There are only 2 people who have consistently ranked among the richest 400 Americans every year for the past 37 years

Forbes ranked Philip Anschutz as the seventh richest American in 1982, and he’s stayed on the list ever since. Glen Martin/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The Forbes 400 list has been ranking the richest 400 Americans since 1982.

While people like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett have topped the list in recent years, Forbes confirmed to Business Insider that there are only two people who have been on the list every single year since its inception: Philip Anschutz and William Herbert Hunt.

On the first Forbes 400 list in 1982, Anschutz, then 42 years old, was ranked the seventh-richest person in the US with an estimated net worth of “over $US1 billion,” while Hunt, then 53, was ranked the 10th-richest with a net worth “in excess of $US1 billion.”

You’ll find no such vague wording on today’s Forbes 400 lists, but the numbers are still approximations.

“The methodology has evolved and improved over the years but net worth numbers are all still estimates,” Christina Vega, Forbes’ director of communications, told Business Insider.

America’s seventh-richest person in 1982 is still an influential billionaire today, as the owner of the Coachella music festival and 2 major sports teams

Today, Anschutz is worth an estimated $US11.4 billion, according to Forbes. The 79-year-old’s fortune stems from such diverse sources as oil, railroads, telecom, real estate, and entertainment. He’s the chairman of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns the wildly popular CoachellaValley Music and Arts Festival.

Philip Anschutz
Anschutz at a Los Angeles Galaxy’s MLS match against Toronto FC at the StubHub Centre on September 16, 2017 in Carson, California. Shaun Clark/Getty Images

Anschutz also owns the Los Angeles Kings ice hockey team and one-third of the Los Angeles Lakers NBA team, as well as their home arena, Staples Centre.

Known for donating to Republican political causes, the Colorado-based billionaire started conservative magazine The Washington Examiner in 2005 and later bought another conservative publication, The Weekly Standard, which shut down at the end of 2018.

The 10th-richest American in 1982 today lives in Texas and owns a major oil company

Hunt, now 90 and worth an estimated $US2.6 billion, is one of 15 children of legendary industrialist H.L. Hunt.

While Hunt was ranked 10th on Forbes’ richest Americans list in 1982, he almost could have been ranked higher.

By January 1980, Hunt and his brothers, Nelson Bunker Hunt and Lamar Hunt, controlled one-third to half of the world’s silver market. Their stakes were worth about $US7 billion at the time, according to The New York Times. But just two months later, the brothers lost more than $US1 billion and ended up going bankrupt when the silver market collapsed.

William Herbert Hunt
William Herbert Hunt in Washington, DC in 1989. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Hunt and his brother, Nelson, at one point owned a Greek and Roman coin collection that they reportedly sold for $US20 million in 1990.

Today, Hunt lives in Texas and owns Dallas-based oil and gas company Petro-Hunt, where three of his sons have leadership roles. He also owns a refinery in Louisiana, according to Forbes.

The richest American in 1982 wouldn’t even make the Forbes 400 list today

The level of wealth measured on the Forbes 400 list in 1982 is nothing compared to the vast wealth seen on the list today.

“When Forbes published our first list of the 400 richest Americans back in 1982, the poorest person to make the rarefied club was worth $US91 million, while the richest, Daniel Keith Ludwig, topped out at $US2 billion,” Catherine Perloff wrote for Forbes. “That wouldn’t even get Ludwig a spot at the bottom of the list today.”

In 2019, no mere millionaires are found on the list at all. Individuals had to have a minimum net worth of $US2.1 billion to make the list. The 13 people tied for last place on this year’s Forbes 400 list are worth an estimated $US2.1 billion each.

Even considering inflation, Ludwig’s 1982 net worth of $US2 billion would only be worth about $US3.03 billion today, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics’ inflation calculator.

By contrast, the richest American today, Jeff Bezos, is worth a staggering $US114 billion.