More than half of America’s richest billionaires live in one of four states.
By Chase Peterson-Withorn, Forbes Staff
America’s great fortunes span the nation—from Oregon to Rhode Island, Montana to Texas. But the wealth isn’t spread evenly from sea to shining sea.
More than half of the 400 richest people in the U.S. live in one of four states. These four billionaire havens are home to a total of 240 of the wealthiest Americans—worth a collective $2.6 trillion.
The top state for members of The Forbes 400 list isn’t sunny Florida or low-tax Texas, but California. The Golden State is by far the most popular place to call home for America’s super-rich, with 87 Forbes 400 members worth more than $1 trillion in all. The richest is Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison (who is worth an estimated $158 billion), who owns an estimated two dozen homes, including ten in California, mainly in the tony Bay Area city of Woodside and on Carbon Beach in Malibu. Forbes classifies Ellison—who also owns 98% of the Hawaiian island of Lanai and who paid $173 billion for a Palm Beach-area mansion in Florida in 2022—as a California resident based on his voter registration.
The state that’s home to the second-most members of The Forbes 400 is New York. A total of 62 listees, worth $562 billion, live in the Empire State. No New York resident is richer than Michael Bloomberg ($96.3 billion), the cofounder of Bloomberg LP and former mayor of New York City. Bloomberg still lives in the Big Apple, where he has several properties, in addition to real estate in Westchester county and the Hamptons.
Florida comes in at number three, with 46 list members worth $314 billion. Ken Griffin ($35.4 billion)—who moved both his hedge fund and market marking giant Citadel and his personal residence from Chicago to the Sunshine State last year—is the richest.
Fourth is Texas, which boasts 45 of America’s wealthiest people, one fewer than Florida, though they’re worth a Texas-sized $670 billion, more than double that of Florida. Much of that can be credited to the Lone Star State’s biggest star: Elon Musk, who is also the richest person in America and the world, worth an estimated $251 billion. Musk famously fled California for Texas in 2021, criticizing the state as “the land of overregulation, overlitigation, overtaxation and scorn.”
In all, 40 states have a member of The Forbes 400 as a resident. The U.S. Virgin Islands has one, too (private equity mogul Stephen Deckoff, who bought Jeffery Epstein’s former island there earlier this year). Another eight American citizens who are worth $2.9 billion or more—the cutoff to make this year’s list—live abroad, in places like London, Seoul and Singapore.
Here are the top 10 states that are home to the most members of the Forbes 400
NET WORTHS ARE AS OF SEPTEMBER 8, 2023
8 (tie). Michigan
Number of Forbes 400 members: 8 (2% of the list) | Richest resident: Dan Gilbert ($21.3 billion)
The state’s wealthiest person is also perhaps its biggest benefactor. Gilbert and his business, including home loan giant Rocket Mortgage, have invested $5.6 billion to purchase and rehab a swath of buildings in downtown Detroit as part of a plan to create 24,000 jobs. Other notable Michiganders include Doug, Hank and Mark Meijier ($5.3 billion each), of Grand Rapids-based grocery chain Meijer, and Marian Ilitch ($4 billion), cofounder of Little Caesars Pizza and owner of the Detroit Red Wings NHL team, the Tigers MLB team and MotorCity Casino Hotel.
8 (tie). Nevada
Number of Forbes 400 members: 8 (2% of the list) | Richest resident: Miriam Adelson ($32.8 billion)
The richest resident of the Silver State fittingly got her gold from casinos. Her late husband Sheldon Adelson (d. 2021) headed Las Vegas Sands, which formerly owned The Venetian and The Palazzo but has since sold out of the Vegas strip in favor of Macau, China. Nevada is also home to three women on the 400: Walmart heir Nancy Walton Laurie ($9.3 billion), aerospace billionaire Eren Ozmen ($3.4 billion) and Panda Express cofounder Peggy Cherng ($3.1 billion).
8 (tie). Washington
Number of Forbes 400 members: 8 (2% of the list) | Richest resident: Jeff Bezos ($161 billion)
No state (besides Nebraska, home only to Warren Buffett) has more wealth per Forbes 400 member than Washington. Its listees are worth a staggering $54 billion each on average. That’s because three of the nine Americans who are worth more than $100 billion live in Washington: Jeff Bezos ($161 billion), Bill Gates ($111 billion) and Steve Ballmer ($101 billion).
6 (tie). Georgia
Number of Forbes 400 members: 10 (3% of the list) | Richest resident: Dan Cathy, Bubba Cathy and Trudy Cathy White ($9.7 billion each)
The three children of Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy (d. 2014) now run the fried chicken business their father founded in an Atlanta mall in 1967. Other Peach State Forbes 400 members include two pairs of cofounders: Bernard Marcus ($9.2 billion) and Arthur Blank ($7.9 billion), who launched Home Depot in 1978, and Dan Kurzius ($4.9 billion) and Ben Chestnut ($4.6 billion), who created email marketing firm Mailchimp and sold it to Intuit in 2021 for $12 billion in cash and stock.
