The Richest Americans

Forbes has come out with their latest list of the 400 richest Americans and Bill Gates is again on top with a net worth of $72 billion. According to the magazine, 30 people who were on the list last year dropped off either because they died like “surround sound pioneer Ray Dolby” or lost money due to costly bets like T. Boone Pickens. The youngest billionaires on the list (AKA those under 45) tend to come from the tech industry like Facebook co-founders Dustin Moskovitz and Mark Zuckerberg, those Google guys (Sergey and Larry), Twitter and Square’s Jack Dorsey, and GoPro’s Nick Woodman. The richest women on the list are from the Walmart family: Christy Walton, who ranks at number six and Alice Walton who ranks at number eight. The richest person of color appears to be Patrick Soon-Siong who made his fortune working in pharmaceuticals and ranks at 45.

Here’s how Forbes comes up with their list:

Our reporters dig deep. This year we started with a list of 600 individuals considered strong candidates and then got to work. When possible we met with list candidates in person; we spoke with nearly 100 billionaires this year. We also interviewed their employees, handlers, rivals, peers and attorneys. We pored over thousands of Securities & Exchange Commission documents, court records, probate records, federal financial disclosures and Web and print stories. We took into account all assets: stakes in public and private companies, real estate, art, yachts, planes, ranches, vineyards, jewelry, car collections and more. We also factored in debt. Of course, we don’t pretend to know what is listed on each billionaire’s private balance sheet, although some candidates did provide paperwork to that effect.

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