Forbes Releases 40th Annual Forbes 400 Ranking of the Richest Americans

Minimum Fortune To Make the Cut Reaches A Record-Breaking $2.9 Billion And The Collective Net Worth Of The 2021 List Makers Surges To A Historic $4.5 Trillion

NEW YORK--()--Forbes today released its 40th annual Forbes 400 list, the definitive ranking of the wealthiest people in America. The package also includes a look at just how philanthropic America’s richest are. The Forbes 400 list is a snapshot in time of wealth using stock prices from September 3, 2021.

“Despite the uncertainty and the ever-changing market economy, the 2021 Forbes 400 shows that America’s wealthiest have grown far richer,” said Kerry A. Dolan, Assistant Managing Editor, Wealth at Forbes. “The wealthiest Americans collectively saw a 40 percent increase over last year and nearly all are richer than they were last year.”

While much of the world is recovering from the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the members of The Forbes 400 are doing better than ever. The aggregate wealth of The Forbes 400 reached a record-breaking $4.5 trillion, and the minimum net worth needed to make the cut for this year’s list rose to a record high of $2.9 billion, up from $2.1 billion last year. Fifty-one people dropped off since last year’s list, including former president Donald Trump, media mogul Oprah Winfrey and Boston Beer cofounder Jim Koch. The 2021 list features 44 newcomers, including: Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; bitcoin billionaires Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss; Noubar Afeyan, cofounder of the Covid-19 vaccine maker Moderna, among others.

Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos retains the top spot for the fourth consecutive year, with a net worth of $201 billion.

Each year as part of the Forbes 400 package, Forbes scores billionaires based on their respective philanthropic contributions. The score ranks list members on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most philanthropic. The team estimated list members’ total lifetime giving based on public filings (including tax forms for private foundations, press releases and more), and the percentage of their fortune they have donated - not to their own charitable foundation, but to nonprofit groups—so called “out the door” giving. Only eight members of the Forbes 400 have given away more than 20 percent of their net worth in their lifetime. Those that gave away less than 1 percent of their wealth rose from 127 to 156.

The Forbes 400 magazine issue features five consecutive covers, including: Sam Bankman-Fried, Ramzi Musallam, Jenny Just, Noubar Afeyan and Golden Nugget CEO Tilman Fertitta.

  • Sam Bankman-Fried: FTX cofounder Sam Bankman-Fried built a $22.5 billion fortune before his 30th birthday by profiting off the cryptocurrency frenzy – but he’s not a true believer. He just wants his wealth to survive long enough to give it all away.
  • Ramzi Musallam: Ramzi Musallam has turned tragedy into a Forbes 400 fortune by mastering the motivations of the largest player in the global economy.
  • Jenny Just: Newly minted billionaire Just is a prolific investor and entrepreneur-- and one of 353 U.S. billionaires who fell below The Forbes 400 cutoff.
  • Tilman Fertitta: When Covid lockdowns hit, billionaire Tilman Fertitta laid off 40,000 workers from his restaurant chains and Golden Nugget casinos. Now the owner of the Houston Rockets is emerging from the pandemic far richer, thanks to the Fed’s easy-money policies, and an online-gambling boom fueled by stimulus checks.
  • Noubar Afeyan: Afeyan is best known for cofounding Covid-19 vaccine maker Moderna, where he remains chairman. But Moderna is just one of 70 companies he has helped launch via his venture firm, Flagship Pioneering.

Additional Features include:

For the complete Forbes 400 ranking, methodology and more, visit:


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