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25 richest families in America

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Rodrigo Vallero // Getty Images

25 richest families in America

Americans are enthralled with watching the lifestyles of the rich and famous unfold on reality television and social media. Despite the extravagant cars and vacations showcased on such shows as “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and “The Real Housewives” franchise, the wealth of these celebrities pales in comparison to some of America’s richest families.

To find out which clans hold the most wealth, Stacker compiled a list of the 25 richest families in America using 2019 data from Forbes. Families are ranked in ascending order by their total wealth, with the richest family taking the #1 spot on this list. When ties occur, the families are ranked from most to fewest family members.

The gap in net worth between the #25 and the #1 richest family is surprisingly wide, with the wealthiest family in America amassing nearly $120 billion more than the 25th-richest. When added together, the 25 families on this list have a combined net worth of over $721.5 billion. If these families were a country, they’d be the 21st richest nation in the world. These families are wealthier than Argentina, Poland, Sweden, and Taiwan when ranked by gross domestic product.

Most of America’s richest families charted their paths to massive wealth in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Some struck it rich by discovering oil in the American South or founding a local business, while others made risky but smart investments. The ancestors of America’s wealthy families were also able to turn failing businesses, like breweries and newspapers, into global enterprises.

While some clans have kept low profiles for over a century, others have gained national attention and name recognition for inheritance battles, affairs, political scandals, and illegal practices. From the world’s largest alcohol manufacturers to grocers, investors, and oil barons, check out the 25 richest families in America.

[Pictured: Aerin Lauder]

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Scott Olson // Getty Images

#25. Gallo family

- Net worth: $10.7 billion
- Number of family members: 17 (est.)
- Source of wealth: wine, liquor
- Headquarters: Modesto, CA

Brothers Ernest and Julio Gallo founded E. & J. Gallo Winery in Modesto, Calif., in 1933. In 1966, the winery was named the largest in the United States based on sales volume, and today, Forbes reports that E. & J. Gallo Winery is the largest winemaker in the world.

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Neilson Barnard // Getty Images

#24. Rockefeller family

- Net worth: $11 billion
- Number of family members: 174
- Source of wealth: oil
- Headquarters: New York, NY

In 1863, John Rockefeller founded the first oil refinery in Pittsburgh, Pa. Less than a decade later, Rockefeller started Standard Oil and soon became the wealthiest man in the world. Since then, other notable Rockefellers have served as vice president of the United States and CEO of Chase National Bank.

[Pictured: Justin Rockefeller and his wife Indre.]

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Todd Morris // Flickr

#23. Butt family

- Net worth: $11 billion
- Number of family members: 5
- Source of wealth: supermarkets
- Headquarters: San Antonio, Texas

Florence Butt founded the C.C. Butt Grocery Store, now called H-E-B Grocery, in 1905. The family-controlled company has since expanded, with hundreds of stores across Texas and Mexico.

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Ben Gabbe // Getty Images for Stringer

#22. Mellon family

- Net worth: $11.5 billion
- Number of family members: 200 (est.)
- Source of wealth: banking
- Headquarters: Pittsburgh, PA

The Mellon family’s massive wealth all started with Thomas Mellon, also known as “the Judge.” Born to immigrant farmers, Mellon studied law and eventually founded a bank, BNY Mellon, in 1869. Today, an estimated 200 family members share the $11.5 billion net worth.

[Pictured: Hanley Mellon, Matthew Mellon, and their son William.]

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Jim Ruyman // Getty Images for Stringer

#21. Marshall family

- Net worth: $12 billion
- Number of family members: 3 (est.)
- Source of wealth: diversified
- Headquarters: Dallas, Texas

In the 1960s, J. Howard Marshall II traded his oil company shares for a 15% stake in Koch Industries. Since then, fighting over the family’s wealth has made national headlines.

[Pictured: Anna Nicole Smith, widow of J. Howard Marshall II.]

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Aneil Luchtman // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Brown family

- Net worth: $12.3 billion
- Number of family members: 25 (est.)
- Source of wealth: liquor
- Headquarters: Louisville, KY

George Garvin Brown founded Brown-Forman Corp. in 1870. Today the company produces some of the most well-known alcohol brands in the world, including Jack Daniel’s and Korbel.

