After breaking records a year ago, the world’s billionaires have shrunk in number and overall wealth on Forbes’ new 2022 list. But the uppermost ranks of this year’s 735 American billionaires bucked that trend. The ten richest U.S. billionaires are worth a combined $1.2 trillion–up from $1.05 trillion a year ago–and account for just over 25% of American billionaire wealth. Talk about wealth concentration.
Eight of the 10 richest Americans are worth more than last year, led by Elon Musk–the new number one richest in the world and the biggest gainer in dollar terms on the list–who is up $68 billion from a year ago, to an estimated fortune of $219 billion. His increased wealth was fueled by a 33% rise in the price of electric vehicle maker Tesla’s stock in the past year. The second biggest gainer among this group of ten: Steve Ballmer, whose Microsoft shares shot up a bit more than 20% over the year, contributing to a $22.7 billion jump in his fortune, to an estimated $91.4 billion.
The only two members of this elite group with smaller fortunes than in March 2021: Amazon founder and chairman Jeff Bezos, whose net worth dropped $6 billion since last year, to $171 billion, amid a dip in the e-commerce giant’s share price; and Mark Zuckerberg, the cofounder and CEO of the company formerly known as Facebook, whose fortune fell by nearly $30 billion over the past year, to $67.3 billion, as shares of recently renamed Meta Platforms fell nearly 30%.
Nine of these 10 people were among the 10 wealthiest in the U.S. a year ago as well. The one change: Mike Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor and founder of financial data firm Bloomberg LP, who overtook Walmart heir Alice Walton this year.
The Ten Richest Americans
Forbes calculated net worths for the 2022 list of the World’s Billionaires using stock prices and currency exchange rates from March 11, 2022.