Bill Gates has a net worth of $82 billion. Based on that number, he would be the richest man in the U. S. ever. However, according to Fortune, the richest man ever was John D. Rockefeller. Although his net worth at his death was only $1.4 billion, at the time it represented 1/65 of the nation’s GDP. Bill Gates’ net worth-to-GDP ratio is only 1/152, placing him 5th on the all time list.
Doing some math, we can figure out that today’s GDP is around $12.46 trillion. To arrive at that number, I simply took the inverse of 1/152 (1 ÷ 152) and divided that number into $82 billion. Like this:
According to Federal Reserve’s 2004 Survey (PDF), the average household had a net worth of $448,200 (an estimate I think seems too high). This means the average net worth represents 0.0000035960% of the nation’s GDP, while Bill Gates’ net worth represents .66%. NOTE: this is a very rough estimate.
Finally, to put Rockefeller’s net worth in perspective, if Bill Gates’ net worth represented 1/65 of today’s GDP, his net worth would be…
Now I feel really poor!