Story at a glance

  • U.S. billionaires’ wealth soared by 70 percent during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The nation’s richest collectively accrued $2.1 trillion in a little more than a year.
  • The number of billionaires in the U.S. grew from 614 to 745 over the same period.

U.S. billionaires’ wealth rose by 70 percent during the coronavirus pandemic with the nation’s richest collectively accruing $2.1 trillion in a little more than a year, according to a report released Monday. 

Forbes data analyzed by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) and the Institute for Policy Studies Program on Inequality (IPS) shows the increase from $3 trillion from March 18, 2020, to Oct. 15, 2021. 

Meanwhile, data shows the number of billionaires in the U.S. grew from 614 to 745 over the same period.

The largest financial gains were made, according to the analysis, by Tesla CEO Elon Musk and former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Musk's net worth skyrocketed around 751 percent — $184 billion — while Bezos's net worth moved up by more than 70 percent from $113 billion to $192.2 billion.  

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A ProPublica investigation published in June found that more than two dozen of the wealthiest Americans paid a “true tax rate” of under 4 percent between 2014 and 2018. 

ProPublica’s so-called true tax rate compared federal income taxes paid by the wealthiest Americans to how much their net worth increased over the same time frame on the Forbes rich list. The richest paid a total of $13.6 billion over the period. The median American household paid 14 percent in federal taxes — the maximum is 37 percent.

The outlet, which did not accuse America’s wealthiest of any wrongdoing or illegality, determined that the 25 richest people in the United States, whose collective net worth rose by $400 billion over the five-year period, paid a rate of 3.4 percent. 


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Published on Oct 18, 2021