NEW YORK, NY — The 400 richest Americans are the richest they’ve ever been, according to Forbes magazine.
The combined net worth of the people on the list hit a record $2.02 trillion, up 19% from last year’s total of $1.7 trillion, thanks in large part to a strong stock market and a real estate recovery. The average net worth of members of this year’s list is $5 billion, up $800 million from a year ago.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates took the top spot as the richest American for the twentieth year in a row, with a personal fortune of $72 billion. Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffet came in at number two with a net worth of $58.5 billion. Buffet also posted the biggest dollar gains on this year’s list, with his wealth climbing a staggering $12.5 billion.
Mark Zuckerberg also had a good year, thanks to the rebound in Facebook’s share price. After dropping to number thirty-six last year, he returned to the top twenty with a personal fortune $19 billion. His gain of $9.6 billion made him this year’s second-biggest gainer.
It took a lot more money to make this years list, with the minimum net worth set at $1.3 billion. That meant that twenty-eight people from last year dropped off the list, including T. Boone Pickens, who saw his wealth dip to $950 million.
Forty-eight women also made the 2013 list, including Hyatt Hotels heiress Jennifer Pritzker, who was formerly known as James Pritzker, and is the first transgender billionaire, according to Forbes.
Most of this year’s billionaires had a good year; 314 members saw their fortunes climb this year, while on 30 members saw their net worth decline.
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