The history has seen many families which have financially dominated the world since the human society was formed. While looking at the pre-dynastic or dynastic period, starting from pharaohs to Greek-Roman rulers, it seems many emperors had almost half of the total fortune of the whole world, owing to their ruling territories and their pre-historic trading arrangements. But using physical powers to achieve huge wealth went obsolete when modern society arrived. Today, the global economic village is dominated by multinational companies and corporate houses. Many families of this modern era from America achieved an unprecedented wealth through their businesses like the Rockefellers, the Mellons and the Kennedys. Many families are still working to increase their fortunes while many others are just enjoying their wealth they have inherited from their fathers of forefathers. And, here is the list of Top 10 Richest Families in America.
The Top 10 Richest Families in America:
1. Walton family
Walton family is often considered as the richest family in the world as they also got their place at the top in recent years Forbes list. The family mainly inherited the fortune from Sam Walton, the founder of world’s biggest retailer, Walmart. The retail company was founded by him in 1962 and now, it has over 11,000 stores in 27 different countries. It operates throughout the world with 55 different names like Asda in United Kingdom and Seiyu in Japan. All the shareholders of Walmart from the Walton family collectively hold around 50% shares worth of $152 billion. Three of the living members, Rob, Jim and Alice, have constantly secured their places in the top ten of the Forbes 400 from 2001. According to Forbes 400, Jim alone has $34.7 billion of fortune.
2. Koch family
Koch family inherited their wealth mainly from Fred C. Koch, the founder of the Koch Industries. Fred began developing his wealth and founded this oil refinery company after he invented the method for refining heavy oil into gasoline. Koch Industries is the second largest privately held company in the United States according to Forbes. Recent living member of Koch family, Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch, individually hold 42% shares of Koch Industries worth of $40 billion. Along with Koch Industries, the family also owns a non-profit organization called Koch Family Foundation which started with the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation in 1953, and later, included the Charles Koch Foundation, the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation and the Koch Cultural Trust. According to Forbes, the family collectively has $89 billion of fortune.
3. Mars family
Mars family inherited their fortune from the real life Willy Wonka, Frank C. Mars, the founder of the confectionery giant Mars Inc. With their $30 billion annual sales in 2012, Mars became the 3rd largest privately held company in the United States, as reported by Forbes. Mars is still entirely owned by the Mars family with no shares for public. An interesting trivia is that, the world’s most famous energy bar, Snickers, and one of the largest selling dog-food, Pedigree, are both the products of Mars Family. The family was named the richest family in America by Fortune magazine in 1988. They never gave any interviews to the press, as they are very strict about the family’s privacy. All the members of this family, collectively have $60 billion of fortune.
4. Cargill family
Cargill family inherited their wealth from William W. Cargill, founder of the Cargill Inc. The company was founded by him in 1865, after the Civil War in the State of Iowa. The company, with its $136.7 billion revenue and $2.31 billion earnings, is now the largest privately held corporation in the United States. Cargill Inc. is one of the biggest companies in agricultural commodities. They are mainly known as the major trader of grains and edible oil. The Cargill family now holds 90% shares of the Cargill Inc. As the company is a privately owned entity, the exact wealth of the family is unknown. But in recent years, the members of the Cargill family collectively have around $43 billion of fortune according to Forbes. The notable members of the family, James Cargill and Margaret Cargill, had an estimated $1.8 billion each before their death in 2006.
5. Johnson family
Johnson family inherited their wealth from Edward Crosby “Ned” Johnson, founder and current owner of the Fidelity Investments and Fidelity Worldwide Investment. Ned Johnson is a living legend in the investment field, with his $9.3 billion of fortune. He is ranked as the 43rd richest person in America by Forbes. His daughter, Abigail Johnson, with her 24% shares in Fidelity and $10.3 billion fortune, is the 29th position-holder of current Forbes 400. Ned, with his daughter Abigail Johnson, established the company as one of the biggest companies of mutual fund and wealth management. Fidelity Investments became a major funding group in America with its 20 million investors, more than 500 different funds, $4.0 trillion assets under administration and over $1.8 trillion of assets under management. The members of the family collectively have $39 billion of fortune.
