Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates ranks No. 1 in the Forbes 400 list
for the 21st straight year, with a net worth of $81 billion as of Sept. 29.
That's a gain of $9 billion from 2013, thanks largely to the appreciation of Microsoft stock.
Gates is using a substantial portion of his wealth to support health causes around the world. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which he largely finances, has disbursed $30 billion since 2000 to fight smallpox and polio and is now working on malaria. The Foundation also has contributed to education reform in the United States.
Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, places second for the 14th consecutive year, with a net worth of $67 billion. He is followed by Oracle founder Larry Ellison, with $50 billion and Koch Industries executives Charles and David Koch, both with $42 billion.
The rest of the top 10 consists mostly of heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. Christy Walton is sixth, with a net worth of $38 billion; Jim Walton is seventh, with $36 billion; Alice Walton is ninth, with $34.9 billion; and S. Robson Walton is 10th, with $34.8 billion.
Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg takes eighth, with $35 billion.
To make it into the Forbes 400 this year, one had to have a net worth of $1.55 billion, the highest since Forbes started tracking American wealth in 1982. In fact, 113 U.S. billionaires didn’t make the cut.
Meanwhile, the global population of billionaires rose 7 percent this year to a record 2,325 from 2,170 in 2013, according to a Wealth-X/UBS study
The United States has the most billionaires, with 571, followed by China with 190, the United Kingdom with 130, Germany with 123, Russia with 114 and India with 100. The United States minted 57 new billionaires this year.
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