The Richest Family in Every U.S. State
America’s richest families are taking the whole idea of "born with a silver spoon" to another level. These clans aren’t just rich. They're filthy stinking rich.
Many made their fortunes through excellent investments or by getting into an industry at the perfect time (i.e., oil and natural gas drilling in the 1960s and '70s). Others were big players in fashion, food production or healthcare. And in recent years, tech and the internet have created oodles of new money.
But while it was mostly one family member who created the initial wealth — some of whom started with a mere $250 loan and turned it into $5 billion — many heirs have taken their pieces of the pie and created even more riches. No matter what they’ve done with their money, there’s no doubt these families will be wealthy for quite a long time.
Alabama: Rane Family
Estimated worth: $1 billion
Bottom Line: Rane Family
When Jimmy Rane and his brother, Greg, took over their family’s yard treatment business in the 1970s, it was doing $22,000 a year in sales. Nowadays, Great Southern Wood Preserving generates $1 billion in annual revenue while featuring Jimmy in the company’s advertisements as the "Yella Fella."
Jimmy has also funded hundreds of scholarships over the years and spent massive amounts to revitalize his hometown of Abbeville.
Alaska: Gillam Family
Estimated worth: $700 million
Bottom Line: Gillam Family
Robert B. Gillam made his fortune as the president and CEO of McKinley Capital Management, an investment adviser that has made more than $7 billion in assets since the business started in 1990.
Before dying abruptly in late 2018, Gillam was best known for vehemently opposing a mining project that would’ve been close to his fishing lodge by pouring $30 million into the successful effort to quash it.
Now his son, Robert A. Gillam, runs the company as CEO and CIO.
Arizona: Shoen Family
Estimated worth: $8.5 billion
Bottom Line: Shoen Family
The Shoens’ wealth comes from their 40 percent ownership of U-Haul, which is based in Phoenix and pioneered the concept of moving your own belongings with a rented vehicle.
The company was founded by Leonard Shoen and Anna Mary Carty in 1945. They left their fortune and stake in the company to their children and grandchildren, who now run U-Haul.
Arkansas: Walton Family
Estimated worth: $163 billion
Bottom Line: Walton Family
There’s no family in the U.S. with more personal wealth than the Waltons, whose patriarch founded Walmart. The company’s 12,000 stores across the world generate $500 billion in annual revenue, which is the most of any major retailer in the world.
Today, nearly 50 percent of the company is controlled by the children of Sam and James Walton, the brothers who started the chain in 1962.
California: Zuckerberg Family
Estimated worth: $74 billion
Bottom Line: Zuckerberg Family
The wealthiest clan in the nation’s largest state is also one of the youngest families on this list. Priscilla and Mark Zuckerberg are firmly in their mid-30s and have two young children.
Their fortune came, of course, through the ingenuity of the Zuck and his revolutionary idea hatched in a Harvard dorm room called Facebook.
The Zuckerbergs have pledged the vast majority of their wealth to charitable causes.
Colorado: Anschutz Family
Estimated worth: $12.7 billion
Bottom Line: Anschutz Family
Philip Anschutz inherited an oil and railroad fortune from his father before creating even greater riches himself through a variety of endeavors, such as telecom and real estate.
Among Anschutz Entertainment Group's brands are the Los Angeles Kings hockey team, the Staples Center arena in downtown L.A. and the Coachella Music Festival.
He also owns a variety of other businesses in energy, railroads, newspapers and movies (theaters and production).
Connecticut: Sackler Family
Estimated worth: $13 billion
Bottom Line: Sackler Family
Brothers Raymond and Mortimer Sackler made billions off the medicine with their Purdue Pharma empire, which they left 100 percent ownership of to their respective families.
However, most of the wealth was amassed via the controversial opiate drug OxyContin, which was released in 1996 and is highly addictive. The Sacklers’ aggressive marketing of the drug is credited with starting the nation’s opioid crisis.
As a result, Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family have faced several ongoing legal battles, the most recent of which involved an $8.3 billion settlement that will help provide states and communities with the resources for people fighting addiction. Only time will tell how these cases will affect the individual family members.
