Bill Gates remains No. 1 richest American on Forbes 400 list with estimated $81 billion net worth

By Allen Cone  |  Oct. 4, 2016 at 2:18 PM
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NEW YORK, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, remains atop the The Forbes 400 list of richest Americans for the 23rd year in a row.

Gates' net worth rose to $81 billion -- $5 billion more than in 2015, according to the Forbes list that was released Tuesday.

Gates' has $14 billion more than the next richest American, according to the list.

The No. 2 spot changed as Amazon's Jeff Bezos ($67 billion) displaced Warren Buffett (No. 3), who held the runner-up spot for 15 years. Buffett is CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

Bezos is worth $67 billion and Buffett is at $65.5 billion on the list, up from $62 billion.

Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post, moved up $20 billion from 2015, linked to Amazon shares surging 56 percent.

At No. 4, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, worth $55.5 billion, made it into the top 5 for the first time. Last year he was at $40.3 billion.

Fifth is Oracle's Larry Ellison, who is worth $49.3 billion, up $1.8 billion from last year. Ellison lost his No. 3 ranking for the first time since 2007.

In sixth is Michael Bloomberg, the former New York mayor and owner of Bloomberg News, at $45 billion, up $6.4 billion from last year.

Who dropped the most on the list?

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fell 35 spots to No. 156 this year. Trump is worth $3.7 billion, down $800 million from last year, according to Forbes, mainly because of a decrease in New York real estate prices and new information about his holdings.

Of 28 Trump assets scrutinized by the magazine, 18 decreased in value.

Trump has claimed he is worth $10 billion but has refused to release his tax returns.

The New York Times on Saturday night reported that a $916 million loss that Donald Trump declared on his 1995 New York state income tax returns may have allowed him to legally avoid paying any personal income tax for nearly two decades.

The total net worth of the 400 people on the list is a record $2.4 trillion, up from $2.34 trillion last year. The average net worth is also, at a record $6 billion, up from $5.8 billion last year. The minimum net worth to make this year's list remains at $1.7 billion, unchanged from 2015.

A record 42 immigrants appear on the list, more than double the number that appeared on the list in 1986.

Forbes 400 members come from 21 nations, led by Israel (6), India (5), Hungary (4) and Taiwan (4).

Highest on the list is Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who was born in Moscow into a Russian Jewish family and came to the United States at the age of 6. He is listed as the tenth richest American, with a net worth of $37.5 billion. He is now president of Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google.

"The theme of the 2016 Forbes 400 package is the success of immigrants and the thriving American dream. There are a record number of Forbes 400 list members born outside the U.S., and that's a positive trend in terms of entrepreneurship and job growth," Forbes said in its media release.

Two immigrants appear on the October cover of Forbes: Do Won Chang and his wife Jin Sook Chang, founders of the clothing store Forever 21, who are 222 on the list. They came to the United States in 1981, arriving at LAX the same year martial law was lifted in South Korea.

After working in low-paying jobs, in 1984 they opened their first store, which they called Fashion 21. They now have 790 stores, called Forever 21, and $4.4 billion in revenue.

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