The wealth of the 400 richest Americans is now at $2.34 trillion, up from last year’s all-time record of $2.29 trillion.
The top three on the Forbes Rich List are Microsoft’s Bill Gates ($76 billion), Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett ($62 billion) and Oracle’s Larry Ellison ($47.5 billion).
According to the industry breakdown supplied by Forbes, its 400 include 126 engaged in investment, real estate and finance, 81 from computer technology and media, 36 from food and beverage, 32 from retail and fashion (including five members of the Walton family, owners of Wal-Mart), 31 from oil & gas, 20 from health care, 19 from miscellaneous services (including six members of the Pritzker family, owners of Hyatt Hotels), and 19 from sports and gaming.
Gates, who has held the number one spot on the Forbes 400 for 22 years, has less than 13 percent of his fortune in stock in the company he founded. According to Forbes, the majority of Gates’ wealth is bound up in Cascade, the software mogul’s investment firm, which specializes in “investing in stocks, bonds, private equity and real estate.”
Jeffrey Bezos, owner of Amazon, saw the largest gain in wealth for the year, making $16 billion in 2015, placing his total net worth at $47 billion and catapulting him to fourth place.
A US Census report released earlier this month shows that 14.8 percent of the US population lives in poverty; a figure that is unchanged from a year earlier. The Census findings show that 6.6 percent of the population lives in “deep poverty,” or less than half of the already unrealistically low official poverty line in the US.