NEW YORK — Life is good for America’s super wealthy.
Forbes on Monday released its annual list of the 400 richest Americans. While most of the names and rankings did not change from a year ago, the majority of the elite club’s members saw their fortunes grow, helped by strong stock and real estate markets.
‘‘Basically, the mega rich are mega richer,’’ said Forbes’s senior editor, Kerry Dolan.
Dolan noted that the list’s minimum net income increased to a pre-financial crisis level of $1.3 billion, up from $1.1 billion in 2012, with 61 American billionaires not making the cut.
Microsoft Corp. cofounder Bill Gates remains America’s richest man, taking the top spot for the 20th straight year, with a net worth of $72 billion, up from $66 billion a year ago.
Investor Warren Buffett, the head of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., posted another distant second-place finish with $58.5 billion, but increased his net worth from $46 billion. Oracle Corp. cofounder Larry Ellison stayed third with $41 billion.
Brothers Charles and David Koch, co-owners of Koch Industries Inc., stay tied for fourth with $36 billion each, up from $31 billion in 2012.
Walmart heirs Christy Walton, Jim Walton, Alice Walton, and S. Robson Walton took the next four spots.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, founder of the eponymous financial information company, rounds out the top 10 with $31 billion, up from $25 billion.
According to Forbes, 273 members of the list are self-made billionaires, while 71 inherited their wealth and another 56 inherited at least some of it but are still growing it.
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg returned to the list’s top 20 after dropping out the year before. His net worth of $19 billion earned him the number 20 spot.
Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz was number 85, with a net worth of $5.2 billion. At age 29 and just a few days younger the Zuckerberg, Moskovitz ranks as the youngest member of the list. The oldest is 98-year-old David Rockefeller Sr., at number 193, with $2.8 billion.
Twenty new people joined the rankings, including Richard Yuengling Jr. of the Pennsylvania beer maker D.G. Yuengling & Son, who ranked number 371, with $1.4 billion.
Twenty-eight people dropped off the list, including six who died.
A total of 48 women made the list, including Hyatt Hotels heir Jennifer Pritzker at 327. Formerly known as James Pritzker, she’s the list’s first transgendered member.
The 400 people posted a combined net worth of $2 trillion, up from $1.7 trillion a year ago. That marks their highest combined value ever. Average net worth rose to $5 billion, also the highest ever, up from $4.2 billion in 2012. Net worth grew for 314 members and fell for 30.
The increases aren’t surprising, given that net worth for the wealthiest people has risen in the years since the financial crisis, widening the gap between the exceptionally well-to-do and the rest of the country.
According to a study of Internal Revenue Service figures, the top 1 percent of US earners collected 19.3 percent of household income in 2012, their largest share in IRS figures going back a century.
Until last year, the top 1 percent’s share of pretax income had not surpassed the 18.7 percent it reached in 1927, according to the analysis, done by economists at the University of California Berkeley, the Paris School of Economics, and Oxford University. Some economists speculate incomes of the wealthy may have surged because they cashed in stock holdings to avoid higher capital gains taxes starting in January.
The 10 richest
Bill Gates: $72 billion
Warren Buffett: $58.5 billion
Larry Ellison: $41 billion
Charles Koch: $36 billion
David Koch: $36 billion
Christy Walton: $35.4 billion
Jim Walton: $33.8 billion
Alice Walton: $33.5 billion
S. Robson Walton: $33.3 billion
Michael Bloomberg: $31 billion