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At $72B, Bill Gates is richest American for 20th straight year

And as usual, Forbes' latest list of the wealthiest 400 Americans includes a tech industry who's who, from Ellison to Zuckerberg to Musk.

Zack Whittaker Writer-editor
Zack Whittaker is a former security editor for CNET's sister site ZDNet.
Zack Whittaker
2 min read
Bill Gates
Oh, Bill, you'll have to open your arms wider than that to hold all your money. CBS

It's hard to think of a year in which Bill Gates wasn't at the top of the Fortune 400 list, considered as the definitive annual list of America's richest.

And so it goes: the Microsoft co-founder continues to be the wealthiest American for the 20th year in a row, according to the list, thanks to his total net worth of $72 billion, up $6 billion from 2012.

In second place comes Warren Buffett with $58.5 billion, up $12.5 billion from 2012. Despite the 25 percent increase in personal wealth year over year, it's still a notable distance away from Gates, who remains a major shareholder in the company he co-founded.

Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison is worth a massive $41 billion, remaining flat year over year, and pegs in at third place. 

It's little surprise that the technology industry is rated as the second-largest sector in which to see billionaires. Almost 50 names on the list are considered in the technology industry, taking a slice of 12 percent of the overall wealth pie.

Amazon's Jeff Bezos is ranked in 12th place with $27.2 billion, and just behind him are Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at 13th and 14th place respectively, worth a combined $49.3 billion. 

Mark Zuckerberg, who ranked in at 20th place, becomes one of the youngest billionaires in the list -- beaten only by Dustin Moskovitz, who is only a few days younger than Zuckerberg. The social networking giant's founder has an estimated wealth of $19 billion, thanks to Facebook's rebound on the stock market after an initially dismal year.

Current Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer ranks in at No. 21, up two places on the same list last year, who is now worth an estimated $18 billion. Ballmer recently announced his retirement from the software company, and a replacement will be sought in the next year.

Carl Icahn, who failed to acquire computer maker Dell as part of the company's privatization wranglings, is back in the top 20 list for the first time since 2008. Dell's chief executive, Michael Dell, is ranked in at 25th place with $15.9 billion. 

Meanwhile, everyone's favorite genius-turned-entrepreneur Elon Musk, who founded Tesla Motors, is now ranked in at 61st in the table, with a total personal wealth of $6.7 billion.

According to Forbes, the combined wealth of America's richest is worth about $2.02 trillion, or roughly equivalent to the total gross domestic product (GDP) of Russia.

This story originally appeared at ZDNet under the headline "Bill Gates retains richest American title; tech industry continues to fuel wealth."