Wealth begets wealth. The richest in America are getting richer.
On Tuesday, Forbes released its 36th annual list of the 400 Richest Americans, and there were 169 billionaires who did not make the cut. That was a record number, according to Forbes.
Billionaires who did not make the list include Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who is worth $1.6 billion according to Forbes, and the activist investor Nelson Peltz, who is worth $1.7 billion.
No individual on the list of the 400 Richest Americans had a net worth of less than $2 billion. That is up from the $1.7 billion necessary to make the cut for the 2016 list and a record threshold.
The average net worth of an individual on the list was $6.7 billion, up from $6 billion the year prior.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates topped the list for the 24th consecutive year. The total net worth of the 400 billionaires was $2.7 trillion, up from $2.4 trillion the year prior.
The leading reason for the blockbuster year for the wealthy was the climb in the stock market, Forbes says. The S&P 500 went up 17 percent in the year since the last list was published, the publication noted. Forbes used closing stock prices from Sept. 22, 2017 to compile the list.
Tech entrepreneurs dominated the top 10 list of the Richest Americans. After Gates, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was the second richest person in America in 2017, followed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in the fourth spot. Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison took no. 5, Michael Bloomberg came in eighth and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin took the ninth and 10th spots respectively.
Twenty-two individuals made their first ever appearance on Forbes 400 Richest Americans list and of those, nearly two-thirds (14 of 22) were self-made entrepreneurs.
Among those newcomer self-made business owners were Arizona Beverages co-founder Don Vultaggio, Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings and Tito's Handmade Vodka founder Tito Beveridge.
Of 400 individuals on the list, 267 are self-made billionaires, according to Forbes.
While the record-breaking list is a sign of prosperity for the wealthiest people in the United States, it's also a stark reminder of the devastating wealth inequality in the country.
Wealth inequality in the United States is worse than it is in Kenya, according to the CIA's Gini index. On the Gini Index, a higher score is correlated with worse level of inequality. The United States scores a 45. Kenya scores a 42.5. That's compared to a 32.4 in the United Kingdom and a 21.5 in Finland, for example.
This chart shows how 8 billionaires have as much wealth as 3.6 billion people
The wealth gap in the US is worse than in Kenya
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