Americas elite live vastly different lives than the rest of us. Those at the top have incomes that are orders of magnitude higher than the average person. Even when we compare their individual wealth with that of households in the states in which they live, theres no comparison.
So how did they get to where they are? Are they all self-made entrepreneurs, or were they just lucky? Do they hoard all that wealth, or do they give back?
How They Got Rich
According to data from Forbes and Celebrity Net Worth, the wealthiest members of each state did not achieve their fortunes in the same way. They are:
Earning vs. Inheriting Wealth
Of the wealthiest in each state, roughly half are founders of companies. Another major path to wealth is inheritance, with the Waltons being the most striking example.
Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton blessed his family, making several members the wealthiest in their states:
- Jim Walton in Arkansas
- Alice Walton in Texas
- Christy Walton in Wyoming
Academics May Not Be as Important as We Think
From an undergraduate education to the coveted Ph.D., most members of the list have some sort of college degree. But years spent studying on campus isnt necessarily a prerequisite to striking it rich. Bill Gates, a college dropout, is the wealthiest of them all.
On the other side of the academic spectrum, Delawares Robert Gore holds a Ph.D. but ranks second to last in terms of his net worth.
The Wealth Gap
No matter the source of wealth, or home state, theres no denying the extreme gap between the mega wealthy and the average American.
Our final visual presents an interactive map which helps to illuminate the huge dichotomy between the mega-wealthy and the average wealth of regions around the country.