Top 10 Richest Families in the World

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When your family’s fortune is more than many countries’ gross domestic products, there stands a chance it is among the richest families in the world.

Most of the world’s wealthiest families got that way because of the success of a company started decades ago by a family member. Today, whether family members remain involved in the company or simply enjoy the fruits of previous generations’ labor, the one thing they all have in common is that they’re not just millionaires — they’re billionaires, many times over.

See: What To Do If You Owe Back Taxes to the IRS

The 10 Richest Families in the World

So, who is the wealthiest family in the world? The title currently goes to the Walton family with a net worth of $248.5 billion. Amassing more than just fame, these names have produced great fortunes. Keep reading to find out what other families made the list of the top 10 richest families in the world.

1. Walton Family

Company: Walmart

Net Worth: $248.5 billion

Sam Walton and the Walton family know their way around some retail revenue. Their namesake, mega-retailer Walmart, has an estimated global revenue of $611.3 billion. As the family owns nearly half of the company, they should be quite comfortable for generations to come.

2. Mars Family

Company: Mars

Net Worth: $160 billion

The Mars family got its start in 1902 by selling molasses candy. Now better known for M&Ms than even its Mars bar, the company has diversified its assets into areas such as pet care. Even after four generations, the company is still being run by quite a few members of the Mars family.

3. Koch Family

Company: Koch Industries

Net Worth: $128.8 billion

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It is said there is money in oil, and if the Koch family is any indicator, this holds to be true. Not all families get along, and after fighting in the 1980s, the four brothers who owned the inherited oil firm whittled down to two brothers who ran the show. Charles Koch is now the only brother remaining in the business, and it is estimated that Koch Industries generates an annual revenue of over $125 billion.

4. Al Saud Family

Company: Saudi royal family

Net Worth: $105 billion

The House of Saud — though technically not a company — correlates to the Saudi royal family, which is a nearly century-old monarchy. Due to this fact, the family’s exact wealth is harder to estimate. Ultimately, the wealth stems from the nation’s extensive oil reserves and payouts from the Royal Diwan. However, the family also deals with government contracts and land deals.

5. Hermes Family

Company: Hermes

Net Worth: $94.6 billion

Most people just keep money in handbags, but the family behind the French fashion house made some of their fortune from making and selling them. Birkin handbags, as well as scarves, ties and other designer apparel, can set customers back thousands of dollars.

6. Ambani Family

Company: Reliance Industries

Net Worth: $89.5 billion

The sons of Dhirubhai Ambani inherited their father’s fortune, after which Reliance Industries placed son Mukesh Ambani as the head of the company. This Mumbai-based conglomerate is the world’s largest oil refining complex. Son Anil Ambani runs telecommunications and asset management.

7. Wertheimer Family

Company: Chanel

Net Worth: $65.6 billion

The beloved and esteemed fashion house was founded when the Wertheimer family funded the designs of Coco Chanel in the 1920s. Since then, the company has maintained such bestselling staples as the No. 5 perfume and the famous little black dress.

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8. Cargill, MacMillan Family

Company: Cargill

Net Worth: $65.2 billion

What started as a grain storage warehouse is now one of the largest agricultural companies in the world. Cargill also has an estimated annual revenue of $177 billion. The two names derive from descendants of the founder William W. Cargill and his son-in-law John H. MacMillan. These descendants still run the company to this day.

9. Thomson Family

Company: Thomson Reuters

Net Worth: $56.8 billion

Not only is the Thomson family one of the richest families in the world, but it holds the status of the richest family in Canada. The family made its money in media, starting with radio, and now owns a two-thirds stake in Thomson Reuters, which is a data and information provider that serves the legal, tax and accounting, and news/media industries.

10. Hoffman, Oeri Family

Company: Roche

Net Worth: $45.1 billion

There can be big money in pharmaceuticals, which is inherent when you look at the fortune amassed by drug maker Roche Holdings. It was founded in 1896 by Fritz Hoffman-La Roche and makes much of its revenue today by producing oncology drugs. Today, family descendants still control 9% of the company.

How Generational Wealth Builds Dynasties

The staggering wealth enjoyed by the world’s richest families doesn’t happen by accident. In fact, research from the Institute for Policy Studies found that dynasties like the Mars family “hoard” their wealth across generations and engage in habits that grow their wealth exponentially, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists reported. For example, they might use their money and power to influence public policy to their advantage, sequester wealth within family offices and create trusts to transfer wealth without incurring gift and estate tax.

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A case in point: One type of trust, known as a dynasty trust, shelters holdings against generations’ and generations’ worth of estate tax because the state laws that govern them no longer require the grantor to designate specific heirs or limit how long the trust may continue.

Final Take To GO

It may be hard to imagine this kind of wealth — it is the kind of wealth that lasts generations and builds on itself. These families can no longer be thought of as just families, but rather as dynasties, some of which have lasted centuries and likely will continue to endure into the future. With these last names, family members are carrying on more than just a legacy but also deep generational wealth. 

FAQ

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about the richest families in the world.
  • Who is the richest family in the world?
    • The title of the richest family in the world currently goes to the Walton family with a net worth of $248.5 billion.
  • Who is the richest American family?
    • The richest family in the United States is currently the Walton family. They are worth $248.5 billion. The family still owns nearly half of their namesake company, Walmart.
  • Who are the five richest families in the world?
    • The top five richest families in the world currently rank as follows:
      • Walton family: $248.5 billion estimated wealth
      • Mars family:  $160 billion estimated wealth
      • Koch family: $128.8 billion estimated wealth
      • Al Saud family: $105 billion estimated wealth
      • Hermes family: $94.6 billion estimated wealth
  • Who is the richest family in the world of all time?
    • Though dollar for dollar the Rothschild family is considered to be the richest family in modern history by some, due to the dilution of wealth generationally across the entire family, they no longer rank in the current top 10 richest families in the world. The current standings are as follows:
      • Walton family
      • Mars family
      • Koch family
      • Al Saud family
      • Hermes family
      • Ambani family
      • Wertheimer family
      • Cargill, MacMillan family
      • Thomson family
      • Hoffman, Oeri family
  • Are the Rothschilds the richest family in the world?
    • Though it is estimated that the Rothschild family once had net worth estimations anywhere between $500 billion to $1 trillion, it no longer exists as one of the wealthiest family units due to the dilution of wealth across the whole family as well as the dissolution of common business enterprises.
    • The Rothschild family, arguably America's most elite, possessed the largest private fortune in the world during the 19th century. The family's wealth declined over the 20th century and was divided among many descendants, of whom only a few remain billionaires individually.
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Daria Uhlig and Cynthia Measom contributed to the reporting for this article.

Data is accurate as of Aug. 7, 2023, and is subject to change.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

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