an individual's holdings. Finally, positions in a publicly traded stock are priced to market on a date roughly a month before publication. Privately held companies are priced by the prevailing price-to-sales or price-to-earnings ratios. Known debt is subtracted from assets to get a final estimate of an individual's estimated worth in United States dollars. Since stock prices fluctuate rapidly, an individual's true wealth and ranking at the time of publication may vary from their situation when the list was compiled.
When a living individual has dispersed his or her wealth to immediate family members it is included under a single listing (as a single "family fortune") provided that individual (the grantor) is still living. However, if a deceased Billionaire’s fortune has been dispersed, it will not appear as a single listing, and each recipient will only appear if his or her own total net worth is over a $Billion (his or her net worth will not be combined with family members') Royal families and dictators that have their wealth contingent on a position are always excluded from these lists.
The rankings are published annually in March, so the net worths listed are snapshots taken at that time. These lists only show the top 10 wealthiest billionaires for each year.