Family Fortune: The 20 Richest Families in America

We’re in the midst of a revolution. The ‘start-up’ generation of self-made billionaires – entrepreneurs, investors and businessmen – is usurping the once rock-solid spot of names like Rockefeller in the dazzling roll call of “wealthiest families”.

The most iconic ‘old money’ families in American history face the challenge of building on their inherited fortune and maintaining the family’s wealth for decades and even centuries to come. All the while, ‘new money’ families are making themselves known.

In this year’s wealthiest families list, the first and second generation wealthy are contending with the old money heirs and heiresses. These new money families own and operate multi-billion dollar corporations started by a parent, uncle or someone else just one generation ahead. Some of the families on our list are likely to be familiar, while others have come from apparent obscurity to make a splash on the rich list.

These families come from a wide variety of disciplines and industries. Wealth is becoming diversified and opportunities for affluence are no longer reserved to a few exclusive industries. As always with the advent of a new “billionaire list”, we see some families making their first appearance; with the unpredictability of our ever-changing economic landscape, who knows whether they’ll make a reappearance on next year’s tally? Just as old money is no longer a sure thing, new money can be transient.

We’ve computed the total net worth of a family by adding the net worth of the individual family members who form part of a family trust, as well as familial inheritors, shareholders of the family-owned business, and other relatives and direct descendants that contribute to the family’s net worth. It should be noted that this list is an informed estimate of a family’s net worth, and as such it hasn’t been verified by the family’s representatives.

20. Stryker Family: $6.4 billion

 

The Stryker family inherited their fortune from Homer Stryker. He was the founder of Stryker Corp. and the inventor of the mobile hospital bed. Though Homer’s grandchildren still maintain shares in the company, only Ronda Stryker is active in the company as a board member. Her two other siblings are also members of the billionaire’s club despite their lack of direct involvement with the company. Stryker Corp. earned an estimated $8.66 billion in revenue in the last fiscal year.

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