The wealthiest people in the U.S. are as wealthy as ever.
By Chase Peterson-Withorn, Forbes Staff
It’s a good year to be a member of The Forbes 400. As a group, the richest people in America are $500 billion richer than a year ago, aided by rebounding stock markets and an AI-driven tech boom. They now hold $4.5 trillion in wealth, tying a record set in 2021.
It takes $2.9 billion to make the cut, up from $2.7 billion a year ago, also tying for the highest ever. Forbes calculated net worths using stock prices from September 8, 2023.
Elon Musk again tops the list, worth an estimated $251 billion—the exact same as last year, despite a wild 12 months that included him being forced to buy Twitter for far more than it was worth, watching Tesla stock crater, getting into internet spats with the likes of the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and the foreign minister of Taiwan, challenging Mark Zuckerberg to a cage fight—then adding tens of billions to his fortune as Tesla stock came roaring back. Musk is $90 billion wealthier than No. 2 Jeff Bezos and $93 billion ahead of No. 3 Larry Ellison, who added more dollars to his net worth than anyone in America over the past year, some $57 billion, largely thanks to the generative artificial intelligence craze helping push up shares of his software firm, Oracle.
No. 1 On The Forbes 400 Over The Years
Ellison wasn’t the only one to get an AI bump. As a group, the tech tycoons on The Forbes 400 are some $300 billion richer than in 2022—accounting for more than half of the entire list’s jump in wealth. Shares of Michael Dell’s Dell Technologies are up 87% amid demand for servers from AI companies. Alphabet is up 26% this year, mainly since the Google parent company announced a suite of AI tools in May, helping boost the fortunes of cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Microsoft, which has made a big bet on AI, including owning a stake in ChatGPT-developer OpenAI, is up too, helping out cofounder Bill Gates and former CEO Steve Ballmer. But no one embodies the current moment like Jensen Huang, the cofounder of Nvidia, which makes more of the chips used to power AI systems than anyone. The stock has ballooned by more than 200% since last year, passing $1 trillion in market capitalization and making Huang (who owns around 3% of the company) the list’s biggest gainer in percentage terms. He moves up 31 rungs, and becomes a first-time member of the top 20 richest Americans, who combined account for more than 40% of the 400’s total wealth.
Total Net Worth Of The Top 20 On The Forbes 400 Over The Years
Despite the higher barrier to entry, 18 fresh faces joined The Forbes 400 for the first time this year. Michael Jordan is the most famous among them, thanks to nine-figure annual royalty checks from Nike and his August deal to sell a majority stake in the Charlotte Hornets NBA team. Jordan, who is worth an estimated $3 billion, is the first pro athlete to make the 400. Another notable newcomer: Ivanka Trump’s brother-in-law, Josh Kushner, after his venture capital firm Thrive Capital, an early backer of startups like Instagram, Spotify and Slack, raised $175 million in January at a $5.3 billion valuation. He’s worth an estimated $3.6 billion. The richest new member this year, is Elisabeth DeLuca, at an estimated $8.2 billion. In August, private equity firm Roark Capital agreed to buy Subway—which she inherited half of when her husband, cofounder Fred Deluca, died in 2015—in a deal reported be worth more than $9 billion. Another ten people, including WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton and World Wrestling Entertainment kingpin Vince McMahon, returned to the ranks after at least one year off the list.
That unseated 24 people who made the 2022 ranking but are now too poor to make the cut. Among the drop-offs are Donald Trump, whose social media platform and commercial real estate holdings are sputtering; Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, who have watched the value of their Snap Inc. stock disappear faster than a Snapchat message; and Sam Bankman-Fried and Gary Wang, who are navigating federal fraud charges after their crypto empire went up in smoke last fall.
With Murphy (who is 35), Spiegel (33), Bankman-Fried (31) and Wang (30) booted from the list, the youngest member of the 400 is now Lukas Walton, the 37-year-old grandson of Walmart cofounder Sam Walton. He’s one of just four people on the 2023 ranking who are under the age of 40—well below the average age of 70. The oldest person is Dole Food Products billionaire David Murdock, who is 100.
The Forbes 400 remains a list of self-made multi-billionaires, with 279, or 70%, of the 2023 listees having created their fortune rather than inheriting it. But it’s still a mostly male list, with just 60 women among the ranks, a measly 15%. The richest woman of all: Walmart heir Alice Walton, who retook the title she held from 2015 to 2022 from Koch Industries heir Julia Koch, who has fallen to America’s second-richest woman. Only 12 of the women of The Forbes 400 are self-made, the wealthiest being Diane Hendricks ($19.3 billion), cofounder of roofing supply company ABC Supply. One self-made woman joined the list for the first time this year: aerospace billionaire Eren Ozmen ($3.4 billion). Another, Panda Express cofounder Peggy Cherng ($3.1 billion), rejoins the ranks; she last appeared in 2017 alongside her husband, Andrew Cherng.
Forbes once again tracked the charitable giving of every member of The Forbes 400, and scored each listee on a scale of 1 (those who have given less than 1% of their wealth away so far) to 5 (those who have given at least 20%). The richest people in America are, so far, not all that generous. Two-thirds of them have given less than 5% of their wealth away so far; only 11 have donated 20% or more.
For more information on how Forbes calculates the list, see here.
MORE FROM FORBES
Trump gag order in fraud case reinstated by New York appeals court
Congestion pricing details revealed in draft report
Dubai announces free parking for UAE National Day
D.C.-area forecast: A less blustery chill today before temperatures rebound
Kissinger warned just before his death that Israel’s war could engulf the Arab world
Feeding Tampa Bay serves hundreds a traditional meal for Thanksgiving
Peaches, Plums, and Nectarines Recalled Nationwide Due to Listeria Outbreak
39 Black Friday Treadmill Deals to Shop Right Now 2023
43 malls in Massachusetts for all your shopping needs
12 Best Running Shoes for Women, According to Experts in 2023
‘Virgin River’ Christmas Episodes: Who Is Mel’s Dad?
PCAOB To Inspect 100% Of China Auditors, Foreign Investors Return
Four will face charges in pre-Thanksgiving brawl at Kowloon, police say
Google Fixes a Seventh Zero-Day Flaw in Chrome—Update Now
‘Sister Wives’ Robyn Brown Called Out By Fans Despite Claims She Stays Out of Family Drama: ‘Emotionally Manipulative’
News23 hours ago
Mark Cuban is selling majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks to the Adelson family
News23 hours ago
Cigna shares slide after report it could merge with Humana
News17 hours ago
The Republicans Who Won’t Quit Trump
Tech20 hours ago
Nikola Tesla’s historic Wardenclyffe lab site at risk after devastating fire
Finance20 hours ago
First Horizon Bank BrandVoice: Swift, Secure, Strategic: How To Create A Lightning-Fast Cash Management Plan That Reduces Fraud And Waste
Tech19 hours ago
Amazon’s New AI Image Generator Creates an ‘Invisible Watermark’ on Every Deepfake
News20 hours ago
Boston officials exploring guaranteed basic income program
Finance19 hours ago
Fortunes Can Be Made With Bristol-Myers Squibb