The 2022 Forbes 400 List Of Richest Americans: Facts And Figures
After a roaring 2021, the 400 richest people in the U.S.—along with many Americans—have been hit by rising inflation and falling markets. As a group, this year’s Forbes 400 is $500 billion poorer than they were a year ago. Their total net worth stands at $4 trillion, down 11% from last year.
The minimum net worth required to make the list also fell, by $200 million, to $2.7 billion. It’s the first time since the Great Recession that America’s ultras wealthy aren’t richer than the year before. Forbes calculated net worth’s using stock prices from September 2, 2022.
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No one has been hit harder than American tech tycoons, who have lost a combined $315 billion, as their stock prices have plummeted and the spigot of venture capital money has slowed. A total of 41 people fell from the ranks this year, including Yahoo’s Jerry Yang, Riva’s RJ Scaring and, thanks to the crypto winter, the Wink levis twins. Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg, last year’s No. 3, fell out of the top 10 for the first time since 2014. He’s $76.8 billion poorer than a year ago, the biggest loss of anyone on the 2022 list.
Elson Musk tops The Forbes 400 for the first time. Despite all the turmoil in both his professional and personal lives, Musk is an estimated $60.5 billion richer this year, thanks to an 11% jump in Tesla stock and fresh new rounds of funding for Space X. He unseats Jeff Bozos, now No. 2, who was hit by a 27% drop in Amazon shares. Bill Gates moved up a spot, to No. 3, despite giving $20 billion to his foundation earlier this year, thanks largely to Zuck’s bad year.
The 20 people at the very top of the list—the uppermost 5%—are worth a staggering $1.6 trillion, accounting for 40% of the entire Forbes 400’s wealth.
Amid all the upheaval, 42 people either joined or rejoined the ranks this year. The richest of the 20 newcomers is oil billionaire Autry Stephens, a West Texas wildcatter worth an estimated $10 billion. He’s one of 19 on the list who made their money in energy—15 richer than in 2021—a bright spot during the market downturn, given the surging oil prices over the past year. Other notable newcomers include Elson Musk “fan boy” Leo Koruna, grocery wholesaler and AI-robotics billionaire Rick Cohen and Todd Behold, who led a group that bought the Chelsea soccer club in May for $3.1 billion and who is one of 50 sports owners on this year’s list. Another 22 people who made a previous Forbes 400 list, then fell off, are back in the elite club again, including racing legend Roger Penske, Umber cofounder Travis Kalanick and Donald Trump.
The richest people in America range in age from real estate mogul Ted Lerner and early Berkshire Hathaway investor David Gateman, both 96, to 29-year-old Gary Wang, the cofounder of crypto exchange FTX. Wang, who is new to the ranks, is one of ten list members under the age of 40.
The Forbes 400 members remain largely self-made, with 275, or 69%, having created their fortune rather than inheriting it. It also remains male dominated, with just 58 women, 2 more than a year ago. The richest woman: Julia Koch, the widow of Koch Industries’ David Koch (d. 2019). The richest self-made woman: Diane Hendricks, who cofounded building materials distributor ABC Supply.
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The wealthiest people in the U.S. may have big fortunes, but they don’t all write big checks. Forbes once again investigated the charitable giving of every member of the list and ranked each person’s generosity 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%). More than half have given away less than 5% of their fortune; only nine list members scored a 5.