Forbes: A Billionaire 'Boom'

Becoming a billionaire is something most people dream about but few actually accomplish. Still, CBS News Correspondent Anthony Mason reports, it might be getting easier.

"A billion just isn't what it used to be," said Luisa Kroll, the leader of some 30 reporters who ranked the world's wealthiest people for this week's issue of Forbes. "There are now 793 billionaires. Three years ago there were only 476."

One thing is still the same, though. Bill Gates is the world's richest man, according to the Forbes list. His $50 billion earns him the title for the 12th straight year.

Second place this time around goes to another well-known billionaire: investor Warren Buffet with $42 billion.

Then there are the newcomers. Calvin Ayre, a Canadian, has built a billion-dollar online gaming empire. K. P. Singh owns the real-estate under many of India's outsourcing centers.

India now has 23 billionaires, but the U.S. still leads the way. Half of the world's billionaires – 371 of them – live in America, holding well over $1 trillion in assets among them.

Donald Trump made the list again even if Martha Stewart didn't. Trump comes in at No. 278. "I think it's easier now than ever before," Trump said. "There are more ways to do it."

Britain's James Dyson literally sucked up his fortune, as anyone who has seen his commercials knows, by inventing a "better" vacuum.

All the new people can even make the list seem a little depressing for the old guard. "Some people on the list are in their thirties and are worth at least $10 billion," said Ronald Lauder, the heir to his mother's cosmetics fortune and founder of New York's Neue Gallery. "But it's good to be on the list."

Hind Hariri is now the world's youngest billionaire. The daughter of slain Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri is only 22.

But around the world, the biggest fortunes aren't growing that fast. So don't expect to see a trillionaire next year.

"I don't think we're going to have a hundred-billionaire anytime soon," said Forbes' Kroll.

In all, 49 countries are now home to at least one billionaire. Membership in the club may be a little less exclusive, but getting in the door still isn't easy.