Access to university education has become one of the best ways to predict how many richest people will have the Western societies. The gap between the most educated and those who left the educational system before reaching the faculty has increased during the last decades. And one of the best ways to predict whether a child will have more or less future income is to look at the educational background of their parents.
It is more or less clear depending on the country where one lives, but in general, in those countries where the effects of the economic crisis have been felt most, are those countries where it can be said that the social elevator has broken down, or is functioning imperfectly, more slowly, more stagnatically. A correlation can then be seen between greater wealth and greater university education, but this is not a perfect balance. Uneducated millionaires are everywhere.
The most obvious example is Amancio Ortega, the richest man in Spain, recognized as the owner of the multinational clothing company Zara, and one of the five wealthiest men in the world. Born in a remote village in the mountains of León, Ortega built a textile empire without ever having passed through the upper echelons of academia. This is a situation that is often repeated in other countries of the world, where from time to time authentic examples of the “self-made men or women” appear, who manage to conquer the system despite coming from the bottom.
But there are other examples that tell the opposite story. These graphs and maps produced by Resume.io are a good example. Based on the lists of the richest people in the world produced by different publications, the infographics analyse the academic credentials (or lack thereof) of the participants and the results are quite interesting.
In at least 28 countries the richest person has no more student endorsement than the majority of the population. Many of them are in Asia and Africa, but also in Europe. Interestingly, the southern European countries (Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Romania, the bulk of the PIGS) are among them. Also New Zealand, thanks to Graeme Hart, a very successful private investor.
This category, the poorly educated millionaires, is the most populated, but it is not the norm. The charts break down millionaires by academic specialization. In fact, most billionaires do have some sort of college degree.
Finance (26 of the cases analyzed), economics (22) and engineering (21) dominate. Below them are lawyers (13), political science (12) and (surprisingly) pure science (7). There are five millionaires who studied several careers, while only two are doctors, historians or studied education.
By color, the relationship is as follows: purple, without studies; gray, with studies but of unknown specialization; light blue, Finance; green, Economics; red, Engineering; orange, Law; dark blue, Politics; lime, Science; gold, various degrees; purple, Social Sciences; indigo, Computer Science; turquoise, Medicine; blue, Mathematics; coral, History; yellow, Medicine.