Net worth of richest Americans jumps 13%
THE net worth of the richest Americans grew by 13% in the past year to $1.7-trillion, Forbes magazine said yesterday, and a familiar cast of characters once again populated the top of the magazine’s annual list of the US ultra-elite, including Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Larry Ellison.
The average net worth of the 400 wealthiest Americans rose to a record $4.2bn, the magazine said.
Collectively, this group’s net worth is the equivalent of one-eighth of the entire US economy, which stood at $13.56 -trillion in real terms according to the latest government data. But the 13% growth in the wealth of the richest Americans far outpaced that of the economy overall, helping to widen the chasm between rich and poor.
Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft, topped the list for the 19th year in a row with $66bn, up $7bn from a year earlier. Warren Buffett, chairman and CE of insurance conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, stood second with $46bn, followed by Larry Ellison, head of software maker Oracle, with $41bn.
The Koch brothers, Charles and David, who run chemicals conglomerate Koch Industries, were tied for fourth with $31bn, Forbes said. The ranks of the top five were unchanged from a year earlier.
Two notable names dropped from the top 10, however. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, also active in conservative political causes, fell to 12th spot from eighth last year, and financier George Soros dropped five spots to 12th from seventh a year ago.
The disappointing stock market debut of Facebook also took a toll on the fortune of its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. His net worth fell by nearly half to $9.4bn and he slid to 36th spot from 14th a year ago, Forbes said.
Numbers six to 10 on the list are Christy Walton & family ($27.9bn), Jim Walton ($26.8bn), Alice Walton ($26.3bn), S Robson Walton ($26.1bn), and Michael Bloomberg, New York City ($25bn).
Forbes reports in next month’s edition that 32 members fell from the top 400 wealthiest. "Some, like Zynga’s Mark Pincus and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters founder Robert Stiller, were dragged down by their struggling companies and falling stock prices. Others, such as hedge fund manager Philip Falcone and natural gas tycoon Aubrey McClendon, lost their spots amidst great personal controversy."
Seven of America’s wealthiest passed away, including Apple’s Steve Jobs and leveraged buyout pioneer Ted Forstmann.
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