Top 10 Wealthiest Families in the World (2024)

Regardless of your financial status, keeping tabs on the ultrarich—whether with admiration, envy, or resentment—is probably more pleasurable and less demanding than researching a mortgage, shopping for online brokers, or studying finance and economics.

The appeal of wealthy families reflects a culture that idolizes wealth and fetishizes the rich. Those in the upper echelons of business are celebrities in many people's eyes, and they are scrutinized for their ability (or failure) to maintain this elite status.

This list is limited to families who originally made their fortunes through business (even if some of the current heirs enjoy the family inheritance without ever having contributed to it.)

Key Takeaways

  • At $305 billion, the Al Nahyan family—oil tycoons, politicians, and royalty—is the richest family in the world.
  • The Waltons are the second richest family in the world with a fortune estimated at $259.7 billion thanks to their massive stake in Walmart (and only recently, in 2023, were usurped by the Al Nahyan family for the top spot.)
  • The Hermès family—purveyors of scarves, neckties, perfumes, and handbags—is the third-richest family in the world at $150.9 billion.
  • The fourth generation of the Mars family—the fourth-wealthiest family, with a fortune worth $160 billion—currently runs the eponymously named Mars candy company.
  • By focusing solely on families, this list does not include the richest people in the world, including Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk.

Al Nahyan Family

  • Estimated Wealth: $305 billion
  • Company: Abu Dhabi Royal Family

The Al Nahyan family, also referred to as the "House of Nahyan," is the richest family in the world. The leader of the family, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is the ruler of Abu Dhabi and the President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The economy of the UAE (and the finances of its rulers and royal families) has been transformed by the vast oil reserves in the country. Abu Dhabi is one of the richest emirates, and especially oil-rich.

Sheikh Mohamed became the ruler of Abu Dhabi and the President of the UAE in 2022. Before that, his brother, Sheikh Khalifa, was the country's leader from 2004 to 2022. And before that, his father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, was the President of the country, from its founding in 1971 until 2004, when his son succeeded him.

The family's fortune has been amassed via ownership of billions of barrels of oil reserves, in addition to extremely profitable wealth funds.

Walton Family

  • Estimated Wealth: $259.7 billion
  • Company: Walmart

The Waltons are the second-richest family in the world. At the top of the value chain, Jim, Rob, and Alice Walton are each worth around $57 billion and ranked No. 19, 20, and 21, respectively, on Forbes' billionaire list as of Dec. 24, 2023.

Walmart is a retail behemoth. Founded by Sam Walton in Arkansas in 1962, Walmart is the world’s largest company by revenues in fiscal year 2022, with $611 billion in revenues and over 2.1 million global associates.

Walmart operates over 10,500 retail stores worldwide and 5,215 stores in the U.S. as of December 24, 2023.

Best known for big-box stores in rural and suburban America, Walmart is celebrated for its low-priced products and criticized for its labor practices. The company failed to bring its big-box consumer lifestyle to New York City, unlike its competitor, Target.

Hermès Family

  • Estimated Wealth: $150.9 billion
  • Company: Hermès

French fashion house and luxury purveyor Hermès has dazzled the world with its signature scarves, neckties, and perfumes, as well as its iconic Kelly and Birkin handbags. Back in the 19th century, Thierry Hermès fashioned riding apparel for the aristocracy.

Today, the company dresses basketball royalty such as LeBron James. Fusing old-school and new technology, Hermès Apple Watches sell for $1,249 and up. Axel Dumas currently serves as the company’s executive director, and Pierre-Alexis Dumas is the artistic executive vice president.

Mars Family

  • Estimated Wealth: $141.9 billion
  • Company: Mars Incorporated

Mars is the Walmart of candy—a multigenerational family business that is ubiquitous and wildly popular. Today, the company is better known for making M&Ms than for its eponymous Mars bar. In 2017, the world’s largest candy company diversified with the purchase of VCA, a pet care company, for $9.1 billion.

Siblings Jacqueline and John Mars, whose grandfather, Frank Mars, founded the company,each have a net worth of $38.3 billion and are tied for No. 31 on Forbes' list of billionaires as of Dec. 24, 2023. The company is now being run by some of their children, the fourth generation of Mars family members.

Al Thani Family

  • Estimated Wealth: $133 billion
  • Company: Royal Family of Qatar

The Al Thani family has ruled Qatar since the middle of the 19th century. The family's reign has lasted through the founding of modern Qatar, wars, and two coup attempts.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani turned Qatar into a major world power during his 18 years in power. (He gained complete power of Qatar by deposing his father in a bloodless coup in 1995. This involved freezing all of his father's assets to prevent any counter-coups.)

The country's natural gas production skyrocketed as a result of mining offshore gas fields and the discovery of untapped oil fields. In 2010, the average income in the country was $86,440 a year per person.

