Bill Gates crowned America’s wealthiest person for the 20th-straight year with $72 BILLION fortune… and elite are now worth a combined $2 TRILLION
- Microsoft co-founder is once again richest man in U.S. with $72 billion
- Total worth of 400 people on the list is $2 trillion, their highest total ever
- 61 U.S. billionaires didn’t make the Forbes list of 400 richest Americans
- ‘The mega rich are mega richer,’ said Forbes Senior Editor Kerry Dolan
- Warren Buffett and Larry Ellison finish a distant second and third to Gates
PUBLISHED: 10:46 EST, 16 September 2013 | UPDATED: 11:36 EST, 16 September 2013
America’s mega-rich just keep getting richer – but Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates remains on top, taking number one spot on Forbes’ wealth list for the 20th straight year with $72 billion.
Forbes released its annual list of the richest Americans on Monday. The 400 people on the rankings posted a joint net worth of $2 trillion, up from $1.7 trillion a year ago.
That marks their highest combined value ever and this astounding figure further outlines the growing gap between the exceptionally wealthy and the rest of the country.
While most of the names and rankings didn’t change from a year ago, the majority of members of the elite club saw their fortunes grow over the past year, helped by strong stock and real estate markets.
All smiles: Bill Gates is the richest man in the U.S. for the 20th year running, with a net worth of $72 billion
Spare change: Wal-Mart heir Christie Walton (left) was the highest woman on the rich list at number six, with a net worth of $35.4 billion
‘Basically, the mega rich are mega richer,’ said Forbes Senior Editor Kerry Dolan.
Dolan noted that list’s minimum net income increased to a pre-financial crisis level of $1.3 billion, up from $1.1 billion in 2012, with 61 American billionaires not making the cut.
‘In some ways, it’s harder to get on the list than it ever has been,’ she said.
Gates remains America’s richest man, taking the top spot on the list for the 20th straight year, with a net worth of $72 billion, up from $66 billion a year ago.
Investor Warren Buffett, the head of Berkshire Hathaway, posted another distant second place finish with $58.5 billion, but increased his net worth from $46 billion.
Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison stayed third with $41 billion and was the only member of the top 10 whose net worth was unchanged from a year ago.
Runners-up: Warren Buffett (left) and Larry Ellison (right) were second and third. Buffett is worth $58.5 billion while Ellison has $41 billion in the bank
Brothers Charles and David Koch, co-owners of Koch Industries, stay tied for fourth with $36 billion each, up from $31 billion in 2012.
Wal-Mart heirs Christy Walton, Jim Walton, Alice Walton and S. Robson Walton took the next four spots, with holdings ranging from $33.3 billion to $35.4 billion, all increasing from year-ago levels.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the founder of the eponymous financial information company, rounds out the top 10 with $31 billion, up from $25 billion.
A total of 48 women made the list including Hyatt Hotels heir Jennifer Pritzker at No. 327. Formerly known as James Pritzker, she’s the list’s first transgendered member.
According to Forbes, 273 members of the list are self-made billionaires, while 71 inherited their wealth and another 56 inherited at least some of it but are still growing it.
Trailblazers: Hyatt Hotels heir Jennifer Pritzker, known until August as James Pritzker (left), is the first transgender billionaire on the list at 327. Don Hankey (right) of Auto Loans is the highest-placed newcomer on the Forbes list at 342 and is worth $1.6 billion
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg returned to the list’s top 20 after dropping out the year before. His net worth of $19 billion earned him the No. 20 spot.
Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz also made the list, at No. 85,with a net worth of $5.2 billion.
At age 29 and just a few days younger the Zuckerberg, Moskovitz ranks as the youngest member of the list.
On the flip side, the oldest person on the list is 98-year-old David Rockefeller Sr. at No. 193 with a net worth of $2.8 billion.
A total of 20 new people joined the rankings. The highest new entry was Don Hankey of Auto Loans, worth $1.6 million at 342 on the list.
Other newcomers included Richard Yuengling Jr. of Pennsylvania beer maker D.G. Yuengling & Son, who ranked at No. 371 with $1.4 billion.
Twenty-eight people dropped off the list, including six who died.
Those now falling short of the cut include energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens at $950 million, Graham Weston of Rackspace Hosting at $920 million and Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder at $1.2 billion.
Back to business: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg returned to the list’s top 20 after dropping out the year before. His net worth of $19 billion earned him the No. 20 spot
Meanwhile, the average net worth of the list’s members rose to $5 billion, also the highest ever, up from $4.2 billion in 2012. Net worth grew for 314 members and fell for 30, Forbes said.
The increases aren’t surprising, given that net worth for America’s wealthiest people has risen in the years since the financial crisis, widening the gap between the exceptionally well-to-do and the rest of the country.
According to a study of Internal Revenue Service figures released last week, the top 1 percent of U.S. earners collected 19.3 percent of household income in 2012, their largest share in IRS figures going back a century.
U.S. income inequality has been growing for almost three decades.
But until last year, the top 1 percent’s share of pre-tax income had not yet surpassed the 18.7 percent it reached in 1927, according to the analysis done by economists at the University of California, Berkeley, the Paris School of Economics and Oxford University.
Some economists have speculated that the incomes of the wealthy might have surged in the past year, because they cashed in stock holdings to avoid higher capital gains taxes that kicked in in January.
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