Who is the richest YouTuber in the world today?
The richest YouTuber in the world today is Jeffree Star with a net worth of $200 million. His net worth is 5x larger than the second richest YouTuber, PewDiePie, who has a net worth of $40 million. Jeffree earned $15 million in 2020 directly from his YouTube channel, with 16.5 million subscribers and 2.4 billion total views. But the bulk of his fortune comes from his cosmetics company, Jeffree Star Cosmetics, which pulls in over $100 million in sales per year.
The biggest YouTubers today are mega celebrities and household names. In fact, earnings directly from YouTube are becoming a smaller and smaller percentage of their actual net worths. The richest YouTubers make more money from launching their own product lines, music labels, and other spin off businesses using their giant follower base as free marketing.
Methodology: How we ranked the richest YouTubers in 2021
There are many different ways to “rank” the richest YouTubers in the world. For instance, Bill Gates made a few videos on YouTube. Technically, he would be the “richest YouTuber of all time”. However, one of our main criterias for making the richest YouTubers rankings was that the YouTuber must be a full-time YouTuber. The majority of their wealth and fame has to have come from YouTube. From there, we took the net worths, subscriber counts, view count, and YouTube earnings into consideration. The richest youtubers in the list are those that branched outside of YouTube, essentially using their massive followings to launch other businesses. These earnings were considered toward their ranking because it was an indirect result from growing their YouTube channel.
Here are the top 20 richest YouTubers in the world today.
- Jeffree Star – net worth of $200 million
- PewDiePie – net worth of $40 million
- Markiplier – net worth of $35 million
- DanTDM – net worth of $35 million
- Ryan’s World – net worth of $32 million
- Rhett & Link – net worth of $32 million combined
- Dude Perfect – net worth of $30 million
- Vanoss Gaming – net worth of $25 million
- Ninja – net worth of $25 million
- James Charles – net worth of $25 million
- Preston – net worth of $20 million
- Like Nastya – net worth of $20 million
- David Dobrik – net worth of $20 million
- Jake Paul – net worth of $20 million
- Lilly Singh – net worth of $20 million
- Logan Paul – net worth of $19 million
- MrBeast – net worth of $16 million
- Blippi – net worth of $16 million
- KSI – net worth of $15 million
- Roman Atwood – net worth of $14.5 million
Read about each YouTuber, and how they made their money below.
1. Jeffree Star
Net Worth: $200 Million
2020 Earnings: $15 Million
Subscribers: 16.5 Million
Total Views: 2.4 Billion
Before YouTube, Jeffree Star supported himself doing different makeup and modeling jobs. Jeffree joined Myspace and had one of the largest followings. He received tens of thousands of comments on his posts. He blogged about life, fame, beauty and posted his music. His first video on YouTube was in 2009. It was actually to promote his music career.
In 2014, his music career wasn’t panning out, and he was almost bankrupt. Jeffree used his life savings to start Jeffree Star Cosmetics. He used YouTube to promote himself and his brand. Jeffree Star Cosmetics now earns an estimated $100 million a year. It’s pretty safe to say that was money well spent. Jeffree also made $18 million off YouTube alone in 2018.
2. PewDiePie (Felix Kjellberg)
Net Worth: $40 Million
Subscribers: 109 Million
Total Views: 27 Billion
PewDiePiE became famous for his commentary on video games. He played games while commenting on his experiences and displaying his hilarious reactions. There weren’t any big gaming channels at the time, so PewDiePiE’s rise came at the perfect time.
PewDiePiE’s interests in high school were art and gaming. He bought a computer by selling his art. He also used to skip classes to play video games with friends. PewDiePiE graduated from high school in 2008. Then he dropped out of Chalmers University of Technology in 2011. He left due to a lack of interest in his current studies at the time.
The early days weren’t easy. Felix supported himself by selling Photoshop art, working as a harbor captain, and on a hot dog stand. He even almost got an apprenticeship at a well-known advertising agency in Scandinavian.
Everything worked out in the end, as Felix had 5 million subscribers in 2012, which was the most at the time. Now he’s the most subscribed individual user channel on YouTube. He’s the third-most subscribed channel as well.
3. Markiplier (Mark Fischbach)
Net Worth: $35 Million
2020 Earnings: $19.5 Million
Subscribers: 28.8 Million
Total Views: 15.4 Billion
Markiplier joined YouTube in 2012. He started off doing sketch comedy where he would play every character in the sketch. That’s how he got the name Markiplier. A mix between Mark and multiplier. Before YouTube banned his Adsense account, he played video games on that channel. He went on to create a new one called markiplierGAME later that year.
