The richest people in America, ranked

  • The 16 richest Americans in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and Forbes Billionaires List are collectively worth more than $1 trillion. 
  • While tech moguls continue to dominate the top ranks, inherited wealth, like in the Walton family, also makes a strong appearance in the list.
  • Bill Gates and Warren Buffett maintain their lead in the top five despite being the two most generous people on earth
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

All net worths below are sourced from Bloomberg unless otherwise noted.

Emmie Martin and Tanza Loudenback contributed to a previous version of this story.

16. Michael Bloomberg

Net worth: $54.9 billion (per Forbes estimates)

Age: 78

Country: US

Industry: Finance, Technology

Source of wealth: Self-made; Bloomberg LP

Net worth year-over-year change: Not readily available

Michael Bloomberg, former Democratic presidential candidate and long-time New York City mayor, derives a majority of his wealth from his financial services company, Bloomberg LP. In the 1990s, he expanded the company to form Bloomberg News and TV. 

His eponymous company currently makes about $10 billion in annual revenue and Bloomberg maintains control over 88% of the company. 

Bloomberg is fairly generous with his wealth and is known to donate to social issues like gun control and climate change. He donated over $3 billion of his fortune in 2019 alone. 

T15. Charles Koch

Net worth: $57.5 billion

Age: 84

Country: US

Industry: Diversified investments

Source of wealth: Self-made; Koch Industries

Net worth year-over-year change: Down $4.57 billion in the past year

Charles Koch is chairman and CEO of multifaceted conglomerate Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in America. His younger brother David is the executive vice president. The company employs 130,000 people and generates an estimated $110 billion in annual revenue from its diverse holdings, which make everything from petrochemicals and Dixie Cups to raw clothing materials.

Koch is outspoken in the world of conservative politics and public policy. Koch and late younger brother, David, have long been known as advocates for smaller government and routinely fund political campaigns, although they took a step back during the 2016 election cycle. 

The book "Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right" revealed that Charles Koch's plans to reshape American politics date back 40 years, when he began strategizing and developing a libertarian movement.

T15. Julia Flesher Koch

Net worth: $57.5 billion

Age: 57

Country: US

Industry: Industrial

Source of wealth: Inheritance; Koch Industries

Net worth year-over-year change: Down $4.57 billion in the last year

Flesher Koch was married to David Koch, one of the richest men in America, for 23 years until his death in 2019. They met after being set up on a blind date by a mutual friend. 

According to Forbes estimates, her net worth is closer to $45 billion. Business Insider's Katie Warren previously reported that this discrepancy might be due to the difference in estimates of how much Koch left to his children as well as differences in the net worth of Koch Industries.

13. Alice Walton

Net worth: $57.8 billion

Age: 70

Country: US

Industry: Retail

Source of wealth: Inheritance; Walmart

Net worth year-over-year change: Up by $4.75 billion over the last year

The daughter of late Walmart founder Sam Walton, Alice Walton holds a major piece of the company fortune, making her the richest woman on earth. Though she never took an active role in running the superstore like her brothers, she's become the target of pushback from minimum-wage Walmart employees who view her lifestyle as insensitive to the plights of workers.

Walton has become a patron of the arts. Her immense personal collection includes pieces from Andy Warhol, Norman Rockwell, and Georgia O'Keefe. In 2011, she opened the $50 million Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas, where a number of her famous paintings are on display.

In 2015, Walton donated 3.7 million of her Walmart shares to the family's nonprofit and put her Texas ranches — one a working horse ranch, the other a luxurious vacation spot — on the market for a combined $48 million.

12. Jim Walton

Net worth: $58.4 billion

Age: 72

Country: US

Industry: Retail

Source of wealth: Inheritance; Walmart

Net worth year-over-year change: Up by $4.33 billion over the last year

James "Jim" Walton's parents, Helen and Sam Walton, purchased a controlling stake in Arkansas' Bank of Bentonville the year before opening the first Walmart store in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1962. Within five years, the family owned 24 of the retail stores and in 1972 listed Walmart on the New York Stock Exchange. In 1975, after working in Walmart's real-estate department for a few years, Jim joined his parents' bank, later renamed Arvest Bank Group. He's now chairman and CEO of the regional community bank, which has $15 billion in assets. Over the last year, Walton's has increased by $2.7 billion.

