The World’s Richest Families in 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t stopped the world’s wealthiest families from growing their fortunes. Over the past year, the richest family—the Waltons—grew their wealth by $25 billion, or almost $3 million per hour.
This graphic, using data from Bloomberg, ranks the 25 most wealthy families in the world. The data excludes first-generation wealth and wealth controlled by a single heir, which is why you don’t see Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates on the list. Families whose source of wealth is too diffused or opaque to be valued are also excluded.
The Full Breakdown
Intergenerational wealth is a powerful thing. It often prevails through market crashes, social turmoil, and economic uncertainty, and this year has been no exception.
Here’s a look at the 25 most wealthy families in 2020:
|1||Walton||Walmart||215||Consumer services||🇺🇸 Bentonville, Arkansas|
|2||Mars||Mars||120||Consumer goods||🇺🇸 McLean, Virginia|
|3||Koch||Koch Industries||109.7||Industrials||🇺🇸 Wichita, Kansas|
|4||Al Saud||N/A||95||Industrials||🇸🇦 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia|
|5||Ambani||Reliance Industries||81.3||Industrials||🇮🇳 Mumbai, India|
|6||Hermès||Hermès||63.9||Consumer services||🇫🇷 Paris, France|
|7||Wertheimer||Chanel||54.4||Consumer services||🇫🇷 Paris, France|
|8||Johnson (Fidelity)||Fidelity Investments||46.3||Financials||🇺🇸 Boston, New York|
|9||Boehringer, Von Baumbach||Boehringer Ingelheim||45.7||Health care||🇩🇪 Inglheim, Germany|
|10||Albrecht||Aldi||41||Consumer services||🇩🇪 Rhineland, Germany|
|11||Thomson||Thomson Reuters||40.6||Communication||🇨🇦 Ontario, Canada|
|12||Hoffmann, Oeri||Roche||38.8||Health care||🇨🇭 Basel, Switzerland|
|13||Mulliez||Auchan||38.4||Consumer services||🇫🇷 Lille, France|
|14||Cargill, MacMillan||Cargill||38.1||Industrials||🇺🇸 Minneapolis, Minnesota|
|15||Johnson (SC)||SC Johnson||37.3||Consumer services||🇺🇸 Racine, Wisconsin|
|16||Van Damme, De Spoelberch, De Mevius||Anheuser-Busch InBev||36.8||Consumer goods||🇧🇪 Belgium|
|17||Quandt||BMW||34.7||Consumer services||🇩🇪 Munich, Germany|
|18||Cox||Cox Enterprises||33.1||Communication||🇺🇸 Atlanta, Georgia|
|19||Rausing||Tetra Laval||32.9||Materials||🇬🇧 London, England|
|20||Newhouse||Advance Publications||31||Communication||🇺🇸 New York, New York|
|21||Chearavanont||Charoen Pokphand Group||30.7||Diversified||🇹🇭 Bangkok, Thailand|
|22||Ferrero||Ferrero||30.5||Consumer goods||🇮🇹 Alba, Italy|
|23||Kwok||Sun Hung Kai Properties||30.4||Real estate||🇭🇰 Hong Kong|
|24||Pritzker||Hyatt Hotels||29.6||Consumer services||🇺🇸 Chicago, Illinois|
|25||Lee||Samsung||29||Diversified||🇰🇷 Seoul, South Korea|
*Note: The Al Saud’s net worth is based on cumulative payouts royal family members were estimated to have received over the past 50 years.
The Waltons are the richest family on the list by far, with a net worth of $215 billion—that’s $95 billion more than the second wealthiest family. Sam Walton, the family’s patriarch, founded Walmart in 1962. Since then, it’s become the world’s largest retailer by revenue.
When Sam passed away in 1992, his three children—James, Alice, and Rob—inherited his fortune. Now, the trio co-owns about half of Walmart.
In second place is the Mars family, with a net worth of $120 billion. The family is well-known for their candy empire, but interestingly, about half of the company’s value comes from pet care holdings. Mars Inc. owns several popular pet food brands, including Pedigree, Cesar, and Royal Canin—and it expanded its pet presence further in 2017 when it acquired VCA, a company with almost 800 small animal vet hospitals across the U.S. and Canada.
The Koch family is the world’s third-richest family. Their fortune is rooted in an oil firm founded by Fred C. Koch. Following Fred’s death in 1967, the firm was inherited by his four sons—Frederick, Charles, David, and William. After a family feud, Frederick and William left the business, and Charles and David went on to build the mega industrial conglomerate known as Koch Industries.
Despite being affected by the oil crash this year, the Koch family’s wealth still sits at $109.7 billion. Before David’s passing in 2019, he and his brother Charles were heavily involved in politics—and their political efforts were the subject of much scrutiny.
