Individuals must have a minimum net worth of $2.1 billion to make the list.
When Forbes published its first list of the 400 richest Americans in 1982, the richest person in the country was Daniel Keith Ludwig, a shipping and real-estate magnate worth $2 billion, Catherine Perloff reported for Forbes.
Today, Ludwig wouldn't even make the list.
The 13 people tied for last place on this year's Forbes 400 list are each worth $2.1 billion.
Forbes just released its 2019 edition of the Forbes 400 list, which ranks the richest billionaires in America. The richest American is Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who's worth a staggering $114 billion. Bill Gates joins Bezos in the $100-billionaire club, with a net worth of $106 billion.
But the Forbes list looked very different just 37 years ago.
"When Forbes published our first list of the 400 richest Americans back in 1982, the poorest person to make the rarefied club was worth $91 million, while the richest, Daniel Keith Ludwig, topped out at $2 billion," Catherine Perloff wrote for Forbes. "That wouldn't even get Ludwig a spot at the bottom of the list today."
On this year's Forbes 400, the 13 people tied for last place are each worth $2.1 billion.
Even considering inflation, Ludwig's 1982 net worth of $2 billion would only be worth about $3.03 billion today, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' inflation calculator.
The five richest people in the US today are worth a combined $435.4 billion, which would have been unthinkable in 1982.
Leon Neal/Getty Images
The US is home to an estimated 705 billionaires, more than any other country in the world, Business Insider's Hillary Hoffower previously reported.
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But as the rich get increasingly richer in America, the middle class isn't faring so well. Income inequality is at a record high, the middle class is shrinking, and even some households earning six figures feel like they're middle class.
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