General Question

silentwanderer's avatar

Who are the real wealthiest families of the world?

Asked by silentwanderer (60points) November 25th, 2011

The Forbes list always seems to be fairly off, listing mostly publicly known assets from an American perspective. Europe has much more “old money.” What families are fairly known to probably be among the wealthiest in the world (other than the commonly named branches of the House of Rothschild). Surely various aristocratic families have accrued interest over centuries, and possibly even have their own gold reserves? It is also rumored certain Russian mafia or industrialists have become among the wealthiest in the world, as well as Arab oil families. Any information?

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16 Answers

CaptainHarley's avatar

Rothschild, Rockefeller, Morgan

marinelife's avatar

There are not a lot of hidden billionaires or aristocrats with gold reserves. While the list was quite different 70 years ago, Forbes is a good source for today.

The Walton family (descendants of Sam Walton, founder of WalMart) $93 billion.

Here are the top 10 according to Forbes:
No. 1: Carlos Slim HelĂș & family
$74 billion | Telecom | Mexico

No. 2: Bill Gates
$56 billion | Microsoft | U.S.

No. 3: Warren Buffett
$50 billion | Berkshire Hathaway| U.S.

No. 4: Bernard Arnault
$41 billion | LVMH | France

No. 5: Larry Ellison
$39.5 billion | Oracle | U.S.

No. 6: Lakshmi Mittal
$31.1 billion | Steel | India

No. 7: Amancio Ortega
$31 billion | Zara | Spain

No. 8: Eike Batista
$30 billion | Mining, Oil | Brazil

No. 9: Mukesh Ambani
$27 billion | Petrochemicals | India

No. 10: Christy Walton & family
$26.5 billion | Wal-Mart | U.S.

boffin's avatar

…the real wealthiest families…

Those that live within their means. Are content with what they have, and who they are.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Learning to not want is one of the most difficult things some people face.

Tizoxic's avatar

Rockefellers and of course, the Bush’s.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Crap. The Bushes don’t even make the top 100!

lillycoyote's avatar

Here’s an article from Forbes on America’s wealthiest families and a slide show. There’s still some old money there, like the du Ponts, they come in at number 8, ahead of the Rockefellers and the Mellons.

The Koch are number 2, behind the Waltons. The information is from 2009 and those lists are always changing but information should still be reasonably accurate.

CaptainHarley's avatar

[ skeptical look ]

Garebo's avatar

Pelosi, and her husband getting valuable inside information, probably gets her close. I like your question because no doubt there is serious money behind the scenes, or what is not listed on Forbes. The old money pulls the strings, especially the few European elitists that have hoarded, and accrued assets and money for centuries,

ETpro's avatar

The Saudi Royal Family and the Rothschilds are the two wealthiest families in the world. Each has a net worth approaching $1 trillion. They make our crop of billionaires look like pikers.

anartist's avatar

I thought the Germans murdered many members of the Rothschild family during WWII in the death camps because they were Jewish and confiscated their money. Didn’t that change things?

ETpro's avatar

@anartist Enough survived to remain the wealthiest family on Earth till the Saudi Royal Family began giving them a serious run for the money. While this is definitely a biased site, it’s nonetheless interesting.

bkcunningham's avatar

I thought Elisabeth Pelletier de Chambure was the only member of the Rothschild clan to be killed during the holocaust.

lillycoyote's avatar

@ETpro A little biased? That site is one of the reasons I think it would be very difficult to get an accurate assessment of the wealth of the Rothschilds, because there a so many “New World Order” and conspiracy theories surrounding them.

Also, in general, it is extremely difficult to accurately assess the wealth of any family. Who do you decide constitutes a member of the family? It’s pretty easy with people like the Waltons and Koch brothers because their money is relatively new and there aren’t that many of them. When you start talking about people like the Rockefellers, du Ponts, and Rothschilds it’s harder because the longer the family has had the money, the more of them there are, the more the wealth becomes dispersed and, again, who do you include in terms of how you define the “family.”

bkcunningham's avatar

The Rothschilds are supposedly part of the Illuminati.

ETpro's avatar

@lillycoyote Yeah, it’s a conspiracy theory paradise. I know. Here’s a bit more middle-of-the-road screed.

We are talking about trillions of dollars. THere is little risk of tilting the scale very far by being reasonably generous about who counts as a family member. Those who don’t really quaalify but get swept up in the wide net might add an extra million or two. But that’s number out to the right of the decomal point. :-)

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