The world’s 10 wealthiest families are spread across four home countries. They include royalty, the pioneers of international finance, generations of entrepreneurs and even a candy maker. One out of 10 is headed by a woman. Two found wealth through politics and privileged access to resources, and one employs more than 2 million people. Each family is worth at least $34 billion, but the top two may each be worth more than $1 trillion. All estimated net worth figures were calculated in March 2016.
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The Rothschild Family, Germany
Estimated Net Worth: $350 billion – $2 trillion
The Rothschild name has been associated with international banking since at least the late 1700s. Mayer Rothschild, the original patriarch, was a favored assistant and finance manager of the German royal family. He leveraged his position in court to develop a banking business for the German aristocracy. When his five sons reached adulthood, they were stationed in Frankfurt, London, Naples, Paris and Vienna to manage local banking affairs. From there, a multi-century financial empireflourished.
Due to their relatively low profiles and private business activities, the Rothschilds have captured the imagination of financial historians and conspiracy theorists alike. It is difficult to track and verify their various holdings among so many descendants, but they are still fabulously wealthy. The family motto is: Concordia Integritas Industria, meaning “Harmony, Integrity, Industry.”
The House of Saud, Saudi Arabia
Estimated Net Worth: $1.4 trillion
The al-Saud family has ruled Saudi Arabia with absolute authority since the 1700s, though the modern government has been in place since 1932. As of 2016, the al-Saud family is headed by King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud. Not surprisingly, most of the al-Saud wealth comes from its control over Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves.
The Walton Family, US
Estimated Net Worth: $152 billion
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