A third of $4.3 trillion in billionaire wealth gains since 1990 have come during the last 13 months of the pandemic.
Between 1990 and April 2021, the combined wealth of U.S. billionaires increased 19-fold, from $240 billion in today’s dollars to $4.56 trillion in 2021.
Between March 18, 2020, and April 12, 2021,the collective wealth of American billionaires leapt by $1.62 trillion, or 55 percent, from $2.95 trillion to $4.56 trillion. Billionaires’ huge pandemic-era wealth gains have come amid the past 13 months of coronavirus misery. During those same 13 months, over 30 million Americans fell ill from COVID, over 560,000 died from it and about 77 million lost jobs.
America’s 719 billionaires now hold over four times more wealth ($4.56 trillion) than all the roughly 165 million Americans in society’s bottom half ($1.01 trillion). In 1990, the situation was reversed—billionaires were worth $240 billion and the bottom 50% had $380 billion in combined wealth.
As of April 12, there were six American “centi-billionaires”—individuals each worth at least $100 billion. That’s bigger than the size of the economy of each of 13 of the nation’s states.
1. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, almost a “double-centi-billionaire” with a net worth of nearly $197 billion, is up 74 percent over the last 13 months. If he was still married to his ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, together they would be worth another $60 billion or so—giving the couple a net worth of a quarter trillion dollars.
2. Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and Space-X, with $172 billion, up an astounding 599 percent during the pandemic.
3. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, worth $130 billion, up 33 percent since March 2020.
4. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, has $113.5 billion, a fortune that more than doubled (up 108 percent) in 13 months.
5. Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett is worth $101 billion, an increase of 50 percent during the pandemic.
6. Larry Ellison, founder of Oracle, is also worth $101 billion, up 71 percent since March 2020.