Ranked: The World’s Richest Families in 2020
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.
The Richest People in the World in 2023
The world’s five richest people are worth a combined $729 billion. From luxury moguls to Asia’s rising titans, we show the richest in 2023.
The Richest People in the World in 2023
After witnessing record gains in wealth, ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) lost a combined $10 trillion last year.
A lagging stock market dented these fortunes against high interest rates, energy shocks, and economic uncertainty. But some of the world’s billionaires have flourished in this environment, posting sky-high revenues in spite of inflationary pressures.
With data from Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List, we feature a snapshot of the richest people in the world in 2023.
Luxury Mogul Takes Top Spot
The world’s richest person is France’s Bernard Arnault, the chief executive of LVMH.
With 75 brands, the luxury conglomerate owns Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, and Tiffany. LVMH traces back to 1985, when Arnault cut his first major deal with the company by acquiring Christian Dior, a firm that was struggling with bankruptcy.
Fast-forward to today, and the company is seeing record profits despite challenging market conditions. Louis Vuitton, for instance, has doubled its sales in four years.
In the table below, we show the world’s 10 richest people with data as of February 27, 2023:
|1||Bernard Arnault & family||LVMH||$202B||28%|
|2||Elon Musk||Tesla, SpaceX||$191B||-13%|
|5||Warren Buffett||Berkshire Hathaway||$106B||-10%|
|7||Carlos Slim Helu & family||Telecom||$90B||11%|
|10||Françoise Bettencourt Meyers & family||L'Oréal||$79B||5%|
Elon Musk, the second-wealthiest person in the world has a net worth of $191 billion. In October, Musk took over Twitter in a $44 billion dollar deal, which has drawn criticism from investors. Many say it’s a distraction from Musk’s work with Tesla.
While Tesla shares have rebounded—after falling roughly 70% in 2022—Musk’s wealth still sits about 13% lower than in March of last year.
Third on the list is Jeff Bezos, followed by Larry Ellison. The latter of the two, who founded Oracle, owns 98% of the Hawaiian island of Lanai which he bought in 2012 for $300 million.
Fifth on the list is Warren Buffett. In his annual letter to shareholders, he discussed how Berkshire Hathaway reported record operating profits despite economic headwinds. The company outperformed the S&P 500 Index by about 22% in 2022.
How Fortunes Have Changed
Given multiple economic crosscurrents, billionaire wealth has diverged over the last year.
Since March 2022, just four of the top 10 richest in the world have seen their wealth increase. Two of these are European magnates, while Carlos Slim Helu runs the largest telecom firm in Latin America. In fact, a decade ago Slim was the richest person on the planet.
Jeff Bezos has seen his wealth decline 32%, or $54 billion, the most across the top 10 richest. Amazon posted a $2.7 billion net loss for the full year of 2022, its worst year yet.
Overall, as the tech sector saw dismal returns over the year, the top 10 tech billionaires lost almost $500 billion in combined wealth.
Recent Shakeups in Asia
Perhaps the most striking news for the world’s richest centers around Gautam Adani, formerly the richest person in Asia.
In January, Hindenburg Research, a short-selling firm, released a report claiming that the Adani Group engaged in stock manipulation and fraud. Specifically, the alleged the firm used offshore accounts to launder money, artificially boost share prices, and hide losses.
The Adani Group, which owns India’s largest ports—along with ports in Australia, Sri Lanka, and Israel—lost $100 billion in value in the span of a few weeks.
Interestingly, very few Indian mutual funds hold significant shares in Adani Group, signaling a lack of confidence across India’s market, which was also cited in Hindenburg’s report.
As a result, Mukesh Ambani has climbed to Asia’s top spot, controlling a $84 billion empire that spans from oil and gas and renewable energy to telecom. His conglomerate, Reliance Industries is the largest company by market cap in India.
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