Forbes released its list of ‘America’s Richest Families’ last Tuesday, ranking 185 families with a combined fortune of at least $1 billion and an aggregated net worth of $1.2 trillion.
The Walton family, whose patriarch Sam Walton founded retail giant Wal-Mart, is the richest family in the US and the world. The Waltons are worth $152 billion, more than $60 billion more than the second-richest family, the Koch family. Other notable families on the list include The Kennedys and Rockefellers.
The 185 families made their wealth in various industries, but the food and beverage industry was the most represented with 15 families. This includes the Mars family at $60 billion; the Dorrance family, owners of Campbell Soup Co., at $12.8 billion, and the Tyson family, which ownsTyson Foods, at $2.8 billion. Media corporations were the second-most common sources of wealth, making the fortunes of the Hearst and Pulitzer families, among others. Many families also acquired wealth through ventures in fashion, retail, and energy.
Seven families’ wealth are also diversified. For example, the Koch family makes much of their wealth from Koch Industries, the second largest privately-owned US company. The company has subsidiaries involving manufacturing, trading, and investing. The Pohlad family initially became wealthy when Carl Pohlad founded Pohlad Companies, which now has a network of more than 30 companies in the banking, real estate, sports, and entertainment industries, according to Forbes.
Forbes calculated the families’ wealth by adding up their assets, such as stakes in public and private companies and real estate, as part of the list's methodology. It also took into account of estimated debt. Forbes did not factor in assets for families' charitable foundations. To make the cut, families needed a combined net worth of $1 billion.