There are different degrees of wealth that exist, even among the richest in America.
For example, a heavy-hitting millionaire might have the most impressive fortune in his or her home state – but, as Visual Capitalist’s Jeff Desjardins shows below, venture a few miles across the state border, and suddenly they become a small fish in a much bigger pond.
Today’s map comes to us from HowMuch.net, and it shows the incredible variance in the biggest fortunes on a state-by-state basis.
The Rich List, by State
Below is the full list containing the wealthiest person in every U.S. state, based on calculations by Forbes in early March 2020.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos tops the list with a net worth of $117.1 billion in the state of Washington — meanwhile, the smallest fortune on the list is located in Alaska at just $0.3 billion.
While all of the names above are considered extraordinarily wealthy in their home states, there is still a magnitude of difference involved. The low end of the list ($0.3 billion) would need to multiply their fortune by 390 times to get up to the $117.1 billion Bezos level.
To put this another way, the same degree of difference exists between the median household wealth in the U.S. (~$100,000) and a multi-millionaire with $39 million to their name.
Rising and Falling Fortunes
The above figures were obtained prior to the COVID-19 market crash, which will surely impact the size of some of the fortunes listed here.
Who will be most and least impacted by the recent stock market turmoil?
Even though Jeff Bezos has most of his wealth tied up in Amazon stock, so far it has been relatively unaffected by the volatility. With more people staying home because of social distancing, orders on online platforms such as Amazon have exploded.
Similarly to Amazon, the heirs of the Walmart fortune in the Walton family — including Jim Walton, Alice Walton, and Rob Walton — are also seeing Walmart’s stock price hold relatively steady in the face of volatility. In fact, some analysts consider Walmart to be the ultimate “recession-proof” stock, as consumers flock to discount goods in poor economic times.
Warren Buffett is also an interesting case. Though the stock market has certainly disrupted the real-time value of his fortune, that’s not the game that Warren Buffett plays. In fact, he is known for waiting for times of crisis to deploy his cash, and has a significant stockpile of money ready for just this kind of situation.
Billionaires like Sheldon Adelson in Nevada or Philip Anschutz of Colorado might be singing a different tune than some of the other above magnates. Adelson, for example, owns a good chunk of the Las Vegas Strip, as well as casinos and hotels in Singapore and Macao. Unfortunately, tourism-related businesses are some of the hardest hit in the COVID-19 crash.
Meanwhile, Anschutz owns the Coachella Music Festival and stakes in many professional sports teams (LA Lakers, LA Kings, and multiple MLS teams), which have all been impacted by the cancellation of big events and gatherings throughout the country. Like many others, Anschutz is probably itching for things to get back to normal.