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The Rich Got Richer During COVID-19. Here’s How American Billionaires Performed



The Rich Got Richer During COVID-19. Here’s How American Billionaires Performed

The Briefing

  • In year defined by a global pandemic, many of the wealthiest people in the U.S. saw their wealth grow substantially
  • Since the market bottom in March 2020, the billionaires on this list grew their wealth by 57% on average
  • Elon Musk had the highest net worth increase at $128.9 billion

How American Billionaire Wealth Did During COVID-19

We’ve all been affected by the pandemic-induced mayhem of 2020. But when it comes to finances, some have fared far better than others.

While job loss persists for Americans making less than $20 an hour, the rich have gotten richer. More specifically, the most wealthy American billionaires have seen their net worth bounce back dramatically, thanks to strong stock market performance.

Here’s a look at who’s gotten richer since the market bottom in March 2020, and just how much their net worth has increased since then:

Billionaire Net Worth Growth in 2020

Between March’s market bottom and December 2020, the billionaires included on this list grew their wealth by 57% on average. Interestingly, that’s about 10 percentage points higher than the overall growth of the S&P 500 index during the same time period.

Name Main Source Wealth Growth
(Mar 18–Dec 21, 2020)
Net worth % Growth
(Mar 18– Dec 21, 2020)
Jeff Bezos Amazon $73.7 B 65%
Elon Musk Tesla, SpaceX $128.9 B 524%
Bill Gates Microsoft $ 22.1 B 23%
Mark Zuckerberg Facebook $46.8 B 86%
Warren Buffett Berkshire Hathaway $17.5 B 26%
Larry Ellison Oracle $29.5 B 50%
Larry Page Google $25.4 B 50%
Sergey Brin Google $25.0 B 51%
Steve Ballmer Microsoft $21.4 B 41%
Alice Walton Walmart $13.7 B 25%
Jim Walton Walmart $13.3 B 24%
Rob Walton Walmart $13.5 B 25%
MacKenzie Scott Amazon $20.5 B 57%
Michael Bloomberg Bloomberg LP $6.9 B 14%
Phil Knight Nike $22.1 B 75%
Total Average $480.3 B 57%

Elon Musk saw the highest increase during this period, with a $129 billion boost in net worth—that’s a whopping 523% in gains.

This makes sense considering the year Musk has had. Tesla’s market value has skyrocketed throughout 2020, and SpaceX’s long term valuation doubled after making some monumental strides in the private space industry.

Jeff Bezos saw the second highest growth in net worth with a $74 billion increase. This isn’t surprising, given that Amazon’s stock price has climbed 69% since the beginning of 2020.

But Amazon hasn’t been the only company to benefit from the accelerated e-commerce market—other retailers, like Nike, have also seen a significant boost in online sales this year as well.

Billionaire Wealth in General is Up

It’s not just the billionaires on this list that have increased their wealth. In fact, during the pandemic, billionaire wealth on average has increased 27% worldwide. Growth has been exceptionally strong in tech and healthcare.

Will things level out post-pandemic, or will the wealth gap continue to grow?

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