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Noam Galai // Getty Images

#19. Sackler family

- Net worth: $13 billion
- Number of family members: 20 (est.)
- Source of wealth: pain medicines
- Headquarters: Stamford, CT

Much of the Sackler family’s wealth comes from Purdue Pharma. However, the company filed for bankruptcy in 2019 as part of a settlement agreement because of its role in the opioid crisis as the maker of the painkiller Oxycontin.

[Pictured: Madeleine Sackler]

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Drinkability // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Busch family

- Net worth: $13.4 billion
- Number of family members: 30 (est.)
- Source of wealth: Anheuser-Busch
- Headquarters: St. Louis, MO

The Busch family legacy began when Adolphus Busch took over a St. Louis brewery in the late 1800s. That same brewery later became Anheuser-Busch, one of the largest breweries in the world. Despite its wild success, the family sold the company in 2008.

[Pictured: August A. Busch IV]

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Loretto Holdins LLC // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Hunt family

- Net worth: $13.7 billion
- Number of family members: 33
- Source of wealth: oil
- Headquarters: Dallas, Texas

H.L. Hunt started the Hunt family fortune when he struck oil throughout the American South. Hunt and his company, Hunt Oil Co., later made Dallas, Texas, home base, and Time magazine in 2008 named him one of the wealthiest men in the country.

[Pictured: Lamar Hunt Jr.]

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Fcervantes // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Goldman family

- Net worth: $13.7 billion
- Number of family members: 7
- Source of wealth: real estate
- Headquarters: New York City area, NY

The Goldman family owns hundreds of pieces of high-priced real estate across New York City. Founder Sol Goldman’s company is now owned by his four children and is run by his daughter, Jane.

[Pictured: Amy P. Goldman Fowler]

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Mpdoughboy153 // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Du Pont family

- Net worth: $14.3 billion
- Number of family members: 3,500 (est.)
- Source of wealth: DuPont
- Headquarters: Wilmington, DE

DuPont originally started as a gunpowder mill during the American Revolution but has grown into one of the largest chemical corporations in the world. According to Forbes, the Du Pont family no longer runs the company, but still owns shares of the business.

[Pictured: Pete Du Pont]

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Scott Olson // Getty Images

#14. Ziff family

- Net worth: $14.4 billion
- Number of family members: 3
- Source of wealth: publishing
- Headquarters: New York, NY

The Ziff family originally gained its wealth through a publishing company known for PC Magazine and Car and Driver, but later became known for its multibillion-dollar hedge funds. However, in 2014, the three Ziff brothers closed their hedge funds to take a different approach to wealth management.

[Pictured: Dirk Ziff (right) with Casey Wasserman.]

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Justin Sullivan // Getty Images

#13. Dorrance family

- Net worth: $17.1 billion
- Number of family members: 11 (est.)
- Source of wealth: Campbell Soup Co.
- Headquarters: Camden, NJ

Dorrance family members are the heirs to the Campbell Soup Co. John T. Dorrance invented the company’s condensed soup in 1897 and became president of the company 17 years later. Today, Dorrance’s descendants own 41% of the company.

 

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Rodrigo Vallero // Getty Images

#12. Lauder family

- Net worth: $17.9 billion
- Number of family members: 6
- Source of wealth: Estée Lauder
- Headquarters: New York, NY

Lauder family members are cosmetics tycoons known for Estée Lauder brand. The family’s matriarch founded the company with her husband in 1946, and today, the third generation of Lauders—William, Ronald, Aerin, and Jane—help guide the company’s growth and leadership.

[Pictured: Aerin Lauder]

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Ben Gabbe // Getty Images

#11. Newhouse family

- Net worth: $18.5 billion
- Number of family members: 3
- Source of wealth: magazines, newspapers
- Headquarters: New York, NY

Samuel Irving Newhouse began what is now an international multimedia publisher with the purchase of the Staten Island Advance in 1922, creating Advance Publications Inc. Now led by S.I. and Donald Newhouse, Advance’s holdings include Condé Nast, Stage Entertainment, American City Business Journals, Reddit, and more.

[Pictured: Donald Newhouse]

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Bob Levey // Getty Images

#10. Duncan family

- Net worth: $21.5 billion
- Number of family members: 4
- Source of wealth: pipelines
- Headquarters: Houston, Texas

The son of an oil worker, Dan Duncan founded Enterprise Products Partners in 1968. He later became one of the largest pipeline operators in the United States. Today, his eldest daughter, Randa Duncan Williams, chairs the Enterprise Products Partners board.

