2020
1.5k voters

The Most Influential People Of 2020

Updated January 25, 2021 19.7k votes 1.5k voters 3.0k views33 items

List RulesVote up the individuals who have most effectively made impacts over the course of the year..

Editor's Note: Voting has been closed.

UPDATED: Check out the most influential people of 2021!

From politicians to musicians, activists, actors, billionaires, and even the occasional retiree, anybody can become one of the most influential people of the year, especially in a year like 2020. As a pandemic upended virtually every aspect of life and culture across the globe, unexpected celebrities were able to use their platforms to make a difference while familiar figures found their voices amplified.

Who was the most important person this year? That's an unexpectedly complicated question for an unexpectedly complicated year. Political leaders and titans of industry are obvious answers, but 2020 also found unexpected people exerting influence and changing the culture. Any year in which Joe Exotic becomes one of the most famous people alive while civil unrest shakes a democracy is on for books, and complicates annual inventories like Time's list of 100 influential people.

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  • Tom Hanks1
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    Tom Hanks

    1956-07-09

    BirthplaceConcord, California, United States of America

    Thomas Jeffrey Hanks (born July 9, 1956) is an American actor and filmmaker. Known for both...  more

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  • Stacey Abrams2
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    Stacey Abrams

    1973-12-09

    BirthplaceMadison, Wisconsin

    Stacey Y. Abrams is the House Minority Leader for the Georgia General Assembly and State...  more
  • Anthony Fauci3
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    Anthony Fauci

    1940-12-24

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York

    Anthony Stephen "Tony" Fauci ( ) (born December 24, 1940) is an American immunologist who has...  more
  • Joe Biden4
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    Joe Biden

    1942-11-20

    BirthplaceScranton, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. (/ˈbaɪdən/ BY-dən; born November 20, 1942) is an American...  more

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  • Kamala Harris5
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    Kamala Harris

    1964-10-20

    BirthplaceCalifornia, Contiguous United States, Oakland, United States of America, United States

    Kamala Devi Harris (born October 20, 1964) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the...  more
  • Barack Obama6
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    Barack Obama

    1961-08-04

    BirthplaceArea code 808, Honolulu County, Hawaiian Islands, United States of America, United States

    Barack Hussein Obama born August 4, 1961is an American attorney and politician who served as...  more

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  • Michelle Obama7
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    Michelle Obama

    1964-01-17

    BirthplaceChicago metropolitan area, Illinois, Chicago, United States of America, United States

    Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama (née Robinson; born January 17, 1964) is an American lawyer,...  more

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  • Donald Trump8
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    Donald Trump

    1946-06-14

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American politician who served as the 45th...  more

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  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez9
    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (born October 13, 1989) is an American activist, community organizer,...  more

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    #183 of 199 Famous Women You'd Want to Have a Beer With#25 of 107 Famous Politicians You'd Want to Have a Beer With

  • Bill Gates10
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    Bill Gates

    1955-10-28

    BirthplaceSeattle, Washington, United States of America

    William Henry Gates III (born October 28, 1955) is an American business magnate, investor,...  more

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  • Nancy Pelosi11
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    Nancy Pelosi

    1940-03-26

    BirthplaceBaltimore, Maryland, USA

    Nancy Patricia Pelosi (born March 26, 1940) is an American politician and a member of the...  more

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  • Dwayne Johnson12
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    Dwayne Johnson

    1972-05-02

    BirthplaceHayward, California, United States of America

    Dwayne Douglas Johnson (born May 2, 1972), also known by his ring name The Rock, is an...  more

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  • J. K. Rowling13
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    J. K. Rowling

    1965-07-31

    BirthplaceYate, United Kingdom

    Joanne Rowling ( "rolling"; born 31 July 1965), better known by her pen name J. K. Rowling,...  more

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  • Lin-Manuel Miranda14
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    Lin-Manuel Miranda

    1980-01-16

    BirthplaceManhattan, New York City, New York, United States of America

    Lin-Manuel Miranda (born January 16, 1980) is an American composer, lyricist, rapper, singer,...  more

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  • Michael Jordan15
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    Michael Jordan

    1963-02-17

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    Michael Jeffrey Jordan (born February 17, 1963), also known by his initials MJ, is an American...  more

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  • Boris Johnson16
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    Boris Johnson

    1964-06-19

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (; born 19 June 1964) is a British politician, serving as...  more
  • Rihanna17
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    Rihanna

    1988-02-20

    BirthplaceSaint Michael Parish, Barbados

    Robyn Rihanna Fenty (born February 20, 1988) is a Barbadian singer, songwriter, record...  more

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  • Dwyane Wade18
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    Dwyane Wade

    1982-01-17

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois, United States of America

    Dwyane Tyrone Wade Jr. ( dwayn; born January 17, 1982) is an American former professional...  more

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    #21 of 256 The Top NBA Players Of All Time#451 of 583 The Greatest Entertainers of All Time

  • Beyoncé Knowles19
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    BirthplaceHouston, Texas, USA

    Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter (born September 4, 1981) is an American singer, songwriter and...  more

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  • Taylor Swift20
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    Taylor Swift

    1989-12-13

    BirthplaceReading, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    Taylor Alison Swift (born December 13, 1989) is an American singer-songwriter. She is known...  more

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  • Mitch McConnell21
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    Mitch McConnell

    1942-02-20

    BirthplaceSheffield, Alabama, United States of America

    Addison Mitchell McConnell Jr. (born February 20, 1942) is an American politician serving as...  more
  • Ellen DeGeneres22
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    Ellen DeGeneres

    1958-01-26

    BirthplaceMetairie, Louisiana, United States of America

    Ellen Lee DeGeneres ( də-JEN-ər-əs; born January 26, 1958) is an American comedian, television...  more

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  • Megan Rapinoe23
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    Megan Rapinoe

    1985-07-05

    BirthplaceRedding, California

    Megan Anna Rapinoe ( (listen); born July 5, 1985) is an American professional soccer player...  more

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    #7 of 10 Things That Were A Thing: July 2019 Edition#10 of 75 The Best Female Soccer Players of All Time

  • Megan Thee Stallion24
    Megan Jovon Ruth Pete (born February 15, 1995), known professionally as Megan Thee Stallion...  more

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  • Elon Musk25
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    Elon Musk

    1971-06-28

    BirthplacePretoria, South Africa

    Elon Reeve Musk (; born June 28, 1971) is a technology entrepreneur, investor, and engineer....  more

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