Zuckerberg soars up Forbes list of richest Americans

The Facebook founder increased his net worth to $6.9 billion, but Bill Gates still holds the top spot

If Mark Zuckerberg had a dollar for every user on Facebook ... oh wait, he does. He has lots of dollars for every user on Facebook.

Zuckerberg's net worth surged by US$4.9 billion over the past year, to $6.9 billion, putting him at number 35 on the Forbes list of 400 richest Americans, which was released Wednesday. That was up from 135th place last year.

The Facebook founder's wealth was swelled by private equity deals that put the company's value at about $23 billion, Forbes said. His education is listed on the site as: "Dropout, Harvard University."

Zuckerberg wasn't the only person to profit handsomely from the growth at Facebook, which sailed past its 500 millionth user in July. Dustin Moskovitz, who left Facebook in 2008 but retains a stake in the company, is on the list for the first time, in 290th place, with a net worth of $1.4 billion. He's also the youngest person on the list, at 26. (Forbes says he's eight days younger than Zuckerberg.)

Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin also made the Top 400 for the first time, with personal wealth of $1.15 billion.

Another Harvard dropout, Bill Gates, retained his place at the top of the list, expanding his wealth by $4 billion from last year to $54 billion. Larry Ellison has to be content with third place again, behind investor Warren Buffett. Ellison's Oracle empire has helped him to amass a fortune of $27 billion.

Other tech leaders in high places include Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who share 11th place with $15 billion each. Steve Ballmer and Michael Dell each slipped two places on the list, to 15th and 16th, with fortunes of $14 billion and $13.1 billion, respectively.

The rich got richer this year overall, Forbes said. The top 400 earners in America had a combined wealth of $1.37 trillion.

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James Niccolai

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