Bill Gates Tops the Forbes 400 List of the Richest People in America

Warren Buffett, Jay-Z and Steve Forbes Talk About Wealth, Success and Giving Back

With this year’s issue of the Forbes 400, Forbes unveils a redesign of the magazine and new 400 section of its website. Readers can dig deeper into the pursuits and backgrounds of Forbes 400 members, and engage with Forbes on all platforms with innovative interactivity and social media elements.

Forbes 400 Richest People in America (Graphic: Business Wire)

NEW YORK--()--Bill Gates (#1) retains his top spot on the list with $54 billion, followed by Warren Buffett (#2) with $45 billion. Buffett’s success in amassing tremendous wealth may be legendary, but he is equally passionate about his philanthropic endeavors. He and Jay-Z sat down with Steve Forbes for our cover story, “The Summit” (p. 42) to talk about wealth, success and giving back. The complete video interview is also available online at: Jay-Z is not on the list yet, but could he break into the list during this decade? See “15 in 2015” on p. 67.

This year’s Forbes 400 reflects an uptick in wealth among America’s 400 Richest, with a total combined wealth of $1.37 trillion. In contrast to 2009, wealth was up for some 217 members of this year’s list while only 85 members saw a decline. Gainers include Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (#35), whose wealth increased 245%, the largest percentage increase of anyone on the list (see “In Mark We Trust,” p. 80) and Diane Hendricks (#170), one of the 42 women on this year’s list (see “Hendricks” p. 34).

Among the decliners are M&M moguls John, Jacqueline and Forrest Mars (#26), who keep a low profile in Wyoming (see “In Search of Mars” on p. 246). Sixty-four Richest had no change in net worth, including Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder (#365), featured on p. 174 in “Daniel Snyder’s Passion Play.” The Forbes 400 welcomed 16 new members in 2010, including two with ties to Facebook: Dustin Moskovitz (#290), (he left Facebook in 2008 but still has a stake in the social networking outfit and is now worth $1.4 billion) who at 26 is the new youngest on the list (he’s 8 days younger than Zuckerberg!); and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin (#356) with $1.15 billion. Sidney Kimmel (#365), who earned his fortune in the apparel business and then became a film producer (“Rags To Riches (Not Exactly),” p.30), is one of the 18 returnees to the list.

There were 34 drop-offs this year, including former taxi-driver-turned real-estate mogul Tamir Sapir, who is now facing a slew of creditors in various lawsuits (“Drenched In Debt,” p. 248) and Raj Rajaratnam, the ex-hedge fund manager facing 185 years in prison (“Power and Pleasure,” p. 118). Other notable people on the list include Ralph Lauren (#60), Oprah Winfrey (#130), Mark Cuban (#144), Meg Whitman (#332) and Barry Diller (#332). The Top 10 include:


FROM 2009

1     Bill Gates     $54 billion     Microsoft     + $4 billion
2     Warren Buffett     $45 billion     Berkshire Hathaway     + $5 billion
3     Lawrence Ellison     $27 billion     Oracle     $0
4     Christy Walton & family     $24 billion     Wal-Mart     + $2.5 billion
5     Charles Koch     $21.5 billion     Manufacturing, energy     + $5.5 billion
5     David Koch     $21.5 billion     Manufacturing, energy     + $5.5 billion
7     Jim C. Walton     $20.1 billion     Wal-Mart     + $ 500 million
8     Alice Walton     $20 billion     Wal-Mart     + $ 700 million
9     S. Robson Walton     $19.7 billion     Wal-Mart     + $ 700 million
10     Michael Bloomberg     $18 billion     Bloomberg LP     + $ 500 million


  • Cost of admission: back up to $1 billion; had fallen below $1 billion in 2009 for first time since 2006; the price of admission in 2009 was $950 million; the price of admission in 2008: $1.3 billion
  • Total worth: up 8% to $1.37 trillion up from $1.27 trillion in 2009 but still below the total in 2008 ($1.57 trillion) and 2007 ($1.54 trillion)
  • Stock prices were measured from Sept 10, 2009 to August 25, 2010.
  • There are 16 new members to the list in 2010
  • There are 18 returnees to the list
  • Net worth increased for 217 members, more than half of the list; net worth decreased for 85 members
  • Drop-offs in 2010: 34, including 9 deceased
  • The oldest member of the list is David Rockefeller Sr. (#153), age 95
  • The youngest member is Dustin Moskovitz (# 290), age 26 (Moskovitz, who is 8 days younger than his former roommate, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg)
  • Finance and Investment industries dominate the Forbes 400 this year, followed by Media and Real Estate
    • 55 members represent the Finance industry
    • 54 members represent the Investment industry
    • 35 members represent the Media industry
    • 31 members represent the Real Estate industry
  • California boasts the most Forbes 400 members, with 83, followed by New York (64), Texas (45) and Florida (26)
  • There are 42 women on the Forbes 400 this year, with a combined net wealth of $154,350 billion
  • 272 members are self-made, with an average net worth of $3.38 billion
  • The top five most popular pursuits (a new feature of the 2010 list) of the Forbes 400 members are: Education (73), Art (64), Sports (56), Science (31) and the Giving Pledge (28). Others include the Environment, Religion, Planes, Horses, Yachts (19), Music, Animals, Wine, Cars and Space
  • Another new feature tracks political contributions made by Forbes 400 members between 2006 – 2010, with information provided by the Federal Election Commission, updated weekly. As of 9/17/10:
    • 231 people donated to the Democratic party from 2006 –2010 totaling $6,169,360
    • 247 people donated to the Republican party from 2006 –2010 totaling $7,284,882

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Debbie Weathers, 212-366-8848

Release Summary

Forbes 400 Richest Americans


Debbie Weathers, 212-366-8848