Markiplier moved to Los Angeles in 2014 and focused on Let’s Play videos. His breakthrough playthrough of Five Nights at Freddy’s. This series now has over 80 million views. He continued to play FNAF games and even had a cameo in Five Nights at Freddy’s AR: Special Delivery. By 2018, Markiplier already had over 20 million subscribers.
In 2019, Markiplier made a new YouTube channel called Unus Annus with Ethan Nestor. They made a video a day for a year. After the year was up, they would delete the entire channel, along with its content. Unus Annus gained over a million subscribers and over 11 million views in its first week. Before deleting it in 2020, Markiplier and Ethan did a live stream, which peaked at 1.5 million viewers.
4. DanTDM (Daniel Middleton)
Net Worth: $35 Million
Subscribers: 29.3 Million
Total Views: 18.5 Billion
DanTDM played Pokemon and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive under PokemanDanlvl45 in 2009. He then started his main channel, TheDiamondMinecart, in 212. His primary focus on that channel was Minecraft.
He continued to play other games as well. He set a Guinness World Record for most views for a dedicated Minecraft video channel. DanTDM also set the record for most goals scored in a Rocket League game by a team of two and three players.
In 2016, He changed his channel into the famous name today known as DanTDM. In the same year, he wrote a best-seller called Trayaurus and the Enchanted Crystal. This book was on The New York Times Best Seller list for hardcover graphic books for almost three months. In 2017, he went on a book tour and starred in a web series called DanTDM Creates a Big Scene. It premiered on YouTube Red, which is YouTube’s subscription service. It ran for six episodes.
5. Ryan’s World (Ryan Kaji)
Net Worth: $32 Million
2020 Earnings: $29.5 Million
Subscribers: 45 Million
Total Views: 61.3 Billion
Ryan’s World started on YouTube channel in 2015. He watched toy review channels and asked, why isn’t he on YouTube when other kids are? His mom quit her job and worked on Ryan’s World full-time. The name used to be Ryan ToysReview. His family also changed their surname, Guan, to his on-screen surname, Kaji.
They currently run nine YouTube channels. These channels cover toy reviews. They also cover DIY science experiences and Ryan participating in various challenges. They also have channels in Spanish and Japanese. A lot of the toys Ryan’s World reviews get donated to charity. They also give them away to friends and family.
Ryan’s World has a branded clothing and toys line which is also called Ryan’s World. It launched only with Walmart in 2018 and has made over $250 million in 2020. Now you can get his line from other stores as well. He also signed a deal for a television series with Nickelodeon and Amazon.
6. Rhett & Link (Rhett McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln “Link” Neal III)
Net Worth: $32 Million Combined
2020 Earnings: $20 Million
Subscribers: 27.9 Million
Total Views: 9.2 Billion
Rhett & Link met in the first grade in an elementary school in North Carolina. They made a documentary about this meeting called Looking for Ms. Locklear. One day, they got caught writing swear words on their desks. That’s how they got the name of their most popular YouTube channel, Good Mythical Morning. They weren’t allowed to go to recess and had to stay inside instead. They received coloring books that had mythical creatures in them.
Rhett & Link went on to be roommates at North Carolina State University. They studied civil and industrial engineering respectfully. They both worked in their chosen field for a time. Rhett & Link also made videos and comedic sketches for an organization called Cru. They worked and developed as a duo before working as entertainers full-time. They currently run five YouTube Channels and brought the Smosh brand in 2019.
7. Dude Perfect
Net Worth: $30 Million
2020 Earnings: $23 Million
Subscribers: 57.5 Million
Total Views: 12.8 Billion
Dude Perfect is a group of former college roommates. They all studied at Texas A&M. The members are Cory and Coby Cotton, Cody Jones, Tyler Toney, and Garrett Hilbert. Their content is primarily stunts and trick shots. They also have good-natured games or contests against each other.
Dude Perfect got started on YouTube in 2009. It was a trick-shot video filmed at Tyler Toney’s ranch. Then they filmed a video at Sky Ranch, which is a Christian summer camp. This video got over 18 million views. For every 100,000 views the video received, Dude Perfect sponsored a child from Compassion International.
Espn reached out to Dude Perfect after their videos went viral. Their videos then appeared on various ESPN shows. They continued to stay involved in sports. Dude Perfect has collaborations and endorsements from players in various professional leagues. They range from the NBA, NFL, Nascar, Volleyball, and Tennis.
