Forbes Richest 400 Americans: Gates on Top, Zuckerberg, Musk Rise

Image: Forbes Richest 400 Americans: Gates on Top, Zuckerberg, Musk Rise Richest Americans, left-to-right: Bill Gates (#1), Warren Buffet (#2) and Larry Ellison (#3).

Tuesday, 17 Sep 2013 07:54 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Forbes' Richest People in America list was published Monday, highlighting the 400 wealthiest people for 2013 and indirectly reminding many of the ever widening income gap between the haves and have-nots.

For the 20th straight year, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates remains America's richest man with a net worth of $72 billion.

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Gates increased his vast fortune in 2012 by $5 billion, which enabled him to reclaim the title of world's richest person from Mexico's telecom mogul Carlos Slim, who had previously been at the top of the list, Forbes reported.

The "Oracle of Omaha," self-made billionaire Warren Buffet, was second on the list with a net worth of $58.5 billion, while Larry Ellison, co-founder and chief executive of Oracle Corp., came in third with $41 billion.

Brothers Charles and David Koch were tied for 4th place, each with a $36 billion net worth, while positions six through nine went to members of the Walton family, heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg rounded out the top 10 with a net worth of $31 billion.

Other notables on the list were Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, who rose to 20th place after his fortune increased by $9.6 billion in 2012, with Facebook's stock growth. His net worth is now $19 billion.

South African-born investor and inventor Elon Musk saw his net worth nearly triple to $6.7 billion.

Businessman and investor Carl Icahn is now worth $20.3 billion, putting him in 18th place. It's the first time since 2008 that Icahn has been in the top 20, Forbes noted.

The biggest wealth increase in 2012 goes to Workday’s David Duffield, whose fortune more than tripled to $6.4 billion.

At a time when many Americans are still struggling to make ends meet, Forbes' Richest 400 highlights the ever widening income gap between economic classes. 

A study released last week that economists at University of California at Berkeley, Oxford University, and the Paris School of Economics conducted found that the income gap between the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent of US workers is the widest it has been in nearly a century, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

The same study also found that those in the top 1 percent, hit harder during the so-called recession of 2009, recovered faster than the bottom 99 percent.

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"This implies that the top 1 percent incomes captured just over two-thirds of the overall economic growth of real incomes per family over the period 1993-2012," UC Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez wrote in the study.

"We need to decide as a society whether this increase in income inequality is efficient and acceptable," Saez added in an interview with the Associated Press last week.

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