NEW YORK — Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates topped Forbes’ latest list of the 400 richest Americans for the 21st straight year.
The list, released Monday, was largely unchanged for 2014 and showed the rich getting richer. The combined wealth of those on the list rose 13 percent to $2.29 trillion, helped by a stronger U.S. stock market.
Gates’ net worth totaled $81 billion, up $9 billion from 2013.
Investor Warren Buffett, the head of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A) (BRK-B), remained in second place at $67 billion. Oracle (ORCL) co-founder Larry Ellison also kept his No. 3 spot with $50 billion.
Brothers Charles and David Koch, co-owners of Koch Industries, stay tied for fourth with $42 billion each.
There were 27 new members of the list, including WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum in the 62nd spot. Facebook announced plans to buy the mobile messaging app for $19 billion in February.
The biggest gainer is Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg, No. 11, whose net worth grew $15 billion since last year to $34 billion.
The net worth of America’s wealthiest people has risen in the years since the financial crisis, widening the gap between the exceptionally well-to-do and the rest of the country. The average net worth of a Forbes 400 member is $5.7 billion, up from $5 billion last year.
The top 10 people on this year’s Forbes 400 list are:
Bill Gates, $81 billion
Warren Buffett, $67 billion
Larry Ellison, $50 billion
Charles Koch, $42 billion
David Koch, $42 billion
Christy Walton & family, $38 billion
Jim Walton, $36 billion
Michael Bloomberg, $35 billion
Alice Walton, $34.9 billion