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Top 45 American Families with Over $10 Billion in Net Worth: The Forbes List


Feb 13, 2024
45 American Families with a Net Worth Exceeding $10 Billion, Waltons Surpass Elon Musk in Wealth

According to Forbes, there are 45 American families with a net worth of at least $10 billion. The wealthiest family, the Waltons, owns approximately 45% of Walmart and has a combined net worth of $267 billion as of January 16. This figure surpasses Elon Musk’s net worth of about $202 billion. Together, these 45 super-rich families have an estimated total net worth of roughly $1.3 trillion, which is about ten times that of Warren Buffett’s personal fortune.

The Mars family is the second wealthiest family, with a fortune of $117 billion. Other notable families such as Koch, Lauder, Hearst, and Marriott are also included in the rankings. However, some prominent names like Carnegie, Vanderbilt, and Getty have been excluded due to reasons such as stock-price performance, legal disputes, taxes on stock sales, and charitable giving.

Many of America’s wealthiest families built their fortunes by establishing the country’s largest private companies or maintaining ownership stakes in public companies they helped build. For instance, the Cargill-MacMillan family is worth over $60 billion due to their ownership of about 88% of Cargill, a major ingredients company. Others still maintain ownership stakes in public companies like the Dorrance family with nearly 40% of Campbell Soup and the Brown family with about half of Brown-Forman. Additionally, some families have sold their stakes in businesses like the Busch family who sold its stake in Anheuser-Busch to InBev in 2008 and the Haslam family who sold their stake in Pilot Travel Centers for about $13 billion to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway over several years.

The list highlights that building vast generational wealth is most effective by creating a lasting massive business that can be kept within the family or taken private or sold without having a significant impact on its value.

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