Eleven Michiganians and their families are among Forbes’ 2014 ranking of the 400 richest people in America.
The richest, at a combined $8 billion, are brothers Doug and Hank Meijer of the retail and grocery store chain. They are followed, at $6 billion, by Amway founder Richard DeVos. The Meijers are 55th richest in America, according to Forbes.
Those three are followed by Dan Gilbert ($4.2 billion), whose interests include more than three dozen downtown Detroit buildings, Quicken Loans, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit’s Greektown Casino; Mike and Marian Ilitch and their family, whose sports, pizza and entertainment empire Forbes says is worth $4 billion; Rhonda Stryker ($3.4 billion) whose family owns a west Michigan medical equipment company; real estate magnate Alfred Taubman ($2.9 billion); John Brown ($1.8 billion) and Jon Stryker ($1.8 billion), of the Stryker medical equipment company; and Detroit Ambassador Bridge owner and entrepreneur Matty Moroun ($1.7 billion) and his family.
Collectively, America’s richest got richer over the past year: The combined wealth of the Forbes 400 for 2014 is $2.29 trillion, up from $2.02 trillion in 2013 and the highest ever, partly due to the strength of the U.S. stock market.
The average net worth of a Forbes 400 member is $5.7 billion, the highest to date, up from $5 billion last year.
Bill Gates retains the top spot on The Forbes 400 for the 21st consecutive year, at $81 billion, up $9 billion from 2013. Investment guru Warren Buffett was second at $67 billion, up $8.5 billion from last year.
Twenty-seven newcomers made it into the ranks, including Jan Koum (62nd) of WhatsApp at $7.6 billion; Russ Weiner (249th) of Rockstar Energy at $2.5 billion, Travis Kalanick (190th) of Uber Technologies at $3 billion, and David Walentas (368th), a real estate developer who made his fortune by rebuilding the Dumbo area in Brooklyn, New York, at $1.7 billion. The biggest gainer is Mark Zuckerberg (11th), whose net worth grew $15 billion since last year; he is currently worth $34 billion.
Forbes said 276 members of the list are self-made billionaires; 58 inherited their wealth, and 66 inherited at least a portion but are still increasing it.