The state of Washington is renowned for housing some of the world’s wealthiest individuals, thanks to the astounding success of global giants like Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, and Valve. But which city in Washington boasts the highest concentration of billionaires? According to Forbes, the answer is Seattle.
Seattle: The Billionaire Capital of Washington
Seattle, Washington’s largest and most populous city, with an estimated population of 769,714 in 2020, is a thriving metropolis. It serves as the headquarters for several corporate behemoths, including Amazon, Starbucks, Nordstrom, and Expedia, which have created immense fortunes for their founders and executives, many of whom call Seattle home.
Forbes annually releases its list of the world’s billionaires, based on their net worth as of March 24. According to the 2023 list, Washington is home to 16 billionaires, with 13 of them residing in Seattle or its environs. Here’s a glimpse into the identities and net worths of Seattle’s billionaires, ranked by their standings on the Forbes list:
- Jeff Bezos: $114 billion (Ranked No. 3 globally)
- Bill Gates: $104 billion (Ranked No. 6 globally)
- Steve Ballmer: $80.7 billion (Ranked No. 10 globally)
- MacKenzie Scott: $26.4 billion (Ranked No. 53 globally)
- Melinda French Gates: $6.2 billion (Ranked No. 400 globally)
- Charles Simonyi: $5.6 billion (Ranked No. 442 globally)
- Howard Schultz: $3.7 billion (Ranked No. 757 globally)
- Gabe Newell: $3.9 billion (Ranked No. 713 globally)
- James Jannard: $2.2 billion (Ranked No. 1,323 globally)
- Craig McCaw: $2 billion (Ranked No. 1,471 globally)
- Martin Selig: $1.4 billion (Ranked No. 1,985 globally)
- Orion Hindawi: $1.2 billion (Ranked No. 2,224 globally)
- David Hindawi: $1.1 billion (Ranked No. 2,324 globally)
The combined net worth of these 13 billionaires totals a staggering $352.8 billion, surpassing the gross domestic product (GDP) of nations like Norway, Denmark, and Singapore.
Why Seattle Attracts Billionaires
Seattle’s allure to billionaires is rooted in a rich history of innovation and entrepreneurship, stretching back to its origins as a 19th-century logging town. The city has been a hub for diverse industries, including aerospace, biotechnology, software, e-commerce, and cloud computing. Moreover, Seattle possesses a strong culture of philanthropy and social responsibility, exemplified by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other charitable organizations.
Seattle offers numerous advantages to billionaires and aspiring entrepreneurs. It boasts a high quality of life, with a diverse and educated population, a vibrant arts and entertainment scene, and a picturesque natural environment. Additionally, Seattle’s tax structure is favorable to the wealthy, as Washington lacks a personal income tax or capital gains tax. The city also hosts a supportive ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship, with access to top universities, research institutions, venture capitalists, and talent pools.
The Future of Seattle’s Billionaire Club
Seattle’s billionaire circle is poised for continued expansion in both size and wealth, as the city continues to attract and nurture successful entrepreneurs and innovators. Potential candidates for joining the billionaire ranks include:
- Brian Roberts: Co-founder and CEO of Convoy, a digital freight network valued at $2.75 billion as of its latest funding round in November 2020.
- Jane Park: Founder and CEO of Tokki, a sustainable gift wrap company that employs reusable fabric wraps and digital cards. Tokki, launched in 2019, has secured $4 million in investments from notable figures like Serena Williams.
- Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal: Co-founders and co-hosts of Acquired, a popular podcast that delves into the stories behind tech company acquisitions and IPOs, boasting over 100,000 listeners per episode and generating revenue through sponsorships and subscriptions.
Seattle is not just the billionaire capital of Washington; it’s also a global influencer. The city’s billionaires have left an indelible mark on various industries and sectors through their vision, innovation, and philanthropy. Furthermore, they’ve created countless job opportunities for others to follow in their footsteps.
Seattle stands as the city with the highest concentration of billionaires in Washington, with 13 out of the state’s 16 billionaires residing in or around the city. These billionaires collectively possess a net worth of $352.8 billion, surpassing the GDP of many nations. Seattle’s history of innovation, coupled with its attractive quality of life, tax structure, and entrepreneurial ecosystem, ensures that its billionaire community is poised for ongoing growth.