Koch brothers among America's wealthiest families

Published On: Jul 08 2014 06:01:33 PM CDT
Koch Industries buying Molex for about $6.86B

A family with Wichita roots is among the nation's richest people, worth billions.

Charles and David Koch, of Koch Industries, are the second richest family on Forbes 185 clans worth billion dollar fortunes.

The Koch brothers lead the nation's second largest private company worth $115 billion in sales. The company started in the 1920s, when Fred Koch developed a thermal cracking process, which converting heavy oil into gasoline. Today, it owns a diverse group of companies involved in refining, chemicals, fertilizers, biofuels, and polymers, among other energy technologies. 

The Koch family is $63 billion dollars behind the richest family in America. The Walton family, founder in 1962 of Wal-Mart Stores, is the wealthiest in America and the world, worth $152 billion, Forbes said. The Mars family, the Cargill-MacMillan family and (Edward) Johnson family round out the top five.

The three richest families are worth $301 billion, one-fourth of cumulative net worth of all the wealthiest families. All told, the 185 families are worth $1.2 trillion.

"Many are working at increasing their fortunes," Forbes says. "Others are merely sleepy heirs, several generations removed from their families' heydays. Nearly all have ties to some of the most storied businesses and brands in American history."

In past Forbes lists, the Koch brothers top the sixth richest people in the world.