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Washington is among the top ten states with the most billionaires in the U.S., Forbes says

By Rosemary Montalvo, The News Tribune
Published: May 20, 2024, 6:02am

The U.S. is home to over 700 billionaires, but have you ever wondered which state is home to the most billionaires?

Forbes recently released their Where The Forbes 400 Live list which ranks the top 10 states that are home to the wealthiest people in the U.S.

According to the list, more than half of the 400 richest people in the U.S. live in one of four states, but there is one state that has more wealth per Forbes 400 member: Washington.

Washington is home to eight billionaires including three of nine Americans who are worth more than $100 billion, according to Forbes.

Michigan, Nevada and Washington are all tied on Forbes list of states with the most billionaires with each state having eight.

These are the Top 10 states that are home to the most members of the Forbes 400:

  1. California
  2. New York
  3. Florida
  4. Texas
  5. Illinois
  6. (tie) — Pennsylvania
  7. (tie) — Georgia
  8. (tie) — Washington
  9. (tie) — Nevada
  10. (tie) — Michigan

Each of the billionaires who call Washington home are worth an average of $54 billion each. But who are they?

These billionaires call Washington home

The following eight billionaires are part of the Forbes 400 and call Washington home.

  • Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos made his way into the billionaire club after starting e-commerce giant Amazon in 1994 in his garage in Seattle.

Although his primary residence is in Miami, Florida, Washington is his home away from home. Bezos owns property in Medina, an affluent suburb just east of Seattle that was ranked among the most envied suburbs in the country last year.

Bezos has gone on to found aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services company Blue Origin and owns The Washington Post. Bezos was ranked No. 2 on the Forbes 400 list in 2023 and No.3 on Forbes 2024 World’s Billionaire List. As of May 15, 2024, his worth is $201.5 billion, according to Forbes.

  • Bill Gates

Bill Gates is best known for co-founding the software giant Microsoft in 1975 and for his charitable efforts through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to which he has donated over $59 billion, according to Forbes.

The Seattle native owns two homes in Medina, a 2,400-square-foot home and a 66,000-square-foot custom built mansion nicknamed “Xanadu 2.0.” that sits overlooking Lake Washington.

According to Realtor.com, his smaller home made up of four bedrooms and three baths hit the market last month for $4.9 million.

Since making his fortune he has become the largest shareholder of waste disposal firm Republic Services and tractor maker Deere & Co., according to Forbes.

Gates was ranked No. 6 on the Forbes 400 list and No. 7 on the Forbes 2024 World’s Billionaire list. As of May 15, 2024, Gates is worth $131.2 billion, according to Forbes.

  • Steve Ballmer

Steve Ballmer is the former CEO of Microsoft who led the company for 14 years from 2000 to 2014 after joining the company as an employee in 1980, according to Forbes.

Ballmer, who is originally from Detroit, Michigan, owns a $43 million mansion in Hunts Point, which is located about two miles north of Medina and east of Seattle.

After retiring from Microsoft in 2014, Ballmer purchased the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers which is valued at $4.65 billion, according to Forbes. He also recognized as a philanthropist and has given away nearly $3.5 billion to donor-advised funds.

Ballmer was ranked No. 9 on the Forbes 400 list and is currently worth $121.9 billion.

  • MacKenzie Scott

MacKenzie Scott is a philanthropist and author who was formerly married to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. According to Forbes, Scott received a 4% stake in Amazon as part of her divorce from Bezos.

Scott, who is originally from San Francisco, currently resides in Seattle, according to Forbes.

After her divorce, Scott signed the Giving Pledge in which she promised to give away at least half of her wealth over the course of her lifetime. This past March, Scott donated $640 million to different organizations including 10 Washington organizations.

Scott was ranked No. 14 on the Forbes 400 list and No. 13 on Forbes’ list of Powerful Women. Scott is currently worth $34.2 billion.

  • Melinda French Gates

Melinda French Gates is one of the most well-known philanthropists who was formerly married to Bill Gates.

French Gates received at least $5 billion worth of stock in various companies and an additional $5 billion on other assets, according to Forbes.

According to Business Insider, French Gates purchased a $1.2 million home in the North Broadway neighborhood in Seattle just a few weeks before she and Gates filed for divorce in 2021.

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French Gates and Gates founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, which they continued to co-chair after their divorce. On Monday, May 13, French Gates announced that would resign as the co-chair of the foundation.

French Gates was ranked No.188 in Forbes’ list of Billionaires and No.10 in Forbes’ list of Powerful Women.

  • Charles Simonyi

Charles Simonyi is a software architect who was an early employee of Microsoft and the person that built the initial versions of Microsoft Word.

According to Forbes, after leaving Microsoft in 2002, he founded Intentional Software which is a software company that develops platforms for productivity apps. Microsoft purchased Intentional Software in April 2017 which brought Simonyi back to the tech giant based in Redmond.

Simonyi is another tech billionaire that calls Medina home. According to Curbed Seattle, a real estate and urban design website, Simonyi owns a modern house nicknamed “Villa Simonyi” or “The Windows 2000 House”.

Simonyi, who is currently worth $7.5 billion, was ranked No.164 on the Forbes 400 list and No. 364 on Forbes list of billionaires.

  • Gabe Newell

Gabe Newell co-founded and has led Valve Corporation, a video game developer, since 1998. Newell also got his start in tech when he joined Microsoft and helped build the first versions of Windows.

Newell also led to the development of Steam, Valve’s digital distribution service, which continues to play a big role in PC game sales.

According to Forbes, Newell is estimated to own “at least one quarter of the company, which operates out of Bellevue, Washington.”

As for Newell, he owns a home in Seattle.

Newell is currently worth $4.3 billion and was ranked No. 267 on the Forbes 400 list and No. 734 on Forbes’ list of billionaires.

  • Howard Schultz

Howard Schultz is the man behind Starbucks’ worldwide success, so its only right that he calls Seattle home.

According to Forbes, Schultz was able to expand the coffee company from 11 stores to more than 35,000 stores worldwide after taking charge of the company in the 1980s.

Schultz served three stints as CEO before stepping down as CEO of the company in 2023.

He also has a foundation named the Schultz Family Foundation which focuses on investing in “training and hiring veterans and youths” as well as “helping veterans ensure a smooth transition back into civilian life,” according to Forbes.

Schultz is currently worth $3.1 billion and was ranked No. 356 on the Forbes 400 list and No. 1,062 on Forbes’ billionaire list.

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