Delaware: Gore Family
Estimated worth: $5.3 billion
Bottom Line: Gore Family
Not to be confused with former vice president Al Gore's family, Wilbert L. (Bill) and Genevieve (Vieve) Gore from Delaware are responsible for one of the greatest success stories in textiles, which was largely the result of dumb luck. Gore-Tex, the hugely popular waterproof fabric used in sports and medicine, was accidentally created in a lab in 1969.
The family nearly lost the patent rights to the material in the 1970s, but eventually prevailed in court and went on to make a fortune off Gore-Tex — which still generates more than $3 billion in annual revenue.
Florida: Peterffy Family
Estimated worth: $25.7 billion
Bottom Line: Peterffy Family
Thomas Peterffy, who was born in a war-ravaged Hungary in 1944 and immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, is a key figure in the development of electronic securities trading and one of the first people to buy a seat on the American Stock Exchange.
The family is known for its conservative politics and charitable work.
Georgia: Cox Family
Estimated worth: $33.6 billion
Bottom Line: Cox Family
Cox Enterprises was started in 1898 by James Cox in Dayton, Ohio, and today is a major global media conglomerate with popular brands such as AutoTrader, Kelley Blue Book, Cox Homelife and Gamut. It also owns newspapers and radio and TV properties.
Alexander C. Taylor, a fourth-generation family member, now runs the company, which is privately held and 99 percent owned by the Coxes.
Hawaii: Omidyar Family
Estimated worth: $10.6 billion
Bottom Line: Omidyar Family
The family owes their fortune to patriarch Pierre Omidyar, a French-Iranian immigrant who founded eBay and later bought and sold PayPal. He still has minority ownership stakes in both companies.
Today, the Omidyars are most known for their nonprofit work and journalist defense fund. Pierre is also a real estate developer in California and Mexico and founder of First Look Media, which operates The Intercept news site and Topic Studios.
Idaho: Simplot Family
Estimated worth: $6 billion
Bottom Line: Simplot Family
Idaho is most known for its potatoes, and the family that has most benefited from this subterranean vegetable is the Simplots, who started the J.R. Simplot Company in 1929. By World War II, it had become the nation’s largest shipper of fresh potatoes thanks to an innovative freezing method developed in the 1940s.
But what really changed the game for the Simplots was a handshake deal in 1967 with McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc to provide the fast-food chain with frozen French fries.
When J.R. Simplot died in 2008, his company supplied America with one-third of its French fries.
Illinois: Pritzker Family
Estimated worth: $33.5 billion
Bottom Line: Pritzker Family
The Pritzkers are one of the most recognizable families in the U.S. thanks to their philanthropic work. Their wealth comes largely from the founding and continued interest in the Hyatt hotels chain.
The family also owned the Marmon Group, a manufacturing and industrial services conglomerate that was sold to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway in 2015 for $4.5 billion.
The Pritzker Foundation doles out grants mostly for medical education, hospitals, religious welfare, cultural programs and Jewish temple support.
Indiana: Cook Family
Estimated worth: $8.2 billion
Bottom Line: Cook Family
William and Gayle Cook started their wildly successful medical equipment manufacturing company, Cook Group, in the spare room of their apartment in 1963.
It has since grown into a massive enterprise that generates $2 billion a year in revenue. The Cooks' son, Carl, took over the company in 2011 after his father died.
Iowa: Stine Family
Estimated worth: $3.2 billion
Bottom Line: Stine Family
Fascinated with seeds since childhood, Harry Stine made billions off licensing corn and soybean genetics to Monsanto, Syngenta and other multinational companies. Those deals generate more than $1 billion annually for the family.
Stine continues to experiment with plant genetics, hoping to create better yields and pesticide-resistant seeds. The family has also bequeathed a considerable amount of its fortune to Iowa universities and a senior nursing facility.
Kansas: Koch Family
Estimated worth: $103 billion
Bottom Line: Koch Family
The Koch family business started in the 1930s by patriarch Fred Koch by developing a new process for refining oil. Then, in the early 1980s, two of the four Koch brothers decided to cash out of the family business for some $800 million.
