Monday, September 27, 2010

Forbes 400: The super-rich get richer

Forbes 400: The super-rich get richer
Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter
September 22, 2010

NEW YORK ( -- The super-rich got even wealthier this year, despite the stumbling economy.

Forbes magazine released its annual list of the 400 richest Americans on Wednesday, and their combined net worth climbed 8% this year, to $1.37 trillion. Wealth rose for 217 members of the list, while 85 saw a decline.

Bill Gates is yet again the richest man in America. The founder of Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, is first on the Forbes list with an estimated fortune of $54 billion, up from $50 billion in 2009. He's followed by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who is worth $45 billion.

Larry Ellison, chief executive of Oracle, stood at No. 3 with $27 billion.

Christy Walton took the No. 4 spot, while members of her family -- whose fortune comes from Wal-Mart -- took spots 7 through 9.

Charles and David Koch, of private energy conglomerate Koch Industries, tied for No. 5 at $21.5 billion each. Both men saw their wealth skyrocket by $5.5 billion from 2009.

Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, rounded out the list at No. 10 with $18 billion.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who clocked in at No. 35 on the list, saw his wealth rise 245% over the year -- the largest percentage increase on the list.

Forbes said 16 new members joined the list this year, including Facebook's Dustin Moskovitz and Eduardo Saverin. At 26 -- 8 days younger than Zuckerberg -- Saverin is the new youngest on the list.

By contrast, 34 people fell off the list this year. One notable drop-off is Raj Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund, who is facing 185 years in prison,

Despite the recession, finance and investment industries continued to dominate the list; 55 members are from the finance industry, while 54 are from the investments sector.

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