By Luisa Navarro@CNNMoneySeptember 18, 2013: 8:20 AM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
The 400 richest Americans are the richest they've ever been, according to Forbes magazine.
The combined net worth of the people on the list hit a record $2.02 trillion, up 19% from last year's total of $1.7 trillion, thanks in large part to a strong stock market and a real estate recovery. The average net worth of members of this year's list is $5 billion, up $800 million from a year ago.
Microsoft(MSFT) founder Bill Gates took the top spot as the richest American for the 20th year in a row, with a personal fortune of $72 billion. Berkshire Hathaway's(BRKA) Warren Buffett came in second with a net worth of $58.5 billion. Buffett also posted the biggest dollar gains on this year's list, with his wealth climbing a staggering $12.5 billion.
Mark Zuckerberg also had a good year, thanks to the rebound in Facebook's(FB) share price. After dropping to number 36 last year, he returned to the top 20 with a personal fortune of $19 billion. His gain of $9.6 billion made him this year's second-biggest gainer.
It took a lot more money to make this year's list, with the minimum net worth set at $1.3 billion. That meant that 28 people from last year dropped off the list, including T. Boone Pickens, whose wealth dipped to $950 million.
Forty-eight women also made the 2013 list, including Hyatt Hotels heiress Jennifer Pritzker, who was formerly known as James Pritzker, and is the first transgender billionaire, according to Forbes.