9 mind-blowing facts about America’s richest people

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America’s richest are seeing their wealth grow. Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

The staggering wealth of America’s rich continues to grow.

In fact, several of America’s richest have already added billions more to their wealth in 2020 alone – even during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the left-leaning Institute for Policy Studies’ new “Billionaire Bonanza” report.

The report analysed wealth data from the Bloomberg Billionaire Index and Forbes’ Global Billionaires and 400 lists since 1990.

The net worths of the rich are especially astounding when compared to the household median wealth in the US. It explains why the gap between the rich and the poor had widened to a record high in 2018 since the US Census began tracking it 50 years ago.

Many consider generational wealth to be one of the key causes behind this growing economic gap. “The reality is that the top indicator for economic prosperity is not hard work or intelligence, it’s the family you’re born into,” Josh Hoxie, director of the Project on Opportunity and Taxation at the Institute for Policy Studies,previously told Business Insider.

Here are nine mind-blowing facts about America’s richest people.


1. America’s 614 billionaires have a collective net worth exceeding $US3 trillion thanks to a $US300 billion wealth increase in less than a month during the coronavirus pandemic.

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America’s billionaires had a collective wealth of $US2.9 trillion, based on Forbes’ most recent list calculated on March 18, 2020.

But by April 10, 2020, the report found, American billionaires already saw their net worth surge to $US3.2 trillion.


2. Of the wealthiest 170 American billionaires, 34 have seen their total net worth increase by tens of millions of dollars during 2020.

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The report determined this based on the Bloomberg Billionaire Index.


3. And eight of America’s richest billionaires have experienced wealth gains exceeding $US1 billion from January 1 to April 2020.

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Some saw their net worths dip after the crash, but recovered their wealth thanks to their companies’ rising popularity during the coronavirus pandemic or by getting their companies involved in pandemic-related efforts.

In particular, billionaires with ties to video conferencing companies (like Zoom founder Eric Yuan) have seen an uptick in their wealth as more people have been using such communication tools to stay connected.


4. Since President Donald Trump took his seat in the Oval Office in 2017, America’s billionaires have become 10.6% richer.

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The combined wealth of America’s 565 billionaires in 2017 stood at $US2.7 trillion, according to that year’s Forbes Global Billionaires list, or $US2.92 trillion in 2020 dollars. That total increased to $US3.229 trillion for America’s 629 billionaires as of April 10, 2020 – an over 10% surge in the collective wealth of the country’s wealthiest.

It’s likely that Trump’s tax reform law – formally known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) – passed at the end of 2017 played a role in this three-year wealth growth. While Americans at all income levels, on average, received a tax cut, the benefits were tilted towards the rich who’d see larger average tax cuts as a percentage of after-tax income, Business Insider’s Bob Bryan reported, citing a report from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Centre (TPC).


5. Between 1990 and 2020, US billionaire wealth increased by 1,130% in 2020dollars — 210 times faster than the 5.37% growth of US median wealth during the same time frame.

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The median household wealth in 1989 was $US101,820; in 2016, it was $US107,619, according to the report’s analysis of Fed Reserve data.


6. In the past decade alone, US billionaire wealth almost doubled, increasing by 80.6% in 2020 dollars.

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That’s more than five times the median wealth increase of 15.1% for US households from the years 2010 to 2016, based on most recent available data, according to the report.


7. The 400 richest Americans own as much wealth as America’s bottom 64% — nearly two-thirds of the nation’s household wealth.

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That’s based on the report’s analysis of the Forbes 400 list.


8. And America’s three richest billionaires — Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett — own as much wealth as the bottom half of all US households combined.

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Bezos’ wealth has increased by $US25 billion in the first four months of 2020, according to the report’s analysis of Forbes data.

Bezos has an estimated net worth of $US114 billion, Gates $US106 billion, and Buffett $US80.8 billion, according to Forbes.


9. Between 2006 and 2018, the 400 wealthiest households in the US saw nearly 7% of the real increase (adjusted for inflation) in America’s wealth.

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Some point to generational wealth as the culprit behind the inequality gap.

Consider Warren Buffett, who has been vocal about his efforts to reduce the vast wealth sitting in the hands of a few influential people. “Dynastic wealth, the enemy of a meritocracy, is on the rise,” he said during a Senate Finance Committee hearing about the federal estate tax in 2007. “Equality of opportunity has been on the decline.”