According to Forbes, there are now 45 American families with a net worth of at least $10 billion. The wealthiest family, the Waltons, is worth over $267 billion, making them even wealthier than Elon Musk. This new ranking of decabillionaire families shows that their combined net worth is roughly $1.3 trillion, which is ten times that of Warren Buffett’s personal fortune.
The Mars family is the second wealthiest family in America, with a fortune of $117 billion. Other notable families such as Koch, Lauder, Hearst and Marriott are also included on this list. However, some prominent names like Carnegie and Vanderbilt have been omitted from the rankings due to reasons such as legal disputes and taxes on stock sales.
The descendants of John D. Rockefeller barely made it onto the list with a fortune of just $10.3 billion. Some families built their fortunes by establishing private companies, while others still maintain ownership stakes in public companies they helped build. For example, the Cargill-MacMillan family owns about 88% of Cargill and is worth over $60 billion. The Dorrance family has nearly 40% of Campbell Soup and the Brown family has about half of Brown-Forman. On the other hand, some families have sold their stakes in businesses like the Busch family who sold its stake in Anheuser-Busch to InBev in 2008 for billions of dollars and the Haslam family who sold their stake in Pilot Travel Centers for about $13 billion to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway over several years.
Overall, this list suggests that building vast generational wealth requires creating a lasting business that can be kept within the family or taken private or sold without significantly impacting its value.