Meet the 15 richest families in America, who are ‘dynasties’ and have a combined net worth of $618 billion


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  • The fortunes of wealthy family dynasties in the US have been increasing, according to a new report by the Institute for Policy Studies.
  • The report looked at the 15 wealthiest family dynasties from the Forbes 400 list and found they have a combined wealth of $618 billion.
  • Since 1982, the combined wealth of the top three families has increased by 5,868%, totaling $348.7 billion.

Income inequality in America is getting worse, and dynastic wealth, which has been bemoaned by Warren Buffett, may be one of the reasons why.

The left-leaning Institute for Policy Studies’ “Billionaire Bonanza” report examined the growing concentration of wealth in the US by looking at 15 dynastically wealthy families from the Forbes 400 list and data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finance.

“Each of these family’s wealth comes from companies started by an earlier generation, either a parent or more distant ancestor,” the report said. “Each of them also represents a wealth dynasty passing generation to generation free from interruption.”

It found that the median American family owns just more than $80,000 in household wealth, while the 15 family dynasties own a combined $618 billion.

Since 1982, the combined wealth of the top three families — the Waltons, the Kochs, and the Marses — increased by 5,868%, totaling $348.7 billion.

Here’s a closer look at how they and the rest of the wealthy dynastic families from the Forbes 400 built their wealth, ranked from lowest net worth to highest net worth. The estimated total wealth for each family is a sum of each individual family member’s wealth listed on the Forbes 400 and does not include the wealth of any family members not on the Forbes 400.

Note that the Forbes 400 doesn’t encompass all of America’s wealthy dynastic families — some individual family members have less than the $2.1 billion in personal wealth needed to make the list.

15. The Cathy family is worth $11 billion thanks to its fried-chicken fortune.

15. The Cathy family is worth $11 billion thanks to its fried-chicken fortune.
Dan Cathy.

SourceThe Billionaire Bonanza Report

The family’s wealth comes from fast-food chain Chick-fil-A, founded in 1967 by Samuel Truett Cathy.

The family's wealth comes from fast-food chain Chick-fil-A, founded in 1967 by Samuel Truett Cathy.
Samuel Truett Cathy.

SourceForbes

His sons, Bubba and Dan, share the family’s wealth, with a fortune of $5.5 billion each.

His sons, Bubba and Dan, share the family's wealth, with a fortune of $5.5 billion each.

SourceThe Billionaire Bonanza Report

14. The Stryker family built its $11.1 billion fortune with Stryker Corp., a medical-equipment company founded by Homer Stryker.

14. The Stryker family built its $11.1 billion fortune with Stryker Corp., a medical-equipment company founded by Homer Stryker.
Jon Stryker.

SourceThe Billionaire Bonanza Report

His grandchildren — siblings Pat, Jon, and Ronda — each inherited a stake in the company, which generated $12 billion in sales in 2017. Ronda is the only sibling to serve on the board.

His grandchildren — siblings Pat, Jon, and Ronda — each inherited a stake in the company, which generated $12 billion in sales in 2017. Ronda is the only sibling to serve on the board.
Ronda and Jon Stryker.

SourceForbes

All three are philanthropists and have donated at least $855 million collectively to various causes and foundations.

All three are philanthropists and have donated at least $855 million collectively to various causes and foundations.
Jon Stryker.

SourceForbesForbesForbes

13. The Goldman family owns a good chunk of New York City real estate with Solil Management, which has built them a fortune of $13.2 billion.

13. The Goldman family owns a good chunk of New York City real estate with Solil Management, which has built them a fortune of $13.2 billion.
New York City skyline.

SourceThe Billionaire Bonanza ReportBusiness Insider

Sol Goldman began the real-estate firm in the 1950s by buying foreclosed properties at bargain prices. Today, it has a 17% stake in the World Trade Center developments.

Sol Goldman began the real-estate firm in the 1950s by buying foreclosed properties at bargain prices. Today, it has a 17% stake in the World Trade Center developments.
One World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan.

SourceBusiness Insider

His daughter Jane Goldman runs the company, which has assets worth an estimated $12 billion. She owns 25% of the company with her siblings.

His daughter Jane Goldman runs the company, which has assets worth an estimated $12 billion. She owns 25% of the company with her siblings.