The businessman is also director of Walton Enterprises, the holding company for the Walton family assets, and chairman of Community Publishers, an Arkansas-based newspaper firm. After the death of his brother John in 2005, Jim joined the board of Walmart, where he serves as a director today.

While America's richest family remains private, the Walton Family Foundation, of which Jim is secretary and treasurer, has donated millions to charitable causes. In December 2015, Jim and his siblings donated $407 million worth of Walmart shares to a newly formed trust that funds the Waltons' philanthropy, which focuses on educational, cultural, community development, and social causes.

In July 2019, Walton donated $1.2 billion in stocks. 

11. Rob Walton

Net worth: $58.6 billion

Age: 75

Country: US

Industry: Retail

Source of wealth: Inheritance; Walmart

Net worth year-over-year change: Up by $4.37 billion over the last year

Samuel Robson "Rob" Walton is the oldest son of Walmart founder Sam Walton. He started working at the retail behemoth in 1969, holding positions from senior vice president to general counsel to chairman, a role he stepped down from in June 2015 after 23 years on the job. His son-in-law was named as his successor.

In July 2019, Walton donated 135,000 shares worth $15 million to an anonymous recipient. 

Regulatory filings on New Year's Eve 2016 revealed that Walton and his brother each gave away 1.5 million Walmart shares to the family charity, Walton Family Holdings Trust, while sister Alice gave away 3.7 million shares, for a total family donation of $407 million. It's an incredible amount, but it's also ultimately a drop in the bucket for the Waltons.

10. MacKenzie Scott

Net worth: $60.8 billion

Age: 50

Country: US

Industry: Technology

Source of wealth: Self-made; Amazon

Net worth year-over-year change: Up by $23.7 billion over the last year

MacKenzie Scott, a Princeton grad and former assistant to famed American essayist Toni Morrison, owns a 4% stake in ecommerce giant Amazon. 

Scott was married to Jeff Bezos for over 25 years before divorcing in 2019. She gained her stake in Amazon as part of the divorce settlement.

Jonah Bromwich and Alexandra Alter wrote for the New York Times that Scott "was Amazon's first accountant and was involved in its transformation from a small online bookseller to the e-commerce behemoth it is today."

On July 28, Scott donated $1.7 billion to over a hundred different organizations working towards a number of different social issues. She made all of the money back within days. 

9. Larry Ellison

Net worth: $64 billion

Age: 75

Country: US

Industry: Technology

Source of wealth: Self-made; Oracle

Net worth year-over-year change: Up by $5.18 billion over the last year

In 1977, Larry Ellison teamed up with two colleagues from an electronics company to start their own programming firm, which landed a contract not long after to build a relational database-management system for the CIA under the project code Oracle. The project grew into what is known today as Oracle Corp., currently valued at $170.31 billion. In 2010, Ellison reduced his annual salary from $1 million to $1, but he still takes in more than $60 million in total compensation thanks to generous stock awards. Ellison stepped down as CEO in 2014 after 38 years on the job and took on the role of chief technology officer.

The tech tycoon is also a generous philanthropist through partnerships with wildlife conservation groups and the Lawrence Ellison Foundation, which supports organizations that research aging and global infectious diseases. He's also a member of Bill Gates' and Warren Buffett's Giving Pledge, committing to give away at least half of his fortune.

8. Sergey Brin

Net worth: $69.9 billion

Age: 46

Country: US

Industry: Technology

Source of wealth: Self-made; Google

Net worth year-over-year change: Up by $7.20 billion over the last year

Along with cofounder Larry Page, Sergey Brin helped facilitate Google's massive restructuring, which the company announced in 2015. The move put Google under the auspices of holding company Alphabet, run by Brin as president and Page as CEO. Google's other ventures, such as Nest and Google X, are separate companies also under the Alphabet umbrella. 