8. Vanoss Gaming (Evan Fong)
Net Worth: $25 Million
Subscribers: 26 Million
Total Views: 13.7 Billion
Vanoss Gaming is a music producer, video game commentator, and DJ. He studied economics in college and started his channel in 2011. His parents had concerns when he began to shift his focus toward his YouTube channel. Vanoss Gaming waited until his channel was successful before dropping out his sophomore year. In 2015, He had over 10 million subscribers.
He got the name VanossGaming from VANOS. It’s a variable valve timing system produced by BMW. Evan’s father used to play under vanoss62. That name came from the S62 engine used on the BMW M5 (see a pattern here?) Vanoss Gaming then took up the mantle.
Vanoss Gaming produces and performs music as Rynx. He released his first album, In Pieces, in October 2019. He then released a remixed version of that album in July 2020. He was a voice actor for the YouTube Premium series Paranormal Action Squad. And for the animated series Alpha Betas, the pilot episode aired on his channel in March 2021.
9. Ninja (Tyler Blevins)
Net Worth: $25 Million
Subscribers: 24.2 Million
Total Views: 2.4 Billion
Ninja graduated from high school and never went the college route. He instead focused on competing in Halo 3 professionally and streaming. He played for Cloud9, Team Liquid, Renegades, and Luminosity Gaming. Besides Halo, he streamed H1Z1, PlayerUnkown Battlegrounds, and Fortnite Battle Royale on Twitch.
By 2018, Ninja had over 2 million followers. He also broke the records for the most viewers for an individual stream with 635,000, and 667,000 viewers live. Ninja made around $10 million in 2018. Ninja said he was making over $500,000 a month streaming Fortnite. That same year, Ninja had almost 100 million views in a single month on his YouTube channel. He also gained over 2 million subscribers.
He left Twitch in 2018 to join Mixer, a streaming platform by Microsoft. Mixer shutdown in 2020 and partnered with Facebook Gaming. Ninja then returned to Twitch.
10. James Charles
Net Worth: $25 Million
Subscribers: 25.6 Million
Total Views: 3.3 Billion
James Charles graduated from high school in 2017. It wasn’t an easy experience since he got bullied, but he ignored and pushed through it. He got started in makeup after helping his friend do hers for a dance at school. He then taught himself how to do it and started doing it professionally for other people.
While he worked as a local makeup artist in New York, James started his YouTube channel. He posted makeup tutorials, and by 2016, he became the first male ambassador for CoverGirl. He worked with fellow ambassador Katy Perry. By 2019, Charlies had over 10 million subscribers on YouTube. He also had the same amount of followers on Instagram. His net worth was around $12 million that year.
Net Worth: $20 Million
2020 Earnings: $19 Million
Subscribers: 37.7 Million
Total Views: 10.3 Billion
Preston Arsement has been on YouTube for over ten years now. He started as TBNRfrags. In 2012, he changed his name to PrestonPlayz, where he played Minecraft and Call of Duty. Now he also does challenges, pranks, and vlogs under Preston. He posted 5 Ways To Prank Your Little Brother’s Minecraft House on that channel. This video currently has over 55 million views. He now runs five channels.
Preston married his wife Brianna in 2018, and she appears in his videos. She currently has over 3 million subscribers on her channel BriannaPlayz. Preston also has an adoptive father, four brothers, and one sister. One of his brothers, his sister, and his father have YouTube channels as well.
Keeley, his sister, has over 600,000 subscribers on KeeleyPlayz. She also has a Keeley Elise account that has almost 250k subscribers. His brother, Caleb, had almost 60k on his channel TbnrCJ but hasn’t uploaded for over two years. His father, David, only uploaded two videos over four years ago. But he still had close to 7,000 subscribers on his channel Papafrags.
12. Like Nastya (Anastasia Radzinskaya)
Net Worth: $20 Million
2020 Earnings: $18.5 Million
Subscribers: 214 Million
Total Views: 115 Billion
Like Nastya was born in Southern Russia in 2014. She got diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth. Her doctors thought there was a chance she would never speak or talk. Her parents both worked and owned their own companies but ended up selling them in 2015. They put all their time into taking care of her. By the time she was two, she no longer showed signs of cerebral palsy.
In 2016, their family created the Like Nastya YouTube Channel. They started unboxing toys. They also showed their travels to amusement parks in various countries. In just the first year alone, they traveled to 6 countries. The family dipped into their savings to support the channel. Now Nastya and her family live in Florida.