SourceBusiness Insider

12. The Bass family has a net worth of $13.3 billion thanks to an oil fortune.

12. The Bass family has a net worth of $13.3 billion thanks to an oil fortune.
Sid Bass with his wife, Mercedes Bass.

SourceThe Billionaire Bonanza Report

In 1959, the oil tycoon Sid Richardson left his nephews Robert, Sid, Lee, and Edward $2.8 million each. They then diversified the money.

In 1959, the oil tycoon Sid Richardson left his nephews Robert, Sid, Lee, and Edward $2.8 million each. They then diversified the money.
Sid Bass.

SourceForbes

The four brothers received $5.6 billion in stock after selling their oil company to ExxonMobil in 2017. They could reap payouts worth up to $1 billion.

The four brothers received $5.6 billion in stock after selling their oil company to ExxonMobil in 2017. They could reap payouts worth up to $1 billion.

SourceForbes

11. The Ziffs have a fortune worth $14.4 billion that began with the magazine publisher Ziff Davis Inc., which published PC Magazine.

11. The Ziffs have a fortune worth $14.4 billion that began with the magazine publisher Ziff Davis Inc., which published PC Magazine.
Dirk Ziff (right).

SourceThe Billionaire Bonanza Report

William Ziff Jr. sold the magazine publisher for $1.4 billion in 1994. His sons, Daniel, Robert, and Dirk, grow their inheritance through Ziff Brothers Investments.

William Ziff Jr. sold the magazine publisher for $1.4 billion in 1994. His sons, Daniel, Robert, and Dirk, grow their inheritance through Ziff Brothers Investments.
Dirk Ziff with his wife, Natasha.

SourceBusiness Insider

They reportedly own several homes in Aspen, Colorado, have put their money toward philanthropic efforts, and invest their billions with managers who used to work at their hedge funds.

They reportedly own several homes in Aspen, Colorado, have put their money toward philanthropic efforts, and invest their billions with managers who used to work at their hedge funds.
Daniel Ziff with his wife, Leslie.

SourceBusiness Insider

10. The S.C. Johnson family has a fortune of $18.2 billion.

10. The S.C. Johnson family has a fortune of $18.2 billion.
Herbert Fisk Johnson III.

SourceThe Billionaire Bonanza Report

S.C. Johnson, which produces cleaning products such as Pledge, Glade, and Windex, was founded by its namesake in 1882 and eventually taken over by his son, Herbert Fisk Johnson.

S.C. Johnson, which produces cleaning products such as Pledge, Glade, and Windex, was founded by its namesake in 1882 and eventually taken over by his son, Herbert Fisk Johnson.

SourceBusiness Insider

Herbert Fisk Johnson died in 1928 without a will, and the family reportedly feuded over the inheritance until it was eventually divided between his two children, Herbert Fisk Johnson Jr. and Henrietta Johnson Louis.

Herbert Fisk Johnson died in 1928 without a will, and the family reportedly feuded over the inheritance until it was eventually divided between his two children, Herbert Fisk Johnson Jr. and Henrietta Johnson Louis.
Herbert Fisk Johnson III.

SourceBusiness Insider

9. Like the S.C. Johnson family, the Lauder family has a fortune built on retail. They’re worth $22.4 billion.

9. Like the S.C. Johnson family, the Lauder family has a fortune built on retail. They're worth $22.4 billion.

SourceThe Billionaire Bonanza Report

In 1947, Estée Lauder received her first major order, which was for $800 of skincare products from Saks Fifth Avenue.

In 1947, Estée Lauder received her first major order, which was for $800 of skincare products from Saks Fifth Avenue.

SourceBusiness Insider

Today, the company has 30 brands of makeup, including MAC and Clinique, and reported $13.8 billion in net sales in 2018.

Today, the company has 30 brands of makeup, including MAC and Clinique, and reported $13.8 billion in net sales in 2018.

SourceBusiness InsiderThe Estee Lauder Companies

The Lauders are active philanthropists — Leonard Lauder donated $1 billion worth of art to the Met — and own a lot of real estate.

The Lauders are active philanthropists — Leonard Lauder donated $1 billion worth of art to the Met — and own a lot of real estate.
Aerin and Jane Lauder.

