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The Richest Get Richer: Forbes 400

The Richest Get Richer: Forbes 400

Thanks to a buoyant stock market, the richest people in the US just keep getting richer. That has made it harder than ever to join the ranks of Forbes’ 2014 list of 400 wealthiest Americans.

 

The price of entry to The Forbes 400 this year is $1.55 billion, the highest it's been since Forbes started tracking American wealth in 1982. Last year it took $1.3 billion to score a spot. Because the bar is so high, 113 US billionaires didn't make the cut.

 

Bill Gates is the richest American for the 21st year in a row, with a net worth of $81 billion. (He's the world's second richest person, behind Mexico's Carlos Slim.) The Microsoft (MSFT) chairman's stake in the software company he cofounded accounts for just under 20% of his total net worth.

 

His friend, Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, occupies the No. 2 spot on the 400 (a spot he's held since 2001) with a net worth of $67 billion. Larry Ellison, who just announced that he was giving up the CEO role at Oracle (ORCL), the software firm he founded, comes in at No. 3, with a net worth of $50 billion.

 

Facebook (FB) cofounder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is now the 11th richest person in the US, and the biggest dollar gainer on the list. His fortune soared to $34 billion, up $15 billion since last year, due to a sharp rise in the price of the social network's shares. In percentage terms, Nicholas Woodman, founder of wearable video camera company GoPro (GPRO), jumped the most, with a 200% increase in his net worth since last year, to $3.9 billion. GoPro went public in June; the stock has been on a tear as more people buy GoPro cameras and strap them onto bike helmets, surfboards, scuba gear and more.

 

All together, the 400 wealthiest Americans are worth a staggering $2.29 trillion, up $270 billion from a year ago. That's about the same as the gross domestic product of Brazil, a country of 200 million people. The average net worth of list members is $5.7 billion, $700 million more than last year and a record high. An impressive 303 of the 400 saw the value of their fortunes rise compared to a year ago. Only 36 people from last year's list had lower net worths this year. 27 people fell off the list; another six people died, including businessman and Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer.

 

There are 27 newcomers to the Forbes 400, including Elizabeth Holmes, the youngest woman on the list, and the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world. Just 30 years old, the Stanford University dropout has built blood testing company Theranos into a firm that venture capitalists have valued at $9 billion. She owns 50% of it.

 

The first 15 billionaires on the list have been featured below in order of ranking.

 

Editors: Kerry A. Dolan and Luisa Kroll with Abram Brown

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