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Last Updated: Friday, 19 September, 2003, 07:37 GMT 08:37 UK
America's richest get richer
Bill Gates
Bill Gates: Still number one in the rich list

America's richest tycoons increased their personal wealth over the past 12 months, partly reversing a two-year decline, according to Forbes magazine's annual snapshot of America's super-wealthy.

The total net worth of the 400 wealthiest people in the US rose by 10% over the year to $955bn (573bn).

Their wallets were fattened by renewed gains in internet and technology stocks, after the huge losses of the 2000 dotcom crash, and subsequent doldrums for IT stocks, according to Forbes.

Microsoft chief Bill Gates remains the US' richest tycoon, worth $46bn, $3bn more than a year ago.

Tech winners

Nor was there any change in the second and third positions.

Bill Gates: $46bn
Warren Buffett: $36bn
Paul Allen: $22bn
Walton heirs: $20.5bn each
Larry Ellison: $18bn
Michael Dell: $13bn
Steve Ballmer: $12.2bn
Cox heirs: $11bn each
John Kluge: $10.5bn
Mars heirs: $10.4bn each
Sumner Redstone: $9.7bn
source: Forbes
For the second year in a row, they went to investment guru Warren Buffet, with $36bn, and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who is worth $22bn.

The main winners came from the technology sector - with Larry Ellison of Oracle, Michael Dell of Dell Computers, and Steve Ballmer of Microsoft all seeing their wealth increase.

Amazon.com chief Jeff Bezos' fortune jumped by $3.1bn to $5bn in line with a sharp increase in his company's share price.

Yahoo co-founder David Filo also made impressive gains, with his personal fortune rising threefold to $1.6bn.

Other winners came from the media sector, with the two daughters of the owner of cable operator Cox Communications, radio and TV owner John Kluge of Metromedia, and Sumner Redstone of Viacom all worth around $10bn each.

The five children of Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, are worth $20.5bn each - making that family collectively the richest on the list.

Californian dreams

Mr Bezos and Mr Filo both shot up the league table, occupying the 32nd and 162nd spots respectively.

The rich-list also showed that wealth is continuing to move west: California now has twice as many top tycoons as New York.

California had 95 of the 400 richest people, compared to 47 for New York.

When Forbes launched the list 21 years ago, 81 of the top 400 came from New York and just 56 from California.

"There's been an enormous shift in the geographic distribution of wealth," said Forbes senior editor Peter Newcombe.

The year's losers included Gary Winnick, who founded the now bankrupt telecoms firm Global Crossing.

Global Crossing collapsed under $12.4bn of debt; Mr Winnick's name has dropped off the Fortune 400 list.

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