Posted on October 19, 2017
I write about wealth and how it plays out in the world. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
Alice Walton, heiress to the Wal-Mart Stores Inc fortune, is the richest woman in America. (AP Photo/April L. Brown)
They may not be growing in number, but the women on Forbes’ new list of America’s 400 richest people have grown significantly wealthier.
The 50 women on the 2017 Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans are worth a combined $305 billion — nearly 17% more than a year ago, when there were 51 women on the list. (An additional five women who built and share fortunes with their husband also made the list.) Of the 50 women, eight have fortunes that are self-made. The rest inherited their wealth. The surge in their wealth echoes the overall trend in The Forbes 400 this year: most people on the list have higher net worths, thanks to a stock market that’s just keeps rising.
The women on The Forbes 400 are also a well-educated bunch. Forbes took a closer look at the educational history of the 400 members and found some surprising data. Eighty percent of the women on the list (including those who are listed with their husbands) received a bachelor’s degree, compared to 84% of the Forbes 400 as a whole and 33% of American adults. (There are four women for whom education data was not available.)