In addition to his income made from oil and gas, Sheikh Hamad invested billions of dollars in businesses, including Volkswagen, Total, Sainsbury’s, and Barclays bank. In 2018, Sheikh Hamad abdicated the throne to his fourth son, Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad al Thani.

Koch Family

  • Estimated Wealth: $127.3 billion
  • Company: Koch Industries

Charles Koch owes his staggering fortune to an oil business founded by his father, but today, he is perhaps better known to the general public for his politics, digging into his deep pockets to place his stamp on it—financing candidates and libertarian think tanks, funding university professorships, and lobbying for policy positions, all aimed at furthering a conservative agenda.

Charles partnered with his brother David until the latter died in 2019. Charles is worth an estimated $59 billion, ranked No. 17 on the Forbes' billionaires list. David's widow, Julia Koch, and family are tied for 17th place with a net worth of $59 billion as of Dec. 25, 2023.

Al Saud Family

  • Estimated Wealth: $112 billion
  • Company: Saudi Royal Family

The House of Saud, the Saudi royal family, has a monarchical history extending back nearly a century. The family’s massive fortune, estimated at $112 billion, has grown thanks to decades of payments from the Royal Diwan, the king’s executive office.

Ties with Saudi Aramco, one of the world’s most profitable companies and a behemoth of the oil industry, ensure that the Saudi royal family continues to accumulate wealth. It’s difficult to accurately assess the wealth of the House of Saud, in part because the family contains as many as 15,000 extended members, many of whom have founded businesses, received government contracts, and more.

Ambani Family

  • Estimated Wealth:$89.9 billion
  • Company: Reliance Industries

Indian industrial conglomerate Reliance Industries, the only Asian company on our list, might be the least well-known to average readers.

Nevertheless, CEO Mukesh Ambani, whose late father founded the company in 1957, is ninth on Forbes' billionaires list with a net worth of $83.4 billion as of Dec. 25, 2023, overseeing the company’s refining, petrochemicals, oil, gas, and textiles; his brother, Anil, manages telecommunications, asset management, entertainment, and power generation.

Wertheimer Family

  • Estimated Wealth: $89.6 billion
  • Company: Chanel

French high-fashion house Chanel is legendary for the timeless “little black dress,” the No.5 perfume, and the late high-profile designer Karl Lagerfeld, who died on Feb. 19, 2019.

Brothers Alain and Gerhard Wertheimer now co-own the company that their grandfather staked with founder Gabrielle Coco Chanel. The brothers are both ranked 41st on the Forbes billionaires list, with a net worth of $31.6 billion each as of Dec. 25, 2023.

Thomson Family

  • Estimated Wealth: $71.1 billion
  • Company: Thomson Reuters

The Thomson family garners its wealth from Thomson Reuters, the media company. The family got its start in the 1930s when Roy Thomson started a radio station in Ontario, Canada, and later moved into newspapers.

Roy Thomson's grandson, David Thomson, is the chairman of Thomson Reuters. He ranks 22nd on Forbes' billionaires list with a net worth of $54.4 billion as of Dec. 25, 2023.

What Is the Richest Family on Earth?

According to Bloomberg, with $305 billion of estimated wealth in 2023, the Al Nahyan family is the richest family in the entire world.

Which 10 Families Are the Wealthiest?

The top 10 richest families in 2023 by estimated wealth are:

  1. The Al Nahyan family with $305 billion
  2. The Walton family with $259.7 billion
  3. The Hermès family with $150.9 billion
  4. The Mars family with $141.9 billion
  5. The Al Thani family with $133 billion
  6. The Koch family with $127.3 billion
  7. The Al Saud family with $112 billion
  8. The Ambani family with $89.9 billion
  9. The Wertheimer family with $89.6 billion
  10. The Thomson family $71.1 billion

Who Are the Wealthiest People in the World?

The top three wealthiest people in the world as of Dec. 25, 2023, are LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos.

How Rich Are the British Royal Family?

While the British royal family is a tremendous source of curiosity for many people, and the Windsor's have accumulated many properties, jewels, and art over 100 years of rule, we may never know exactly how much wealth the family has accrued. Assessing the wealth of the British royal family is difficult because of the vast array of its holdings, the historical value of these holdings, and a tradition of secrecy about financial particulars.

The Bottom Line

This list of wealthy families focused on those who built their wealth by starting a family business. Some of these family businesses—like Walmart—are now publicly traded businesses. Others, like Mars Incorporated and Koch Industries, are still privately held family businesses.

This list may read as a naked celebration of wealth at a time of rising global inequality and a vanishing middle class. It may also be seen as condoning heedless consumption at a time when the future of wealth itself is in question. Moreover, the focus on families means the list doesn’t include the world’s three richest individuals.

Top 10 Wealthiest Families in the World (2024)
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