The channel eventually became profitable on its own. Her videos get dubbed into several different languages. These dubs have helped her grow into one of the world’s highest-paid YouTubers.
13. David Dobrik
Net Worth: $20 Million
2020 Earnings: $15.5 Million
Subscribers: 28.3 Million
Total Views: 6.7 Billion
David Dobrik was born in Slovakia in 1996. His family then moved to Illinois when he was six. After he graduated from high school, David’s parents gave him a choice. Either he goes to college or moves out. David went to Los Angeles to pursue his Vine career full-time. He had over 1 million followers on Vine before the app shut down. That helped make his transition to YouTube easier than most creators. He started his channel in 2015.
His channel featured collaborators he worked with on Vine. The videos are comedy based on real-life situations and semi-scripted skits. He also started another channel, David Dobrik Too, in 2016. Here he posts challenge videos and blooper reels.
In 2018, he made a third channel called Views Podcast. On this channel, he posts the video version of his podcast Views with Jason Nash. In that same year, David reached over 10 million subscribers. In 2019, he was the fifth most viewed channel with 2.4 billion views.
14. Jake Paul
Net Worth: $20 Million
Subscribers: 22.4 Million
Total Views: 6.9 Billion
Jake Paul was born in 1997 and grew up in Ohio with his brother Logan Paul. Logan is also a popular YouTuber. Jake started his career in 2013, posting videos on Vine. He had over 5 million followers and 2 billion views before the app shut down. His first upload on YouTube was a Vlog in 2014.
In 2017, Jake started Team 10 and released a single called It’s Everyday Bro that featured them. The song’s peak was 91st on the Billboard Hot 100. He started his boxing career in 2018. So far, he has two wins and no losses. His first win was a TKO in the first round against another YouTuber AnEsonGib. His second win was against Nate Robinson, who lost by KO in the second round. Nate used to be a professional basketball player in the NBA.
15. Lilly Singh
Net Worth: $20 Million
Subscribers: 17.7 Million
Total Views: 3.9 Billion
Lily Singh started her YouTube career in 2010. She posted using the name IISuperwomenII. The inspiration came from her childhood, a belief that Lily could go anything. She graduated from York University with a degree in Psychology that same year.
Lily planned to go to graduate school as her parents wanted but opted to focus on her YouTube channel. She was willing to go back if she didn’t get the progression she wanted from her YouTube channel. In case you’re wondering, Lily didn’t have to go back. In 2011, she started SuperwomanVlogs, which is now known as Lilly Singh Vlogs. Here Lily records what she does daily and, behind the scenes looks at clips from her videos.
In 2014, she ranked #39 on NMR’s Top 100 Channels and got nominated for a Shorty and Streamy Award. She moved to Los Angeles in 2015. By 2017, she won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite YouTube Star and won her fourth Steamy Award.
16. Logan Paul
Net Worth: $19 Million
Subscribers: 28 Million
Total Views: 6.3 Billion
Logan Paul got started making videos when he was ten years old for a YouTube channel called Zoosh. In 2013, he posted on Vine and started his YouTube channel. Logan was studying Industrial Engineering at Ohio University before dropping out in 2014. He pursued focusing on social media full-time and moved in with other Vine stars in Los Angeles.
He was the most influential figure on Vine in 2015. He then went on to act in various TV shows and even wrote a screenplay. He’s also a boxer like his brother Jake Paul. He fought against KSI, another famous YouTuber, and lost in a split decision. There was an exhibition fight scheduled against Floyd Mayweather in 2020. But that fight’s postponed for now.
17. MrBeast (Jimmy Donaldson)
Net Worth: $16 Million
2020 Earnings: $24 Million
Subscribers: 90.5 Million
Total Views: 12.6 Billion
MrBeast started posting on YouTube when he was 13 under the name MrBeast6000. His videos estimated how wealthy other YouTubers were and Let’s Plays. He broke through in 2017 on his counting to 100,000 videos. The first video took him 40 hours.
Since then, he’s become a philanthropist as well. He does challenger videos that give thousands of dollars away in donations. In 2018, he gave away $10,000 to a local animal shelter and $70,000 to St. Jude Children Research Hospital. He also $32,00 to the Veterans Army Wounded Warrior Program and $100,000 in items to homeless shelters. He also spends a lot to ensure the quality of his videos. In August alone last year, MrBeast spent $3 Million to produce his videos.
MrBeast also hired his friends to help him run the channel. He currently employs at least 30 people. He runs several other YouTube channels. MrBeast Gaming hit over 10 million subscribers in under one year.
