9:25 AM PDT, September 20, 2012
The rich got quite a bit richer this past year, according to this year's rankings of the 400 wealthiest Americans.
Forbes magazine released its annual list on Wednesday, and the combined net worth jumped 13 percent to $1.7 trillion in 2012, up from $1.5 trillion in 2011. The boost came thanks to the rising stock market and a rebound in real estate values - especially in cities like Los Angeles and New York.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates remained at the top of the list, as his net worth rose $7 billion to $66 billion. His pal Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, also saw his net worth climb by $7 billion, which helped him retain the number two spot on the list with $46 billion. Together, Gates and Buffett have led an effort to get fellow billionaires to donate much of their wealth to charity.
The average net worth of a member of the Forbes 400 hit $4.2 billion. That's the highest level it's been in at least a decade, according to the magazine, and up from $3.8 billion last year. The net worth cut off to make the list this year was $1.1 billion, up from $1.05 billion in 2011.
Four Hoosiers are among the richest in the world. Gayle Cook, the widow of Bill Cook, is the richest person in Indiana with a worth of $3.7 billion. The couple made their money by selling medical devices.
Herb Simon, real estate mogul and chairman of the Simon Property Group, is the second richest man from Indiana. The 77-year-old has a net worth of $2.2 billion.
Hotel developer Dean White ranked at no. 271 on the list and third in Indiana. White, 89, resides in Crown Point, Ind. and has a net worth of $1.8 billion.
Last on the list of the richest Hoosiers is Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, who has a net worth of $1.5 billion.
Click here to view the complete list.
Fox59 contributed to this report.
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