Recession Hits Forbes Billionaires List

Google co-founders Sergey Brin, right, and Larry Page speak with reporters in this May 10, 2006 file photo in Mountain View, Calif. AP

Even billionaires are feeling the pinch of the recession.

Forbes released their Billionaires List Wednesday evening, including the world's youngest plutocrats. The magazine's Web site reported that the elite club of billionaires under 40 is a lot smaller this year. The average age of the world's 20 youngest billionaires is 35 this year, up from last year's average of 32.

They are a bit poorer too - the average net worth of billionaires age 40 and younger is $2.9 billion, down 30 percent from last year's average of $4.1 billion.

"The last time the billionaires around the world were that poor - and obviously I'm a little tongue in cheek when I talk about $3 billion being poor - was back in 2003," Forbes senior editor Luisa Kroll told CBS News chief business correspondent Anthony Mason.

Senior statesman Warren Buffett lost $25 billion, bringing his net worth down to $37 billion.

"He had his worst year in the 44 years he's been running Berkshire Hathaway," Kroll said.

Bill Gates reclaimed the title of world's richest man, despite losing $18 billion.

Among the world's 20 richest people, only one billionaire actually saw his fortunes improve: New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.

In all, the U.S. lost 125 billionaires. but still has more than 350, Mason reports. Russia, which had 87 billionaires, is down to 32. India went from 53 to 24.

The biggest loser was Indian tycoon Anil Ambani who saw nearly $32 billion of his fortune evaporate. He's now worth a mere $10 billion.

So who is the youngest billionaire in the world? Twenty-five year old German Prince Albert von Thurn und Taxis, worth $2.1 billion. Von Thurn und Taxis first appeared on the Forbes list of billionaires at age 8, but he officially inherited his family's fortune in 2001 on his 18th birthday. His fortune fell nearly 10 percent after the housing crisis lowered real estate and forestry prices.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, 24, fell off the Forbes ranking this year, as the social networking site's revenue hasn't kept pace with its increase in users.

But other Silicon Valley tycoons make the list - including Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who are the richest billionaires under 40, with a $12 billion fortune each. But the two moguls have been hit by the financial crisis as shares of Google went down 30 percent, and each of their fortunes have dropped $6.5 billion since last March.

The top 10:

1. William Gates III, $40.0B
2. Warren Buffett, $37.0B
3. Carlos Slim Helu, 35.0B
4. Lawrence Ellison, $22.5B
5. Ingvar Kamprad, $22.0B
6. Karl Albrecht, $21.5B
7. Mukesh Ambani, $19.5B
8. Lakshmi Mittal, $19.3B
9. Theo Albrecht, $18.8B
10. Amancio Ortega, $18.3B

Click here for the full report from Forbes.com.
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