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America's wealthiest families, according to Forbes

Sam Walton, 1936 photo

Forbes has published a list of the richest families in America on Tuesday. America’s richest families are the family units that have acquired at least a billion dollar fortunes. Quite incredibly, there are 185 American families that have amassed that much financial worth. The report on the list asserts that the collective worth of the 185 families on the list of billionaire families is $1.2 trillion.

It is reported that many of the families on the list are currently working to increase their family fortunes. Yet others are far removed – several generations – from the family members that brought the wealth to their families. Practically all of the names on the list have a family history of tremendous success in American businesses as well as famous American brands. It turns out that the wealthiest American family is also the wealthiest family in the entire world. That family is the Walton family.

The current Walton family – which still owns the very successful Wal-Mart Stores – includes Sam Walton’s three living children. Sam Walton, of course, was the founder of the Wal-Mart Stores and he is deceased. Founding Wal-Mart with Sam Walton was his brother James “Bud” Walton who is also deceased. The two found Wal-Mart in Arkansas in 1962. The relatives are the wife of Sam Walton’s son John – who passed away in a plane crash nine years ago and the two daughters of James “Bud” Walton. The three are now worth $152 billion.

The wealthiest family is far and above the second richest family. In second place are the Koch brothers. They are political activists. The Koch brothers are worth $89 billion. Of the families listed, they vary greatly. The families range from the two siblings in the Koch family to some 3,500 members of the DuPont family.

America’s Wealthiest Families (family name, financial worth, basis of wealth)

  1. Walton family, $152 billion – Wal-Mart retail
  2. Koch family, $89 billion - diversified
  3. Mars family, $60 billion – candy
  4. Cargill-MacMillan family, $43 billion – money management
  5. Edward Johnson family, $39 billion – money management
  6. Hearst family, $35 billion – Hearst Corporation media
  7. Cox family, $32 billion - media
  8. Pritzker family, $29 billion – hotels and investments
  9. S.C. Johnson family, $25.5 billion – cleaning products manufacturer
  10. Duncan family, $25.4 billion – energy

The fortunes of the families were based on the families’ assets being totaled. The assets included – but were not limited to – stakes in public and private companies, real estate, art and cash. Also, families’ estimated debt was also taken into consideration. Of course, there are many lists of the wealthy published by Forbes and other publications, including a recent list put out by the Wall Street Cheat Sheet. Forbes, however, is undoubtedly the most highly respected of publications putting forth such lists.

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