The other two brothers, David and Charles, then turned Koch Industries into one of the largest privately held companies in the U.S., with more than $100 billion in annual sales.
Besides their business interests, the brothers have been known for supporting ultra-conservative causes. David passed away in August 2019 at the age of 79.
Kentucky: Brown Family
Estimated worth: $12.3 billion
Bottom Line: Brown Family
The Brown-Forman Corp. produces one of the most recognizable alcohol brands in the world: Jack Daniel’s whiskey. That alone would make the family billionaires, but they also produce popular brands Finlandia vodka and Herradura tequila.
George Garvin Brown founded the company in 1870, and the Browns still own some 51 percent of it, with George Garvin Brown IV serving as board chair.
Louisiana: Benson Family
Estimated worth: $3 billion
Bottom Line: Benson Family
The Benson family fortune derives from Tom Benson’s ownership of the Saints football team and Pelicans basketball team, both located in New Orleans.
Before he died in 2018, his third wife, Gayle Benson, inherited the family estate, which led to a lawsuit from Tom’s daughter and grandchildren over control of the assets. They reached a confidential settlement in 2017, and Gayle now owns both teams.
Before their marriage, she was an interior designer.
Maine: Alfond Family
Estimated worth: $6.5 billion
Bottom Line: Alfond Family
The Alfonds' money came through the sale of Dexter Shoe Co. in 1993 to Berkshire Hathaway, which was one of Warren Buffett's only mistakes as a businessman — in fact, he’s called it the "worst deal I’ve made." The deal was worth $433 million in Berkshire stock, which is now worth billions since the Alfond family held onto it.
Patriarch Harold Alfond spent his later years writing huge checks to Maine universities and hospitals. Two of his children, Bill and Ted, own a minority stake in the Boston Red Sox baseball team.
Maryland: Lerner Family
Estimated worth: $5.1 billion
Bottom Line: Lerner Family
What started with a $250 loan in 1952 to start a real estate company has grown to a development enterprise consisting of 20 million square feet of commercial and retail space, hotels and apartments. In fact, Ted Lerner borrowed the money from his wife, making this a true family affair.
The family owns the Washington Nationals baseball team and donates to Children's National Hospital and George Washington University, both in Washington, D.C., along with Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Massachusetts: Johnson Family
Estimated worth: $31.6 billion
Bottom Line: Johnson Family
The Johnson family derives its wealth from a 49 percent stake in Fidelity, the second-largest mutual fund company in the world that manages almost $2 trillion in assets. The Boston firm was founded in 1946 by Edward C. Johnson II.
Granddaughter Abigail now serves as CEO, while Edward Johnson IV runs the family’s real estate company. Only four heirs share the family fortune.
Michigan: Meijer Family
Estimated worth: $7.2 billion
Bottom Line: Meijer Family
Midwesterners will certainly recognize the Meijer name, as the family operates more than 400 grocery stores throughout the region. Dutch immigrant Hendrick Meijer started the business during the Great Depression, and he and son Frederik are credited with driving the concept of the one-stop shopping experience in 1962.
Frederik’s sons, Hank and Doug, now run the company, which generates an estimated $15 billion in sales annually.
Minnesota: Cargill-MacMillan Family
Estimated worth: $42.3 billion
Bottom Line: Cargill-MacMillan Family
This family has more billionaires at 14 than any other family in the world, according to Forbes magazine. They own 88 percent of agribusiness conglomerate Cargill, which counts $108 billion in annual revenue by selling food, processing crops, trading commodities, sourcing ingredients and taking on financial risk management.
Cargill was originally a grain storage company founded in 1865. The family allows Cargill to keep 80 percent of its net income inside the company for reinvestment.
Mississippi: Duff Family
Estimated worth: $2.4 billion
Bottom Line: Duff Family
Duff Capital Investors, which generates more than $2.6 billion in revenue every year, was founded by brothers James and Thomas Duff in 2007.
The company’s largest investment is Southern Tire Mart, which the siblings inherited from their father. Over the years, they’ve acquired a trucking company, construction firm and energy provider.
