By Tiffany Hsu
12:14 PM AKDT, September 19, 2012
Bill Gates has been the richest person in the country for an entire generation, cinching the top spot on Forbes’ list of the 400 wealthiest Americans for the 19th consecutive year.
That’s what a net worth of $66 billion will do for a guy. Last year, he had $59 billion.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. head Warren Buffett, again in second place, trailed with $46 billion. The slacker.
Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle Corp., was next with $41 billion. The rest of the top 10 was populated with the likes of the Koch brothers, the Wal-Mart Waltons and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
But the tech magnates on the list are probaby less sanguine. Mark Zuckerberg, after Facebook’s less-than-inspiring IPO, lost the most money of the bunch. He still has $9.4 billion, but the company’s public debut cost him $8.1 billion in net worth and sent him down to 36th place from 14th, just behind Rupert Murdoch.
Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz is, at age 28, the youngest billionaire in the country with $2.7 billion. Zuckerberg, eight days older, is second youngest.
Zynga’s Mark Pincus and Groupon’s Eric Lefkofsky tumbled off the list entirely. But Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google all saw their networth and rank improve.
Overall, however, members of the fat-cat club fared quite nicely. Only 66 of the 400 saw their net worth shrink; 241 enjoyed an increase as the real estate market began recovering and stock prices swung up.
Southern Californian titans such as Irvine Co. chairman Donald Bren, 80 and philanthropist Eli Broad, 79, landed in the top 100.
Oprah Winfrey, Phoebe Hearst Cooke and Meg Whitman were among the 45 women on the list. Newcomers included Andrew and Peggy Cherng of Panda Express, whose $2 billion put them in 239th place, and Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs, who is now the wealthiest woman in Silicon Valley, with $11 billion.
Tesla Motors and SpaceX boss Elon Musk is also a fresh addition, joining the list with $2.4 billion in 190th place.