Bill Gates is not only the richest man in America, he is also the richest man in the world.
With a net worth of $72 billion, the Microsoft co-founder has now surpassed Mexico’s Carlos Slim as the world’s richest person, while remaining America's richest man for the 20th straight year.
The news was released on Monday when Forbes debuted their annual list of the top 400 richest Americans. While most of the top names and rankings didn't change from a year ago, the majority of members of the elite club saw their fortunes grow over the past year, helped by strong stock and real estate markets.
Investor Warren Buffett, the head of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., keeps second place with $58.5 billion, while Oracle Corp. co-founder Larry Ellison stayed third with $41 billion.
Brothers Charles and David Koch, co-owners of Koch Industries Inc., stay tied for fourth with $36 billion each.
Wal-Mart heirs Christy Walton, Jim Walton, Alice Walton and S. Robson Walton took the next three spots, with holdings ranging from $33.3 billion to 35.4 billion. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the founder of the eponymous financial information company, rounds out the top 10 with $31 billion.
According to Forbes, the 400 people on the annual list posted a combined net worth of $2 trillion, up from $1.7 trillion a year ago. That marks their highest combined value ever.
Meanwhile, the average net worth of the list's members rose to $5 billion, the highest ever, up from $4.2 billion in 2012. Net worth grew for 314 members and fell for 30 members, Forbes said.
Net worth for America's wealthiest people have risen in the years since the financial crisis, widening the gap between the exceptionally well-to-do and the rest of the country.
According to a study of Internal Revenue Service figures released last week, the top 1 percent of U.S. earners collected 19.3 percent of household income in 2012, their largest share in IRS figures going back a century.
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.