Missouri: Busch Family
Estimated worth: $13.4 billion
Bottom Line: Busch Family
Budweiser was able to survive Prohibition to become the largest beer brand in the U.S., but it couldn’t fend off InBev’s takeover of Anheuser-Busch in 2008.
August Busch IV was CEO at the time of the sale, and the issue was that the family had sold an estimated 25 percent stake in the business over two decades and thus didn’t have the power to stop the $52 billion buyout.
Since the sale, family members have returned to the brewing world with much smaller brands such as William K. Busch Brewing that was founded in 2011.
Montana: Washington Family
Estimated worth: $5.9 billion
Bottom Line: Washington Family
From humble beginnings as a carpenter, Dennis Washington built a massive enterprise called Washington Companies that now owns a copper mine, two diamond mines and a regional railroad. And it all started with a $30,000 loan.
Dennis and his wife, Phyllis, started a family foundation with $840 million that has already given out $300 million to some 1,000 different causes. Dennis also invested in his son, Kyle’s, container ship business.
Nebraska: Buffett Family
Estimated worth: $85 billion
Bottom Line: Buffett Family
The "Oracle of Omaha" Warren Buffett is one of the most successful investors in history, creating Berkshire Hathaway that owns major brands such as Duracell, Dairy Queen and Geico.
Along with Microsoft founder Bill Gates, he created the Giving Pledge in 2010 that aims to persuade billionaires to donate at least half of their wealth to charity.
Buffett has pledged to give away 99 percent of his fortune.
Nevada: Adelson Family
Estimated worth: $42.8 billion
Bottom Line: Adelson Family
Thanks to the patriarch Sheldon Adelson’s 50 percent-plus stake in Las Vegas Sands — a casino empire that generates $14 billion in annual revenue — the family can gamble as much as it wants to and still be filthy rich.
Adelson, who died in 2021, was a big supporter of Jewish organizations like Birthright, which funds trips to Israel for young Jewish adults. He gave $410 million to the organization.
The family is also a major donor to Republican campaigns and candidates.
New Hampshire: Reimann-Ciardelli Family
Estimated worth: $1.1 billion
Bottom Line: Reimann-Ciardelli Family
Andrea Reimann-Ciardelli, a German who became a U.S. citizen, sold her 11 percent stake in her family’s Luxembourg-based investment firm JAB in 2003.
The company’s holdings include Peet's Coffee, Krispy Kreme and Panera Bread. The Reimann-Ciardelli family maintains an incredibly private life.
New Jersey: Dorrance Family
Estimated worth: $17.1 billion
Bottom Line: Dorrance Family
John T. Dorrance created the formula for Campbell’s original condensed soup in 1897 and then took over the company 17 years later. His descendants now enjoy incredible riches thanks to his invention.
It’s believed that at least 11 members of the family collectively own more than 50 percent of the food company, which counts more than $8 billion in annual revenue and also owns Prego, V8 and Pepperidge Farm.
Dorrance's billionaire grandchildren Mary Alice D. Malone and Bennett Dorrance, as well as great-grandson Archbold D. van Beuren, sit on the company's board.
New Mexico: Chase Family
Estimated worth: $700 million
Bottom Line: Chase Family
Mark C. Chase made the family fortune in oil and natural gas in the 1960s and '70s. He first worked on wells with his father and brother, but by 1979, had partnered with John Gray to found Marbob Energy to offer pumping services to well owners in New Mexico.
When they split, Chase started Mack Energy Corp. His sons and daughter-in-law are still involved with the business.
New York: Hearst Family
Estimated worth: $24.5 billion
Bottom Line: Hearst Family
The Hearst family is one of the largest publishers in the world thanks to patriarch media mogul William Randolph Hearst — who also happened to be the inspiration behind Charles Foster Kane in Orson Welles’ legendary film "Citizen Kane."
Hearst's dozens of living descendants share the family fortune, with William Randolph Hearst III serving as chairman of the Hearst Corp., which owns 46 newspapers, 340 magazines worldwide, and stakes in ESPN, Lifetime and A&E.