6. Hearst family
Hearst family inherited their fortune from William Randolph Hearst, founder of the biggest multinational mass media group, Hearst Corporation. Hearst Corporation is the largest diversified communications media house in the world. The company has 15 daily, 36 weekly and 300 magazines worldwide like Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Elle, The Oprah Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar. Its sub-group, Hearst Television, runs 29 television stations including A+E Networks and ESPN while entertaining 18% of U.S. viewers. The entire group is mainly owned by five family members of the Hearst family, George Randolph Hearst, William Randolph Hearst III, William Randolph Hearst Jr, Lisa Hearst Hagerman, Virginia Hearst Randt and Anissa Boudjakdji Balson. These five members of the family collectively have $35 billion of fortune.
7. Cox family
Cox family inherited their wealth from James M. Cox, founder of the broadcasting giant, Cox Communications. James M. Cox was also the 46th and 48th Governor of Ohio and the Democratic candidate for 1920 Presidential election of the United States. Cox started to publish the Dayton Daily News in Ohio in 1898, and he purchased the Atlanta Georgian and the Journal in 1939. Cox Communication has now become the seventh-largest telephone carrier in the U.S. with its 6.2 million customers, including 2.9 million digital cable subscribers, 3.5 million Internet subscribers and almost 3.2 million digital telephone subscribers. The company is currently run by Anne Cox Chambers and James C. Kennedy, and has estimated $ 15.3 billion yearly revenue. The members of the Cox family collectively have $32 billion of fortune.
8. Pritzker family
Pritzker family inherited their wealth from Jay Pritzker, founder of the Hyatt Hotel chain. He, with his brother Robert Pritzker, built a portfolio of 60 diversified industrial corporations, which includes Hyatt and various industrial service companies. Along with the hotels, the Pritzker family now owns the Marmon Group, the Superior Bank of Chicago, the TransUnion credit bureau and the Royal Caribbean cruise line. The Pritzker family is often considered as one of the wealthiest families in the United States and they secured their places among top 10 positions of America’s Richest Families by Forbes since 1982. According to Forbes 400, the managing partner and living member of the Pritzker family, Anthony Pritzker, alone has $3.1 billion worth of fortune. The members of the Pritzker family collectively have $29 billion of fortune.
9. S.C. Johnson family
S.C. Johnson family inherited their wealth from Samuel Curtis Johnson, founder of the Johnson Family Enterprises. Its main component, The S. C. Johnson & Son, is a privately held global manufacturer of household cleaning supplies and consumer chemicals. The company mainly operates in 72 countries, but their products are sold in over 110 different countries and had an estimated yearly sale of $7.5 billion. Along with the main subgroup, Johnson Family Enterprises also has various other subgroups like Johnson Financial Group, Johnson Outdoors and Diversey Inc. The company also received a perfect 100% rating on the Human Rights Campaign. An interesting fact is that, it was placed among the top ten in 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers by Working Mothers magazine. Collectively, the family members have $25.5 billion of fortune.
10. Duncan family
Duncan family inherited their wealth mainly from Dan Duncan, founder of the Enterprise Products. The company is one of the biggest natural gas and crude oil pipeline companies of the world. The company also acquired GulfTerra in 2004 and Enterprise GP Holdings in 2010, and became a member of Fortune 500. Dan Duncan was the richest person in the city of Houston and the 3rd richest person in Texas in 2007, according to Forbes magazine. He left nearly 10 billion dollar property after his death for his four children, Randa Duncan Williams, Milane Frantz, Dannine Duncan Avara and Scott Duncan. Scott Duncan is also the youngest billionaire of America. The four members of the family collectively have $25.4 billion of fortune.
Recently, Forbes has prepared the first comprehensive positional ranking of the wealthiest families in America for 185 dynasties with fortunes of at least $1 billion. Starting from Jack Daniel’s, Getty Oil, Budweiser, to the L.L. Bean or Hallmark, all these big brands are the brainchildren of richest families. Those 185 which have their positions in the list, collectively have $1.2 trillion of fortune.