Rich Get Richer: Bill Gates Tops Forbes Rich List for 19th Year

NEW YORK | Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 11:40pm EDT

Bill Gates has been the richest person in the country for an entire generation, cinching the top spot on Forbes’ list of the 400 wealthiest Americans for the 19th consecutive year.

Rich Get Richer Bill Gates Tops Forbes Rich List for 19th Year 01

Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates remains the nation’s richest man by far, as the tech and philanthropy giant took the top spot on the Forbes 400 list for the 19th year running, with a net worth of $66 billion. Photo: World Economic Forum/Flickr

There was no change in the order of the top five richest from a year earlier.

Technology titan Bill Gates has been listed by Forbes magazine as the wealthiest American for the 19th year in a row, with a fortune of $66bn (£41bn), up $7bn from last year.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. head Warren Buffett, again in second place, trailed with $46 billion.

According to The BBC, he was followed by Larry Ellison, head of software maker Oracle Corp, worth $41bn.

David and Charles Koch of the energy and chemical business group Koch Industries were tied in fourth place with $31bn.

The average net worth of the 400 wealthiest Americans rose to a record $4.2 billion, up more than 10 percent from a year ago, while the lowest net worth came in at $1.1 billion versus $1.05 billion last year, the magazine said. Seven in ten of the list’s members made their fortunes from scratch, reports Reuters.

George Soros, financier extraordinaire, was knocked from seventh to 15th. But between predicting the future of Europe and enjoying the throes of young love, he probably won’t mind, notes Los Angeles Times.

But the biggest drop was seen by Facebook founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, who fell from 14th to 36th place in the wake of a disappointing stock market listing of his company. Zuckerberg lost the most money after Facebook’s less-than-inspiring IPO. He still has $9.4 billion, but the company’s public debut cost him $8.1 billion in net worth and sent him down to 36th place from 14th, just behind Rupert Murdoch.

According to CBC, twenty newcomers joined the list, which required $1.1 billion in net worth for entry, up from $1.05 billion a year ago.

Among the freshly minted are Shahid Khan, owner of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, at No. 179; Judy Faulkner, founder of health records firm Epic Systems, at No. 285; Andrew & Peggy Cherng, the husband and wife team behind restaurant chain Panda Express, at No. 239; and Twitter creator Jack Dorsey at No. 392.

Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz becomes, at age 28, the youngest billionaire in the country with $2.7 billion. Zuckerberg, eight days older, is second youngest.

Dismal performances by social media stocks dropped some executives from the list altogether, including Groupon Inc Chairman Eric Lefkofsky, No. 293 on last year’s list, and Zynga Inc Chairman and CEO Mark Pincus, No. 212 on the 2011 list.

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire founder of Bloomberg LP who is now in his third term as New York City mayor, rose to the No. 10 slot.

Oprah Winfrey, Phoebe Hearst Cooke and Meg Whitman were among the 45 women on the list. Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple Inc cofounder Steve Jobs, is now the wealthiest woman in Silicon Valley.

As opposed to Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Sergey Brinand Larry Page of Google all saw their networth and rank improve.

One quarter of the Forbes 400 come from the finance and investment sector while another quarter come from either the technology, media or energy industries.

“The gap between the very rich and merely rich increased and helped drive up the average net worth of The Forbes 400 members to an all-time record $4.2 billion,” said Forbes Senior Wealth Editor Luisa Kroll.

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