The restructuring allowed Brin to focus on exploring inventive new "moonshot" projects and ideas. With top talent and an abundance of resources at its disposal, Alphabet has already made automated homes and self-driving cars a reality.

Brin, who emigrated from Moscow to the US as a child, connected with Page in 1995 at Stanford, where they were each pursuing a PhD. Three years later they founded Google, now one of the most powerful companies on the planet.

7. Larry Page

Net worth: $72.1 billion

Age: 47

Country: US

Industry: Technology

Source of wealth: Self-made; Google

Net worth year-over-year change: Up by $7.49 billion over the last year

As a Stanford PhD student in 1998, Larry Page teamed up with classmate Sergey Brin to create BackRub, an early search engine. The project eventually morphed into Google. In January 2020, Alphabet, Google's parent company, was valued at $1 trillion, the third tech company to gain that status after Apple and Amazon. 

Page oversaw major changes to Google's business structure in 2015, starting with the creation of Alphabet, the holding company that manages Google and all of its related ventures, including Nest, Calico, and Google X. Previously the chief executive of Google, Page moved up to helm Alphabet, which has its hands in everything from home automation to self-driving cars to prolonging human life. 

Page doesn't make a lot of splashy purchases, but the alternative-energy advocate does own an eco-friendly mansion in Palo Alto that uses geothermal energy and rainwater capture. He's also an avid kiteboarder.

6. Elon Musk

Net worth: $73 billion

Age: 49

Country: US

Industry: Technology

Source of wealth: Self-made; Tesla 

Net worth year-over-year change: Up by $45.4 billion over the last year

Before gaining fame as the flashy CEO of Tesla, Musk dabbled in a number of business ventures, from designing games to running nightclubs out of a frat house. Musk has a degree in physics and economy from the University of Pennsylvania and attended Stanford University for a PhD before ultimately dropping out.  

Musk is best known for being in leadership roles at electric vehicle company Tesla and aerospace company SpaceX, valued at $277 billion and $36 billion respectively.

In August 2020, SpaceX conducted a successful test flight for a prototype rocket for its Mars mission. "Mars is looking real," Musk tweeted soon after. 

Musk is a part of The Giving Pledge, a non-profit consisting of some of the world's wealthiest individuals who've committed significant portions of their wealth to charity. He also runs the Musk Foundation, through which he's donated to artificial intelligence research, advocacy groups, schools his children attend, and art projects at Burning Man festival.

5. Steve Ballmer

Net worth: $75.3 billion

Age: 64

Country: US

Industry: Technology

Source of wealth: Self-made; Microsoft

Net worth year-over-year change: Up by $17.2 billion over the last year

Steve Ballmer dropped out of business school at Stanford in 1980 to join Harvard friend Bill Gates at Microsoft as the company's first business manager, earning a $50,000 salary and a stake in the company. During his tenure, Ballmer held positions as vice president of marketing, vice president of systems software, and executive vice president of sales and support, and was often referred to as "the numbers guy."

He became CEO of the company in 2000 after Gates stepped down, and he remained in charge of the software giant until Satya Nadella replaced him in 2014. While running Microsoft, the company's revenue grew by 294% and profits by 181% — although its market share was surpassed by Google and Apple during the same period. Still, the early stake Ballmer acquired in the company made him immensely wealthy. 

After stepping down as CEO, Ballmer fulfilled his dream of owning an NBA franchise, paying $2 billion in a deal to buy the Los Angeles Clippers.

Ballmer runs The Ballmer Group with his wife, Connie. The group works to help economically-disadvantaged people and families in the US. 

4. Warren Buffett

Net worth: $80.7 billion

Age: 89

Country: US

Industry: Diversified investments

Source of wealth: Self-made; Berkshire Hathaway

Net worth year-over-year change: Down by $8.61 billion over the last year

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett started his prodigious investing career at a young age. As a child he delivered newspapers on his bike, and by 11 the Nebraska native had purchased his first shares in the stock market — Cities Service Preferred at $38 apiece — and sold them for a $5 profit.

