You won’t believe the personal fortunes of the three richest Americans and Forbes 400 favourites.

The three richest Americans now own as much wealth as the 160 million people in the bottom half of the country’s population.

In addition, the billionaires in Forbes’ list of the 400 richest people in the US are worth a combined $2.68 trillion. To put it differently, that’s more than the gross domestic product (GDP) of Britain.

Jeff Bezos - Compelo

They’re just two of the standout findings from the new ‘Billionaire Bonanza’ report from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS).

“Our wealthiest 400 now have more wealth combined than the bottom 64% of the US population, an estimated 80 million households or 204 million people,” the report said.

In addition, the “billionaire class” is continuing to “pull apart from the rest of us” at the fastest rate ever.

The three richest Americans

The three richest Americans are Microsoft’s Bill Gates, who once again topped Forbes’ list with a fortune of $89 billion. However, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has since overtaken him with a current estimated personal fortune of $95.1 billion.

Bezos has a 10% increase in Amazon’s share price to thank for his No. 1 position.

Investment guru Warren Buffett is third with $79.2 billion, with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in fourth spot on $74.4 billion.

Image by Paolo Bona/


$2 billion is now the minimum net worth required to be counted among the very richest in the US. As a result, 169 billionaires did not make the cut in 2017.

Underwater nation

However, think tank the IPS warned that the gulf between rich and poor was not good for American society.

The report highlights the one in five US households living in an “underwater nation”, with either zero or negative wealth.

Three in ten black households and 27% of Latino ones have zero or negative wealth, compared with 14% of white families, the report revealed.

In addition, IPS said US President Donald Trump’s tax plans would “exacerbate existing wealth disparities” as 80% of tax benefits would end up “flowing to the wealthiest 1% of households”.

Image by Krista Kennell/


“So much money concentrating in so may hands while so many people struggle is not just bad economics, it’s a moral crisis,” said co-author Josh Hoxie.

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