If Wyoming’s three richest families decided to boost the economy by giving all their money to fellow Cowboy State residents, each resident of Wyoming would walk away with $44,493.
That gives Wyoming the biggest chunk of billionaire dollars per capita in the country, according to Forbes magazine’s latest list of 400 wealthiest people in America.
It helps that Wyoming’s sparse population makes the state better known for wide-open spaces than urban squalor. It also helps that Wyoming is home to the richest family in the West.
Making Forbes’ list at No. 4 is Christy Walton and family, who have brought their $21.5 billion Wal-Mart fortune to Jackson, making them the wealthiest Westerners.
Two other billionaires call Wyoming home. Squeaking in at the bottom of the Forbes list are Conair’s Leandro Rizzuto, of Sheridan, with $1.2 billion, and TD Ameritrade’s J. Joseph Ricketts, of Little Jackson Hole, with a meager $1 billion. Combined, they add up to $23.7 billion.
Colorado boasts the most billionaires in the West – six of them. Top of the list is Denver’s Phil Anschutz, whose diversified businesses and investments ranked him at No. 37, with $6 billion. That’s despite the untimely death of Michael Jackson, whose comeback Anschutz was banking on.
Nevada’s four billionaires are led by Sands casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. His $9 billion fortune puts him at No. 26.
Three Montanans made the list. Austen S. Cargill, of Livingston, and Marianne Cargill Liebmann, of Bozeman, tied at No. 220, with $1.6 billion each, from the food giant Cargill, Inc. Hotelier Linda Pritzker, of St. Ignatius, ranked 236th with $1.5 billion. (Update: Make that four Montanans. Forbes also lists Missoula construction and mining magnate Dennis Washington. Washington’s $4.2 billion puts him at No. 61.)
Idaho’s only billionaire, Robert Earl Holding, Sun Valley’s oil and ski magnate, ranked 93rd, with 3.3 billion.
Pity poor New Mexico and Utah. They were among nine states no billionaire calls home. But don’t worry. As long as there’s a Santa Fe and a Park City, they’ll still come to visit.