With a net worth of $89 billion, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates tops the 2017 Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people in America for the twenty-fourth consecutive year, and is followed this year, as he was in 2016, by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos ($81.5 billion), investor Warren Buffett ($78 billion), and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg ($71 billion), Forbes reports.
Rounding out the top ten in the 2017 rankings are Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison ($59 billion), Charles ($48.5 billion) and David ($48.5 billion) Koch of Koch Industries, Bloomberg L.P. founder and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg ($46.8 billion), and Google co-founders Larry Page ($44.6 billion) and Sergey Brin ($43.4 billion). Three heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune — Jim Walton ($38.4 billion), S. Robson Walton ($38.3 billion), and Alice Walton ($$38.2 billion) — ranked eleventh through thirteenth, followed by casino owner Sheldon Adelson ($35.4 billion), former Microsoft CEO and current Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer ($33.6 billion), Mars Inc. heirs Jacqueline ($25.5 billion) and John Mars ($25.5 billion), Nike founder Phil Knight and his family ($25.2 billion), and Dell Technologies chair and CEO Michael Dell ($23.2 billion). George Soros ($8 billion), who reportedly has transferred $18 billion of his fortune to the Open Society Foundations in recent years, initially was ranked twentieth on the list but, after accounting for the full amount of the transferred funds, dropped to fifty-ninth, while Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk ($20.8 billion) moved up to the twentieth spot.
The list included twenty-two newcomers, fourteen of whom are self-made entrepreneurs. They include Trident Seafoods co-founder Chuck Bundrant, Tito's Handmade Vodka creator Tito Beveridge, Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings, and AriZona Beverages co-founder Don Vultaggio. Five of the top ten in the list are signatories to the Giving Pledge.
Calculated using September 22 stock prices, the minimum net worth of those on this year's list was a record $2 billion, up nearly 18 percent from $1.7 billion a year ago. In addition, every person in the top ten saw his or her wealth increase by at least $1 billion over the past twelve months, while the collective net worth of the entire list increased to $2.7 trillion, from $2.4 trillion in 2016, and average net worth rose to $6.7 billion, from $6 billion. According to Forbes, wealth gainers outnumbered wealth losers by more than five-to-one, with the most notable drop in the rankings claimed by Donald J. Trump (#248), whose fortune fell some $600 million, to $3.1 billion, as a result of a tough New York real estate market, a costly lawsuit, and an expensive presidential campaign.