Build your Data Visualization Intuition: Did the Rich get Richer During the Pandemic?

Ram Dewani 04 Feb, 2021 • 5 min read


The field of data science and analytics is enthralling and it practically touches us every day in our lives but we barely even realize it. What’s more important to realize is that how much easier our lives have become with the gift of data-based activities, one such subdomain is data visualization.

Data visualization has helped organizations run their business for decades and it’s now helping individuals tell compelling stories. After all, data storytelling is more an art rather than a subfield of data science.

In this article, I will introduce you to a great OC (original content) I found on r/dataisbeautiful. It is one of the tops voted OC in January 2021.


About the Visualization

The visualization as suggested in the title is about the wealth gained by some of the richest people in the world. In this case, the top 10 richest people in the world during the month of January 2021

The visualization is self-explanatory but for the ease of the audience, I’ll mention a few pointers about the visualization. The X-axis represents the individuals whereas the Y-axis represents their wealth in US$ billion. It is a dynamic bar chart that changes with time. The color of the bar corresponds to the country of origin of the person.

[OC] The rich got richer during the pandemic! Well of course they did… from dataisbeautiful

Few Insights

Insight 1 – Zhong Shanshan started lowest and became the 6th richest person in the world

Zhong Shanshan - Data Visualization Intuition

image source – forbes

As observed in the visualization, Zhong Shanshan who wasn’t on the list of the world’s richest people suddenly came out of nowhere and grabbed the 6th position, all within a year!  Seems questionable? Let’s see some of the events that may have contributed to his success.

Zhong Shanshan’s wealth grew by a staggering US$71 billion throughout the year, bringing his estimated net worth to US$77.8 billion.  Source –

Zhong Shanshan controls the Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy which is widely working in the direction of covid vaccine research. The company went public on Shanghai Stock Exchange in April 2020, giving a boost to the wealth of his.

He also has a majority stake in one of China’s largest bottled water company – Nongfu Springs. The company went public in September 2020. Giving yet another boost to his personal wealth.

Finally, in 2021, he became Asia’s richest person and the world’s 5th richest person.

Insight 2 – During the Pandemic, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk gained enormous wealth, the gap between them and others became significant

Jeff Bezos, who was already the richest man on this planet saw his personal wealth skyrocket during the pandemic. As the need for online shopping and deliveries became crucial, Amazon appeared to take the lead in the space, their business grew exponentially.

Elon Musk data visualization intuition

image source – space

His personal fortune, as estimated by Forbes magazine, has risen by $73.2bn since the start of the crisis to a record $186.2bn. That 65% increase results mostly from the soaring value of Amazon shares as more people turn to the delivery service. In just one day in July, Bezos saw his fortune increase by more than £10bnSource – The Guardian

Mr. Bezos benefitted the most out of the pandemic, lockdowns, and market fluctuations.

What’s even more surprising is that Elon Musk came at a lightning speed to dethrone Mr. Bezos as the richest person. Elong Musk, the SpaceX and Tesla entrepreneur became the richest person as his personal wealth crossed $185 billion.

Mr. Musk’s electric car company Tesla, saw a huge surge in its value during the latter half of 2020 to around $700 billion making it one of the most expensive car companies in the world.

Elon Musk data visualization intuition
image source –

“About half my money is intended to help problems on Earth, and half to help establish a self-sustaining city on Mars to ensure continuation of life (of all species) in case Earth gets hit by a meteor like the dinosaurs or WW3 happens and we destroy ourselves,”  – tweets Elon Musk

Insight 3 – 8 out of 10 richest people are from the United States

It is really curious to see that only one person in the list of richest people is from Asia, one from Europe and the other 8 are from the United States! Makes you wonder what’s the reason for that?

Some of the best comments

Reddit is a great place to share your thoughts and insights, I will be sharing a few comments I felt were humorous and insightful.


As discussed above, Mr. Zhong gained an enormous amount of wealth in a short span of time. The comment sparks a great discussion on this topic.

Mr. Zhong topic

Well, it’s true that not all people gained wealth during the pandemic. Forex, Mr. Buffet is down by 0.55% (can’t get more minuscule) but still holding his spot.

mr buffet

If you noticed, the graph takes only the final 10 richest people and visualize their wealth over the span of a year. A lot of other people may have been added to the list or removed from the list but it’s impossible to keep track of all the dynamics of the wealth of the rich since their wealth is very much dependent on the volatility of the market.


How can you build great visualizations?

Visualization is not just a technique to showcase your data in a structured manner, it’s an art to tell your story using data. Data Visualization is one of the most important skills in the industry today.

Are you wondering, how can you build great visualizations and share them with your friends and colleagues? Here’s a free course on Tableau

Tableau is one of the industry leaders when it comes to data visualization. Check out the course to learn the art yourself.

Ram Dewani 04 Feb 2021

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