Richest American 37 years ago wouldn't make Forbes list today

The rich are only getting richer — the gap between rich and poor in the US has never been wider — and one tidbit from Forbes' most recent billionaires list makes that abundantly clear.

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.

Read more:The 5 richest men in the US have a staggering combined wealth of $435.4 billion. That's more than 2% of America's GDP.

rich people
rich people

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.

RELATED: The richest families in America

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

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.

NOW WATCH: 7 lesser-known benefits of Amazon Prime

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Meet the 15 youngest, richest American billionaires

DON'T MISS: The 5 richest men in the US have a staggering combined wealth of $435.4 billion. That's more than 2% of America's GDP.