North Carolina: Goodnight Family
Estimated worth: $9.9 billion
Bottom Line: Goodnight Family
The Goodnights' wealth comes from analytics software firm SAS, which was cofounded in 1976 by James Goodnight to parse agricultural data.
He has led the company since the beginning, and its products are now used by more than 83,000 organizations worldwide. Annual revenue stands at more than $3.27 billion.
Along with SAS cofounder John Sall, the pair started private school Cary Academy and co-own a country club and hotel.
North Dakota: Tharaldson Family
Estimated worth: $900 million
Bottom Line: Tharaldson Family
Budget motels can create quite a fortune. Gary Tharaldson bought his first Super 8 in 1982 and continued to acquire properties and build hotels nationwide, amassing a portfolio of 350 properties.
According to Forbes magazine, he made $1.2 billion in 2006 by selling 130 hotels to Goldman Sachs. The money was then invested into commercial and residential land developments.
The family also owns an ethanol plant.
Ohio: Wexner Family
Estimated worth: $5.4 billion
Bottom Line: Wexner Family
L Brands was founded by Les Wexner in 1963 with a $5,000 loan, and now the global retail empire owns iconic labels Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works.
He bought Victoria’s Secret in 1982 when it was a failing chain in San Francisco and turned it into a $12 billion lingerie, soap and candle behemoth that operates more than 3,000 stores worldwide.
The family also donates hundreds of millions of dollars to Ohio institutions like the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University in Columbus.
Oklahoma: Hamm Family
Estimated worth: $19.5 billion
Bottom Line: Hamm Family
Harold Hamm was the first oil extractor to use horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, which today is known simply as "fracking." The process transformed the oil industry and is now extremely controversial.
It’s also responsible for the family’s vast wealth — Hamm’s Continental Resources produces 200,000 barrels a day using the method.
On the philanthropy side, Hamm established a diabetes research center in his name at the University of Oklahoma via a $30 million donation, as he suffers from the disease.
Oregon: Knight Family
Estimated worth: $30.7 billion
Bottom Line: Knight Family
For 52 years, Phil Knight helmed the shoe company he cofounded: Nike, one of the world’s most recognizable brands. It was originally called Blue Ribbon Sports and was conceived with the help of Knight’s college track coach Bill Bowerman at the University of Oregon.
Knight later donated almost $800 million to the school, along with a $500 million gift to Stanford University, where he received his master's in business. Nike has annual revenue of $36.4 billion and offices in 52 countries.
Pennsylvania: Mellon Family
Estimated worth: $12 billion
Bottom Line: Mellon Family
Irish immigrant Thomas Mellon created a large fortune before the 20th century and bequeathed it to his children in hopes that they would grow it, which is exactly what happened.
East Coast residents are no doubt familiar with the Mellon name, as it graces universities, medical centers and cultural institutions across the Northeast.
One family member created a bank. Another publishes the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. One was the longest-serving U.S. Treasury secretary. And another founded Gulf Oil.
Rhode Island: Nelson Family
Estimated worth: $1.8 billion
Bottom Line: Nelson Family
The Nelson family’s riches are thanks to Jonathan Nelson’s private equity firm, Providence Equity Partners, which he started in 1989. Its investments are mainly in media, communications, education and information, with 180 total investments.
One of its largest returns was the Ironman triathlon, which Providence sold for $900 million in 2015 at four times its initial investment.
South Carolina: Zucker Family
Estimated worth: $4 billion
Bottom Line: Zucker Family
Anita and Jerry Zucker built their family’s wealth through the chemical company, InterTech Group, which they founded in 1982. Anita serves as CEO, and Jerry passed away in 2008.
InterTech owns an aerospace engineering company and vast commercial real estate, and it’s annual revenue is pegged at $3 billion. The Zuckers are major donors to education and health causes.
South Dakota: Sanford Family
Estimated worth: $2.5 billion
Bottom Line: Sanford Family
For a family whose fortune comes from high-risk borrowers, they at least give a considerable amount of it to charitable causes.
T. Denny Sanford founded First Premier Bank to give out credit cards with low limits and high interest rates. The bank only has 12 branches, but it is one of the nation’s largest issuers of Visas and Mastercards.