SourceBusiness Insider

8. The Duncan family has a net worth of $24.8 billion.

8. The Duncan family has a net worth of $24.8 billion.
Dan L. Duncan’s daughter, Randa Williams, right, with her husband and mother-in-law.

SourceThe Billionaire Bonanza Report

Dan L. Duncan founded Enterprise Products Partners, a natural-gas and crude-oil company, in 1968 with just $10,000.

Dan L. Duncan founded Enterprise Products Partners, a natural-gas and crude-oil company, in 1968 with just $10,000.
Enterprise not pictured.

SourceBusiness Insider

After he died in 2010, the company remained under family control, and his four children inherited a $10 billion estate. The family fortune has since more than doubled.

After he died in 2010, the company remained under family control, and his four children inherited a $10 billion estate. The family fortune has since more than doubled.
Randa Williams.

SourceBusiness Insider

7. The Pritzker family has a fortune of $26.6 billion with roots in hospitality.

7. The Pritzker family has a fortune of $26.6 billion with roots in hospitality.
Anthony Pritzker with his wife and kids.

SourceThe Billionaire Bonanza Report

A.N. Pritzker and his sons, Jay, Donald, and Robert, created the family’s wealth by founding the Hyatt Hotel chain and investing in holdings, such as Marmon Group.

A.N. Pritzker and his sons, Jay, Donald, and Robert, created the family's wealth by founding the Hyatt Hotel chain and investing in holdings, such as Marmon Group.

SourceBusiness Insider

Eleven members of the family are billionaires — eight are on the Forbes 400 list.

Eleven members of the family are billionaires — eight are on the Forbes 400 list.
Penny Pritzker.

SourceBusiness InsiderThe Billionaire Bonanza Report

They reportedly spent much of the 2000s arguing over trusts, ultimately dividing up the fortune.

They reportedly spent much of the 2000s arguing over trusts, ultimately dividing up the fortune.
J.B. Pritzker.

SourceBusiness Insider

6. The Cox family has a fortune worth $37.2 billion thanks to Cox Enterprises.

6. The Cox family has a fortune worth $37.2 billion thanks to Cox Enterprises.
James Cox Kennedy.

SourceThe Billionaire Bonanza Report

The company spans a number of industries — cable and broadband (Cox Communications), newspapers and radio stations (Cox Media Group), and automotive — and generates about $20 billion in revenue.

The company spans a number of industries — cable and broadband (Cox Communications), newspapers and radio stations (Cox Media Group), and automotive — and generates about $20 billion in revenue.

Source: Business Insider

Founder James Cox’s five grandchildren share the family fortune.

Founder James Cox's five grandchildren share the family fortune.
Katharine Raynor, daughter of Anne Cox Chambers, with her husband, Billy Raynor.

SourceBusiness Insider

5. The Edward C. Johnson family is worth $38.7 billion.

5. The Edward C. Johnson family is worth $38.7 billion.
Abigail Johnson.

SourceThe Billionaire Bonanza Report

Edward C. Johnson founded the world’s second-largest mutual-fund company, Fidelity, in 1946. It has been run by three Johnson generations since.

Edward C. Johnson founded the world's second-largest mutual-fund company, Fidelity, in 1946. It has been run by three Johnson generations since.

SourceBusiness Insider

The family owns 49% of the company, which is helmed by Edward C. Johnson’s granddaughter, Abigail Johnson.

The family owns 49% of the company, which is helmed by Edward C. Johnson's granddaughter, Abigail Johnson.
Abigail Johnson.

SourceBusiness Insider

4. The Cargill-MacMillan family’s wealth of $38.8 billion dates back to 1865, when agribusiness giant Cargill Inc. was founded.

4. The Cargill-MacMillan family's wealth of $38.8 billion dates back to 1865, when agribusiness giant Cargill Inc. was founded.
Martha MacMillan.

SourceThe Billionaire Bonanza ReportBusiness Insider

Today, 23 members of the Cargill-MacMillan family own 88% of the company, which generates $108 billion in annual revenue.

Today, 23 members of the Cargill-MacMillan family own 88% of the company, which generates $108 billion in annual revenue.

SourceBusiness Insider

Of this clan, 14 are billionaires — nine are on the Forbes 400.