He was rejected from Harvard Business School, so Buffett went to Columbia Business School instead and learned under iconic value investor Benjamin Graham, who would become a mentor to the budding financier. Buffett worked as a securities analyst in the early 1950s before starting his own investment firm. He bought textile company Berkshire Hathaway in 1969, transforming it into a holding company that would house the many lucrative investments that helped build his massive fortune and earn the nickname "The Oracle of Omaha."

The array of portfolio companies and investments that made him rich may appear random — he's bet on companies including Coca-Cola, American Express, Geico, Fruit of the Loom, Dairy Queen, and General Motors — but they're all cash-generating machines that offer long-term value. 

A frugal man with a fondness for junk food, perhaps the most impressive part of Buffett's $60 billion fortune is that it doesn't include the $37 billion he's already given away.

He's good friends with Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates, with whom he collaborated to create the Giving Pledge, a promise for billionaires to give away at least half of their wealth to charity.

3. Mark Zuckerberg

Net worth: $98.5 billion

Age: 36

Country: US

Industry: Technology

Source of wealth: Self-made; Facebook

Net worth year-over-year change: Up by $20.1 billion over the last year

In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg, then a 19-year-old sophomore at Harvard, launched TheFacebook.com, a rudimentary version of the now-ubiquitous social network known as Facebook. Zuckerberg dropped out of college to work full-time as Facebook's CEO, and the site exploded in popularity. At 36, Zuckerberg is one of the youngest of the 50 richest people in the world. 

In December 2015, Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan pledged to give away 99% of their wealth in their lifetimes through an organization called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, though some critics noted the organization wasn't a nonprofit charity itself and found the announcement misleading.

The couple also donated $25 million in the fight against Ebola in 2015, and they gave $100 million worth of Facebook shares toward improving a New Jersey public-school system.

2. Bill Gates

Net worth: $121 billion

Age: 64

Country: US

Industry: Technology

Source of wealth: Self-made; Microsoft

Net worth year-over-year change: Up by $8.28 billion over the last year

At just 20, Bill Gates cofounded Microsoft with his childhood friend Paul Allen. Months before his 31st birthday, the company went public, making Gates a billionaire. He served as CEO of the software titan until 2000 and was its chairman and largest shareholder until 2014. Though he still sits on the company's board, Gates is no longer actively involved in Microsoft.

Gates is not only one of the richest people in the world, but he's also one of the most generous. Since 1999, Gates and his wife have helmed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the most powerful charities in the world. The foundation — which controls an endowment of more than $46 billion — aims to lift millions of people out of poverty, with a heavy focus on eliminating HIV, malaria, and other infectious diseases. 

The Gates Foundation recently teamed up with India-based biomedical company Serum Institute to produce low-price coronavirus vaccines. Earlier in the spring, the foundation, along with Mastercard and Wellcome, committed $125 million to fight the epidemic.

Gates is also cofounder of the Giving Pledge, which he launched in 2010 with friend and fellow billionaire Warren Buffett as a promise to donate 50% or more of their fortunes. The Giving Pledge now counts Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk among its 204 members.

1. Jeff Bezos

Net worth: $187 billion

Age: 56

Country: US

Industry: Technology

Source of wealth: Self-made; Amazon

Net worth year-over-year change: Up by $71.9 billion over the last year

Jeff Bezos earned his massive fortune by introducing ecommerce to the world. After spending time in finance on Wall Street, Bezos founded Amazon in the garage of his Seattle home in 1994 and operated it exclusively as an online book retailer. The company went public three years later and has since grown to include everything from furniture to food to Amazon's own consumer-electronics products.

Bezos also has interests outside of Amazon, including investments in his privately owned space company Blue Origin, which successfully launched its first spacecraft in 2015, and The Washington Post, the newspaper he bought in 2013. 

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