6 (tie). Pennsylvania
Number of Forbes 400 members: 10 (3% of the list) | Richest resident: Jeff Yass ($28.9 billion)
Yass, a New York-native, got his start when billionaire Izzy Englander sponsored him for a seat on the Philadelphia Stock Exchange in the early 1980s. Now Yass’ trading firm, Susquehanna Group, is headquartered in the Main Line suburb of Bala Cynwyd. His cofounder Arthur Dantchik ($7.3 billion) also lives in Pennsylvania, as do part-owners of the state’s two NFL teams: Jeffrey Lurie ($4.6 billion), majority investor in the Philadelphia Eagles, and Thomas Tull ($3 billion), a minority partner in the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Number of Forbes 400 members: 13 (3% of the list) | Richest resident: Lukas Walton ($24.2 billion)
The state’s governor, J.B. Pritzker ($3.5 billion)—an heir to the Hyatt Hotels fortune—is the 326th-richest American. He isn’t the only political-minded billionaire in Illinois. His sister, Penny Pritzker ($3.3 billion), served as U.S. commerce secretary under Barack Obama. And power couple Elizabeth and Richard Uihlein ($4.9 billion each) are among the nation’s biggest Republican donors.
Number of Forbes 400 members: 45 (11% of the list) | Richest resident: Elon Musk ($251 billion)
A third of Texas’ richest residents made their money in energy, including oil and gas tycoons Autry Stephens ($14.8 billion), Richard Kinder ($7.5 billion) and Trevor Rees-Jones ($4.9 billion). Others struck it rich in fields such as technology (computer magnate Michael Dell, $71.5 billion), food & beverage (Tito’s vodka founder Bert Beveridge, $7.2 billion) and finance (banker Andrew Beal, $13.8 billion).
Number of Forbes 400 members: 46 (12% of the list) | Richest resident: Ken Griffin ($35.4 billion)
A top billionaire retirement destination, Florida is home to scores of entrepreneurs who got rich elsewhere—then moved to the Sunshine State for some (low tax) fun in the sun. That includes former New Yorkers like hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones ($8.1 billion) and Paychex founder Tom Golisano ($5.6 billion), Californian Russ Weiner ($4.8 billion), who founded Rockstar energy drinks, and Michael Jordan ($3 billion), who became a basketball legend in Chicago, got ultra-rich investing in the Charlotte Hornets NBA team in his home state of North Carolina and now lives on a Jupiter, Florida golf course designed by PGA great Jack Nicklaus.
2. New York
Number of Forbes 400 members: 62 (16% of the list) | Richest resident: Michael Bloomberg ($96.3 billion)
Most New York billionaires made their money on or around Wall Street, in finance & investments, including Bloomberg, Blackstone cofounder Steven Schwarzman ($34.5 billion) and hedge fund manager Jim Simons ($30.7 billion). But there are also media magnates such as Rupert Murdoch ($17.4 billion) and Donald Newhouse ($11.6 billion), real estate investors such as Stephen Ross ($10.1 billion) and Jerry Speyer ($3.1 billion) and fashion & retail billionaires such as Ralph Lauren ($7.5 billion) and Estee Lauder heirs Leonard ($15.4 billion), Ronald ($4.7 billion) and Jane ($3.4 billion) Lauder.
Number of Forbes 400 members: 87 (22% of the list) | Richest resident: Larry Ellison ($158 billion)
California’s billionaire class is as big and diverse as the Golden State. There are 40 tech billionaires, including Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg ($106 billion), Nvidia’s Jensen Huang ($40.7 billion) and Broadcom’s Henry Samueli ($10 billion) and Henry Nicholas ($8.5 billion). There are 17 finance & investment moguls, including Charles Schwab ($9 billion) and Michael Milken ($6.5 billion). There are 10 real estate titans, including Donald Bren ($18 billion) and Rick Caruso ($5.3 billion), who lost a bid for Los Angeles mayor last November. And, naturally, there are 5 entertainment stars, including David Geffen ($8 billion), George Lucas ($4.9 billion) and Steven Spielberg ($4.8 billion).
MORE FROM FORBES
Dusit Hotels and Resorts signs to manage its first hotel in Malaysia
‘Foreign terrorists’ believed responsible for deadly church bombing in Philippines, ISIS claims credit
FDNY: 1 person critical after fire at NYCHA building in the Bronx
Toyota Supra Special Edition Has Colorful Race Car Look, Hardware Upgrades
UAE weather: Red, yellow alerts issued due to fog; temperature to drop to 10ºC in some areas
49 Best Black Friday Mattress Deals You Can Still Shop 2023
37 Cyber Monday Treadmill Deals to Shop Right Now 2023
5 Best Blue-Chip Stocks For 2024
36 Cyber Monday Treadmill Deals to Shop Right Now 2023
44 Best Cyber Monday Mattress Deals You Can Shop in 2023
Middle Corridor countries expand cooperation beyond their region
Henry Kissinger in the Asian context
Taiwan to point US-supplied HIMARS at China
Philippines drops yet another sea gauntlet on China
‘Sister Wives’ Season 18: Meri Brown’s Redemption Storyline Line Was the Surprise Element The Show Needed
Sport23 hours ago
Dana White slams ‘one of the worst’ refereeing displays as fighter is battered
News24 hours ago
Israel-Hamas war: UAE sends ship with over 4,000 tonnes of aid, supplies to Palestine
Travel22 hours ago
Lufthansa Group tests Green Fares on intercontinental routes
Lifestyle23 hours ago
Blake Lively Says Beyonce and Taylor Swift 'Don't Have to Be Threatened'
News23 hours ago
Pope pleads with COP28 to find breakthrough on climate change
News24 hours ago
The ‘Frasier’ Reunion Is the Most Delightful Part of ‘Julia’
News23 hours ago
This Cleansing Stick Is a Travel Must-Have—And It’s Great for Everyday, Too
Finance20 hours ago
Remembering The Wisdom Of Charlie Munger