Richest Families, by Sector
It’s important to note that many of these families have diversified their investments across a variety of industries. For instance, while the Koch family’s wealth is largely concentrated in the industrial sector and commodities, they also dabble in real-estate—in May 2020, they made a $200 million bet on U.S. rental homes.
That being said, it’s interesting to see where each of these families started, and which sectors have bred the highest number of ultra-wealthy families.
Here’s a breakdown of each sector and how many families on the list got started in them:
|Sector||Number of Families||Total Wealth, $B|
The top sector is consumer services—8 of the 25 families are heavily involved in this sector. Walmart helped generate the most wealth out of families in this space, while luxury brands Hermès and Chanel were the source of fortune for the next two wealthiest families.
Industrial is the second largest sector, with 4 of the 25 families involved. It’s also one of the most lucrative sectors—out of the top five wealthiest families on the list, three are in industrials. The Koch family is the wealthiest family in this category, followed by the Al Saud family and the Ambani family, respectively.
Communications and consumer goods are tied for third, with 3 of the 25 families in each. The Thomsons, who founded Thomson Reuters, are the wealthiest family in communications, while the Mars family has the highest net worth in the consumer goods sector.
Resilient, but not Bulletproof
Despite a global recession, most of the world’s wealthiest families seem to be doing just fine—however, not everyone on the list has been thriving this year.
The Koch family’s fortune dropped by $15 billion from 2019 to 2020, and the current political climate in Hong Kong has had a negative impact on the Kwok family’s real estate empire.
While intergenerational wealth certainty has resilience, how much economic and social turmoil can it withstand? It’ll be interesting to see which families make the list in 2021.
Mapped: The Migration of the World’s Millionaires in 2023
Where do the world’s wealthiest people want to live? This map tracks the migration of the world’s High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs).
Mapping the Migration of the World’s Millionaires 2023
Just like everyone else, High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) traveled less than usual during the pandemic, and as a result their migration numbers trended downwards. But millionaires and billionaires are on the move again and it is anticipated that 122,000 HNWIs will move to a new country by the end of the year.
Henley & Partners’ Private Wealth Migration Report has tracked the countries HNWIs have moved from and to over the last 10 years; this map showcases the 2023 forecasts.
In this context, HNWIs are defined as individuals with a net worth of at least $1 million USD.
The Countries Welcoming New Millionaires
The top 10 countries which are likely to become home to the highest number of millionaires and billionaires in 2023 are scattered across the globe, with Australia reclaiming its top spot this year from the UAE.
Here’s a closer look at the data:
|Rank||Country||Projected HNWI Inflow 2023|
|10||🇳🇿 New Zealand||700|
Only two Asian countries make the top 10, with the rest spread across Europe, North America, and Oceania.
Despite historic economic challenges, Greece is projected to gain 1,200 High Net Worth Individuals this year. One reason could be the country’s golden visa program, wherein wealthy individuals can easily obtain residence and eventually EU passports for the right price—currently a minimum real estate investment cost of 250,000 euros is all that’s required.
Many of the leading millionaire destinations are attractive for wealthy individuals because of higher levels of economic freedom, allowing for laxer tax burdens or ease of investment. Singapore, which expects to gain 3,200 millionaires, is the most economically free market in the world.
The Countries Losing the Most Millionaires
China is anticipated to lose 13,500 High Net Worth Individuals this year, more than double as many as the second place country, India (6,500).
Here’s a closer look at the bottom 10:
|Rank||Country||Projected HNWI Outflow 2023|
|6||🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR||-1,000|
|7||🇰🇷 South Korea||-800|
|9||🇿🇦 South Africa||-500|
In a number of these countries, strict regulatory bodies and corrupt governments can hinder the ease with which HNWIs can manage their own money.
In Russia, many wealthy individuals are facing personal tariffs and trade restrictions from Western countries due to the war in Ukraine. China’s crackdowns on Hong Kong have made it a less attractive place for business. And finally, the UK’s exit from the EU has caused many businesses and individuals to lose the easy movement of labor, finances, and investment that made operations across European borders seamless.
Some of these countries may still be adding homegrown millionaires and billionaires, but losing thousands of HNWIs to net migration does have a considerable economic impact.
Overall, millionaires are increasingly on the move. In the 10 years of reporting—despite a dip during the pandemic—the number of HNWIs moving away from their countries of origin has been growing every year.
Here’s a look at the numbers:
|Year||Projected HNWI Migration|
In a geopolitically fragile but more connected world, it’s no surprise to see millionaires voting with their feet. As a result, governments are increasingly in competition to win the hearts and minds of the world’s economic elite to their side.
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