18. Blippi (Steve John)
Net Worth: $16 Million
2020 Earnings: $17 Million
Subscribers: 30.1 Million
Total Views: 21.1 Billion
Blippi was raised in Washington and wanted to be a fighter pilot and limousine driver when he grew up. He ended up serving in the United States Air Force as a loadmaster. His responsibilities were to do calculations and plan the cargo placement. After Steve served, he moved back to Washington. He then saw his nephew watching low-quality videos on YouTube.
Blippi started posting in 2014 and did all the work for his early videos himself. He took inspiration from educators who came before him, such as Mr. Rogers. His goal was for Blippi to act and think like a child would but also be educational. A dream he has achieved and then some. He has since expanded his production staff and produced videos in Spanish. He also made DVD and digital downloads on his website and started his line of Blippi Toys.
19. KSI (Olajide Olayinka Williams Olatunji)
Net Worth: $15 Million
Subscribers: 22.6 Million
Total Views: 5.6 Billion
KSI first got started on YouTube in 2008. He posted as JideJunior, then registered his current KSIOlajideBT account in 2009. Here he posts gaming commentary videos of FIFA. He started posting these videos from his parent’s house.
KSI began to earn consistent monthly income from his uploads. He then dropped out of college to pursue YouTube full-time. He was making more than his teachers. His parents disapproved at the beginning, but they came around and supported him. They even appeared in his videos.
In 2012, KSI started vlogging and hit one million subscribers. He is also a boxer and has fought three times so far. Twice were amateur fights, and one was a professional fight. He won the amateur fight against Joe Weller in the third round by TKO.
KSI then fought Logan Paul, which resulted in a majority draw. His only professional fight was also against Logan Paul, which ended in a split decision win. It looks like that will be his last fight since he shut down a possibility of a third fight against Logan.
20. Roman Atwood
Net Worth: $14.5 Million
Subscribers: 26 Million
Total Views: 6.9 Billion
Roman Atwood started filming and producing videos back in high school. He even created a series of DVDs called the Nerd Herd. Roman ended up selling them at the Warped Tour in 2006.
He used to post on his popular channel called RomanAtwood but hasn’t uploaded on it since 2016. He posted prank videos and had over 1 billion views and 10 million subscribers. He published “Anniversary Prank Backfires!!” there in 2013. That video has over 93 million views. His main channel now is RomanAtwoodVlogs. It’s a vlogging channel that has surpassed his old channel in views and subscribers.
Roman is the second YouTuber to receive more than one Diamond Play Button. YouTube gives this to channels that reach or surpass ten million subscribers. He hit this mark for both of his YouTube channels.
Wrapping it up
Although it may seem like one of those passing trends, YouTube isn’t going anywhere. At least any time soon. Humans have evolved to learn visually now more than ever before. In fact, YouTube gets an outstanding 5 billion video watches per day. With that kind of volume, there’s opportunity in every niche you can imagine.
YouTube doesn’t gain everyone fortune, but there are tons of successful YouTubers that prove that being a YouTuber can pay off. While most beginners won’t be rolling in cash right away, it could be a solution to step out of a current 9-5 job and pursue something more interesting.
So, how much money can you actually make as a YouTuber?
The first thing you need to know is that there are 500 hours of video uploaded every minute. Competition on YouTube is fierce.
The next thing you’ll learn is that making money on YouTube isn’t a piece of cake. There are generally 2 ways to do it:
- CPM (cost per thousand views)
- CPC (cost per click)
Each of these ways require you to join the YouTube Partner Program first, which isn’t easy either, at least for a beginner. The program requires you to have 4,000 watch hours in the past 12 months AND 1,000 subscribers. That’s only to be eligible. Once you apply, YouTube will closely scan your account to see if you’re a good fit.
If you get into the program, you can then start making money.
If the advertisement is CPM (cost per 1000 views), it means the viewer must watch the entire advertisement before you make any money from it. If you think about your own YouTube watching habits, I highly doubt you sit through the entirety of advertisements, especially if you have the option to skip.
If the advertisement is CPC (cost per click), then you get paid depending on how many users click the ads surrounding your video.
The actual rate advertisers pay ranges between $1 to $10 per 1000 views (depending on many factors such as the size and quality of your channel, and the topic of your videos), but averages out at around $2-$5 per view for most channels.
But, wait. Just like anything, it’s not all yours.
Google actually takes a big chunk of that amount (45%).
You won’t be able to quit your desk job any time soon if your views are low. But for YouTubers getting hundreds of thousands or even millions of views, YouTube can be very profitable.