It’s been a good half-decade for the wealthiest families in America. Thanks to soaring markets, the 50 clans on Forbes’ latest ranking of America’s Richest Families are worth a collective $1.2 trillion—up about 30% from $916 billion in 2015. These families are all worth at least $7.3 billion, up from $6 billion five years ago, the last time we ranked that many.
The Waltons remain the richest. The descendants of Walmart founders Sam Walton (d. 1992) and Bud Walton (d. 1995) own about half of the retailing giant’s stock, which generates more than $700 million in dividend income for the family every year. They’re followed by the Kochs, who own 84% of Koch Industries, which does $115 billion in revenues from businesses that include pipelines, chemicals, Dixie cups and Stainmaster carpet. One of the few families whose fortunes fell since 2015: the Sacklers, owners of opioid producer Purdue Pharma—which has been sued by attorneys general in nearly every U.S. state for the company’s alleged role in the opioid crisis.
Other notable products produced by these ultra-rich families include: M&Ms and Pedigree pet food (Mars family) Jack Daniel’s whiskey (Brown family), Campbell’s Soup (Dorrance family) and Gap clothing (Fisher family). Both the Simplot and Reyes families are key food suppliers to McDonald’s. While the Du Ponts and Rockefellers are on the list, some of America’s most storied dynasties—like Astor, Vanderbilt and Ford—don’t make the cut, their fortunes having largely dissipated over multiple generations.
Those who have made their fortunes in the modern era, amassing enormous wealth in five decades or less include the Hughes family, who control self-storage giant Public Storage; the Cathys, owners of Chick-fil-A; and the Chaos, of Westlake Chemical, one of the country’s largest producers of low-density polyethylene, used for milk cartons and other food packaging. The only Asian-Americans and nonwhites to make these ranks—just one sign of a racial wealth gap in the country—the Chaos trace their fortune in the U.S. to the 1980s, when T.T. Chao (d. 2008) moved his family from Taiwan to this country and founded Westlake Chemical.
Of course, just because these families are super rich doesn’t mean they’re happy. Six of the clans on this year’s list have gone through very bitter—and very public—family feuds, including legal battles over trust funds, sham adoptions and even murder accusations.
Here is Forbes’ definitive ranking of the richest families in America. Up/down is compared to their net worth in 2015.
(See the list for the full methodology.)
Read the full profile on Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kerryadolan/2020/12/17/billion-dollar-dynasties-these-are-the-richest-families-in-america/?sh=74c95d31772c
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