And although Sanford has pledged to die broke, the bank is so successful that the family has doled out $1.6 billion to charities and still has billions more.
Tennessee: Frist Family
Estimated worth: $12.5 billion
Bottom Line: Frist Family
The Frists founded Hospital Corporation of America, which is the world’s largest operator of private healthcare facilities with 179 hospitals and 119 surgical centers throughout the U.S. and London.
The family is also known for its philanthropic efforts, and one member, Bill Frist, was a senator and senate majority leader from 2003 to 2007.
Texas: Duncan Family
Estimated worth: $26 billion
Bottom Line: Duncan Family
Dan Duncan grew up poor in rural Texas, but his four children are now extraordinarily wealthy thanks to their father’s oil and gas holdings.
Duncan founded Enterprise Products in 1968. By 2010, the year he died, the company had $34 billion in annual revenue.
The four kids inherited a $10 billion estate and have more than doubled it since 2010.
Utah: Miller Family
Estimated worth: $1.4 billion
Bottom Line: Miller Family
Larry and Gail Miller started with a single Toyota dealership that grew to 64 with $5.1 billion in sales. They also bought the Utah Jazz basketball team in 1986 for $22 million, and today, it’s worth $1.4 billion.
When Larry died in 2009, Gail inherited control of the estate and all its holdings. In 2017, she placed the Jazz in a family legacy trust, so her heirs won’t be able to sell or move the team.
Vermont: Abele Family
Estimated worth: $630 million
Bottom Line: Abele Family
John Abele cofounded the medical device company Boston Scientific in 1979. It’s best known for its Taxus Stent for opening clogged arteries and for making medical devices more affordable and accessible.
After retiring in 2005, the then-billionaire sold most of his stake in Boston Scientific and began donating his fortune to charitable causes. He is no longer a billionaire, but the family is hardly hurting for cash.
Virginia: Mars Family
Estimated worth: $89.7 billion
Bottom Line: Mars Family
The Mars family owns Mars Inc., which thanks to its $33 billion-plus in annual sales is one of the largest private companies in the world.
The company’s portfolio is vast — it counts Uncle Ben’s rice and pet food brands Pedigree and Whiskas among its holdings — but Mars is most famous for its candy products.
It invented M&Ms and the malt-flavored nougat that is the basis of several candy bars, including Milky Way and Snickers.
Washington: Bezos Family
Estimated worth: $162 billion
Bottom Line: Bezos Family
The founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos is the richest person in the world thanks to his 16 percent stake in the online commerce behemoth. In 2018 alone, the company recorded $230 billion in sales and $10 billion in net profit.
Bezos also owns the The Washington Post and an aerospace company called Blue Origin that’s trying to develop a rocket for commercial space travel.
West Virginia: Justice Family
Estimated worth: $1.9 billion
Bottom Line: Justice Family
The Justice family owns coal mines in five states and dozens of other companies, while patriarch Jim Justice is also the governor of West Virginia.
It’s a good thing the family is so wealthy since in recent years they’ve been hit with court orders and tax liens to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.
The state of Virginia also estimates that the family’s coal companies are on the hook for $200 million in reclamation liabilities.
Wisconsin: Johnson Family
Estimated worth: $30 billion
Bottom Line: Johnson Family
This Johnson family — not related to the Johnsons of Massachusetts, who also appear in this story — owe their riches to cleaning product manufacturer SC Johnson. The company produces Ziploc, Pledge and Glade products.
The family business started in the 1880s when S.C. Johnson developed a wax for parquet flooring, which he sold.
Today, it does $9.6 billion in annual sales.
Wyoming: Wyss Family
Estimated worth: $5.8 billion
Bottom Line: Wyss Family
The Wyss clan became billionaires in 2012 when patriarch Hansjoerg Wyss, a Swiss immigrant, sold his medical device manufacturer, Synthes, to Johnson & Johnson for $20.2 billion.
Wyss still has interests in several biotech companies, but he’s dedicating his later years to philanthropic efforts.
His charitable foundations have assets valued at more than $2 billion, and in a 2018 op-ed in The New York Times, he pledged to donate $1 billion over the next decade to conservation causes.