Of this clan, 14 are billionaires — nine are on the Forbes 400.
Martha MacMillan.

SourceThe Billionaire Bonanza ReportBusiness Insider

3. The Mars family has a fortune of $72 billion from its candy empire, Mars Inc., which invented M&Ms, Milky Ways, and Mars Bars.

3. The Mars family has a fortune of $72 billion from its candy empire, Mars Inc., which invented M&Ms, Milky Ways, and Mars Bars.
Jacqueline Mars and her granddaughters.

SourceThe Billionaire Bonanza Report

Six of the family members rank among the Forbes 400. Siblings Jacqueline and John Mars have the biggest share of the fortune, with $24 billion each; the other four members have $6 billion each.

Six of the family members rank among the Forbes 400. Siblings Jacqueline and John Mars have the biggest share of the fortune, with $24 billion each; the other four members have $6 billion each.
Jacqueline Mars.

SourceThe Billionaire Bonanza Report

They run the Mars Foundation, which donates to educational, environmental, cultural, and health-related causes.

They run the Mars Foundation, which donates to educational, environmental, cultural, and health-related causes.
Jacqueline Mars.

SourceBusiness Insider

Jacqueline Mars’ son, Stephen Badger, is the chairman of Mars Inc., which brings in more than $35 billion in annual revenue.

Jacqueline Mars' son, Stephen Badger, is the chairman of Mars Inc., which brings in more than $35 billion in annual revenue.
Stephen Badger.

SourceBusiness Insider

2. Koch Industries has helped the Koch family build a fortune of $107 billion.

2. Koch Industries has helped the Koch family build a fortune of $107 billion.
David and Julia Koch.

SourceThe Billionaire Bonanza Report

Brothers Charles and David Koch expanded their father’s oil-refinery firm into the conglomerate, which generates roughly $100 billion in revenue annually.

Brothers Charles and David Koch expanded their father's oil-refinery firm into the conglomerate, which generates roughly $100 billion in revenue annually.

SourceBusiness Insider

David has pledged to contribute more than $1.2 billion to cancer research, hospitals, education, and cultural institutions through the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation.

David has pledged to contribute more than $1.2 billion to cancer research, hospitals, education, and cultural institutions through the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation.
David Koch.

SourceBusiness Insider

Both brothers reportedly secretly funded some of the biggest summer movies of 2017, including “Wonder Woman.”

Both brothers reportedly secretly funded some of the biggest summer movies of 2017, including
Charles Koch.

SourceBusiness Insider

1. The Walton family is the biggest family-wealth dynasty in the US, worth $169.7 billion.

1. The Walton family is the biggest family-wealth dynasty in the US, worth $169.7 billion.
Siblings Jim, Alice, and Rob Walton.

SourceThe Billionaire Bonanza Report

Their source of wealth comes from Walmart, which Sam and Bud Walton founded in 1962 before founding Sam’s Club in 1983.

Their source of wealth comes from Walmart, which Sam and Bud Walton founded in 1962 before founding Sam's Club in 1983.

SourceBusiness Insider

Today, Walmart reports $500 billion in sales, making it the largest retailer by revenue in the world.

Today, Walmart reports $500 billion in sales, making it the largest retailer by revenue in the world.

SourceBusiness Insider

The Walton family fortune is dispersed among seven family members, including cofounder Sam Walton’s three children, Rob, Jim, and Alice.

The Walton family fortune is dispersed among seven family members, including cofounder Sam Walton's three children, Rob, Jim, and Alice.
Rob, Alice, and Jim Walton.

SourceBusiness Insider

Alice Walton is the richest woman in the world, with a $44.9 billion fortune.

Alice Walton is the richest woman in the world, with a $44.9 billion fortune.
Alice Walton.

SourceBusiness InsiderThe Billionaire Bonanza Report

SEE ALSO: The 25 richest American families, ranked

SEE ALSO: US inequality is only getting worse, and the ‘dynastic wealth’ bemoaned by Warren Buffett may be one of the reasons why


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Sande Kennedy

Sande Kennedy is a Kenyan-based blogger Political Activist,informer who has an interest in politics, governance, corporate-fraud and human-interest. Kindly drop me a note if you feel aggrieved on any matter that you would want to be highlighted. WhatsApp: +254791890826 Read More about me here
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