[Pictured: Randa Duncan Williams and her husband, Charles Williams.]

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Kingkongphoto // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Hearst family

- Net worth: $28 billion
- Number of family members: 67
- Source of wealth: Hearst Corp.
- Headquarters: New York, NY

The Hearst family originally gained wealth and notoriety for their mining businesses in the 1880s. However, son William Randolph Hearst Jr. made a name for himself by creating the first nationwide media company. Today, the Hearst Corp. owns hundreds of newspapers and magazines around the world and has investments in cable TV channels ESPN, Lifetime, and A&E.

[Pictured: Patti Hearst]

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Drew Angerer // Getty Images

#8. Edward Johnson family

- Net worth: $28.5 billion
- Number of family members: 4
- Source of wealth: money management
- Headquarters: Boston, MA

In 1946, Edward C. Johnson II founded the Fidelity Management & Research Company. Today, the privately-owned company is managed by his granddaughter, Abigail.

[Pictured: Abigail Johnson]

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Paul Morigi // Getty Images

#7. Pritzker family

- Net worth: $29 billion
- Number of family members: 13
- Source of wealth: hotels, investments
- Headquarters: Chicago, IL

Abram Nicholas Pritzker was the son of Ukrainian immigrants who settled in Chicago in the 1880s. He grew his wealth by purchasing real estate and businesses in the area, and today the Pritzker family is known for building the Hyatt Hotel chain, among other enterprises.

[Pictured: Penny Pritzker]

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Valerie Macon // Getty Images

#6. S.C. Johnson family

- Net worth: $30 billion
- Number of family members: 13 (est.)
- Source of wealth: cleaning products
- Headquarters: Racine, WI

Samuel Curtis Johnson is the founder and namesake of the family-owned SC Johnson company. In the 1800s, Johnson’s parquet flooring business grew after he invented the company’s floor wax. Today, the family is worth $30 billion and owns such brands as Glade and Ziploc.

[Pictured: Casey Johnson]

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Public Domain // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Cox family

- Net worth: $41 billion
- Number of family members: 5
- Source of wealth: media
- Headquarters: Atlanta, GA

The Cox family started amassing its $41 billion fortune in 1898 after James M. Cox purchased the Daytona Evening News. Today, Cox Enterprises includes telecommunications company Cox Communications and Cox Media Group.

[Pictured: James Cox]

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Jemal Countess // Getty Images for Stringer

#4. Cargill-MacMillan family

- Net worth: $49 billion
- Number of family members: 23 (est.)
- Source of wealth: Cargill Inc.
- Headquarters: Minneapolis, MN

According to Forbes, the Cargill-MacMillan family has 14 billionaires, the most of any family in the world. Cargill Inc. is worth nearly $115 billion and produces and distributes food items, including sugar, turkey, and chocolate.

[Pictured: Martha "Muffy" MacMillan]

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Pool // Getty Images

#3. Mars family

- Net worth: $78 billion
- Number of family members: 3
- Source of wealth: candy
- Headquarters: McLean, VA

The Mars family owns Mars Inc., the company that produces Snickers, M&M’s, Twix, and other popular candy bars. Despite keeping a low profile for over 100 years, the Mars family is speaking out about climate change and labor practices.

[Pictured: Jacqueline Mars flanked by granddaughters Graysen Airth and Katherine Burgstahler.]

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Gage Skidmore // Flickr

#2. Koch family

- Net worth: $82 billion
- Number of family members: 4
- Source of wealth: diversified
- Headquarters: Wichita, KS

The Koch family is worth more than the first seven families on this list combined. The Koch family owns Koch Industries, one of the largest privately owned companies in the United States. Brothers David and Charles also are widely known for their impact on American politics. David died in August 2019.

[Pictured: David Koch]

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Walmart // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Walton family

- Net worth: $130 billion
- Number of family members: 7
- Source of wealth: Walmart
- Headquarters: Bentonville, AR

The Walton family’s wealth began when Sam Walton established the first Walmart in 1962. Today, Walmart is the largest retailer in the world with over 12,000 stores.

[Pictured: Alice Walton]

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