Income inequality in the U.S. has been creeping upwards for decades. Over the 40 years between 1980 and 2019, income inequality – a measure of the uneven dispersion of wealth across a population – climbed by nearly 18% in the United States. While the number of Americans living below the poverty line has fluctuated in recent decades, the number of billionaires in the United States has been climbing steadily.
Today, the U.S. is home to over 750 billionaires, up from just 66 as recently as 1990. Additionally, over a third of the wealthiest people in the world reside in the United States. Some of the wealthiest Americans, including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison, are worth more than the entire gross domestic product of over a dozen states, including Idaho, Maine, New Mexico, and Rhode Island. SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk, the wealthiest person in the United States and the world, has a higher net worth than the entire annual economic output of 20 states. (Here is a look at the 25 richest Americans of all time.)
Through a number of channels, including real estate holdings, investments, and business ownership, the combined wealth of the top 1% in America increased by over 33% during the pandemic, according to a report from the Federal Reserve. Now, with the exception of Alaska, Delaware, and West Virginia, every state in the country is home to at least one billionaire.
Using a 2023 report published by Forbes, 24/7 Wall St. identified the richest person in every state. The age and net worth of the individuals is current as of June 12, 2023.
Depending on the state, the estimated net worth of the wealthiest resident ranges from $400 million to $230 billion. Most individuals and families on this list have either started, or inherited, a successful business. The companies that have made them wealthy include retail, manufacturing, agriculture, media, and tech.
While there are a number of American billionaires, including Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, who amassed a fortune after dropping out of college, their stories are an exception to the rule. Most of the billionaires on this list have an undergraduate degree and several also have advanced degrees. The schools they attended include large public universities as well as many prestigious private institutions, like Columbia, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. (This is where America’s 25 richest billionaires went to college.)
Click here to see the richest person in every state.
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