20 Richest People in the United States in 2009

Forbes 400 graphic

(ref: Forbes 400, forbes.com. GDP data from indexmundi.com based on 2008 CIA Factbook)

In 2009, the net worth of the top 20 wealthiest fell by 13.8% and there are 3 newcomers to the top 20 group (indicated by an asterisk*). The total worth of the 400 wealthiest in the United States fell by $300 billion to $1.27 trillion. Numbers in [brackets] are countries with the closest approximate GDP.

  1. William Gates III ($50.0 bil, 53yo, Medina, WA – Microsoft) [Cuba]
  2. Warren Buffett ($40.0 bil, 79yo, Omaha, NE – Berkshire Hathaway) [Lebanon, Latvia]
  3. Lawrence Ellison ($27.0 bil, 65yo, Redwood City, CA – Oracle) [Paraguay]
  4. Christy Walton & family ($21.5 bil, 54yo, Jackson, WY – Wal-Mart inheritance) [Trinidad]
  5. Jim Walton ($19.6 bil, 61yo, Bentonville, AR – Wal-Mart) [Georgia]
  6. Alice Walton ($19.3 bil, 60 Fort Worth, TX – Wal-Mart) [Georgia]
  7. S Robson Walton ($19 bil, 65yo, Bentonville, AR – Wal-Mart) [Dem. Rep. Congo]
  8. Michael Bloomberg ($17.5 bil, 67yo, New York, NY – Bloomberg) [Mozambique]
  9. Charles Koch ($16.0 bil, 73yo, Wichita, KS – manufacturing, energy) [Chad]
  10. David Koch ($16.0 bil, 69yo, New York, NY – manufacturing, energy) [Chad]
  11. Sergey Brin ($15.3 bil, 36yo Palo Alto, CA – Google) [Haiti]
  12. Larry Page ($15.3 bil, 36yo San Francisco, CA – Google) [Haiti]
  13. Michael Dell ($14.5 bil, 44yo, Austin, TX – Dell) [Mauritius]
  14. Steven Ballmer ($13.3 bil, 53yo, Seattle, WA – Microsoft) [Jamaica]
  15. George Soros ($13.0 bil, 79yo, Westchester, IL – hedge funds)* [Jamaica]
  16. Donald Bren ($12.0 bil, 77yo, Newport Beach, CA – real estate) [Benin]
  17. Paul Allen ($11.5 bil, 56yo, Seattle, WA – Microsoft, investments) [Iceland, Tajikistan]
  18. Abigail Johnson ($11.5 bil, 47yo, Boston, MA – Fidelity) [Iceland, Tajikistan]
  19. Forest Edward Mars ($11.0 bil, 78yo, McLean, IL – candy, pet food)* [Iceland, Tajikistan]
  20. Jacqueline Mars ($11.0 bil, 70yo, Bedminster, NJ – candy, pet food)* [Iceland, Tajikistan]

Net worth of the 20 wealthiest Americans for 2009: $374.3 billion [Belgium]. Net worth of the 400 wealthiest Americans for 2009: $1.27 trillion [the GDP of Canada or the combined total GDP of Chile, Ghana, Egypt, Saudi Arabia] or 9% of the $14.15 trillion GDP of the United States.

Check out Teaching Economics as if People Mattered – Born on Third Base for an interesting lesson plan about wealth and the Forbes 400.

Here’s a link to the 2008 list of the 20 Richest People in the US.


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