Source: Except for the state map, which is real-time data, billionaires data is from the annual Forbes Billionaires List reports starting in 1990.
The most recent annual report is March 18, 2020. Source tables are available here.
The total wealth of U.S. billionaires grew by $1.064 trillion during the roughly first nine months of the coronavirus pandemic -- a 36% spike in wealth. This increase in wealth is more than it would cost to send a stimulus check of $3,000 to every one of the roughly 330 million people in America.
The U.S. added 37 billionaires during this period, increasing from 614 to 651. During this time the economy cratered: 67 million people lost their jobs, 14.9 million fell ill with the virus and more than 284,000 died from COVID-19.
The total wealth of U.S. billionaires grew from $240 billion in 1990 (adjusted for inflation) to $2.95 trillion in March 2020.
U.S. billionaires’ total wealth in March 2020 was 12 times more than their total wealth in 1990.
While billionaires’ total wealth fell by 6% (-$98 billion) from 2000 to 2010 as a result of the Great Recession, it shot up by 85% ($1.36 trillion) from 2010 to March 2020.
The number of U.S. billionaires grew more than nine fold between 1990 and March 2020 -- leaping from 66 to 614.
The combined wealth of the top three billionaires grew more than 11 times over that same period -- jumping from $23.8 billion (adjusted for inflation) in 1990 to $279 billion today.
In December 2020, U.S. billionaires had nearly twice as much combined wealth than the bottom half of Americans -- $4 trillion vs. $2.36 trillion.
Even in the midst of a pandemic recession that’s rocked financial markets, just 651 billionaires have more wealth than the bottom half of Americans -- at least 165 million people in 61 million households.
From 2010 to March 2020, more U.S. billionaires derived their wealth from finance and investments than any other industry. The financial sector boasted 104 billionaires in 2010 -- ten years later the number had grown to 160.
The technology industry produced the greatest growth in billionaires over the decade, more than doubling from 42 to 103.
In March 2020, there were more than seven male billionaires for every female billionaire.
The gender disparity among billionaires shows that the economic inequality found between men and women up and down the economic ladder in the U.S persists even at the very top.