A list of 10 of the richest women in the United States contains several household names, as well as some women relatively unknown to the general public. The sources of their fortunes span a variety of industries, from technology to candy. The Walton, Cox, and Duncan families have a dynastic presence, each occupying more than one place in the top 10. (The net worth figures in this article are taken from Time Magazine and reflect January 2018 estimates.) 

Alice Walton

Alice Walton, born in 1949, takes the first place with an estimated net worth of $38.2 billion. Alice was educated at Trinity University, where she earned a BA in economics and finance. After graduation, she worked as an equity analyst and money manager for First Commerce Corporation. Since childhood, Alice was interested in art, and she played a leading role in developing the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, which opened in 2011. She is the sister-in-law of Christy Walton.

Jacqueline Mars

Jacqueline Mars, born in 1939, is the granddaughter Frank Mars and daughter of Forrest Mars, Sr., who founded what is now the world's largest candy company, Mars Inc. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College with a degree in anthropology. Mars owns the privately held company along with her two brothers and has a net worth of $25.5 billion. The Mars heirs serve on the Board of Directors but are not actively involved in managing the company. Mars sits on the Board of Trustees of the US Equestrian Team Foundation and supports such organizations as The Kennedy Center, the Washington National Opera, and the National Archives. [2]

Laurene Powell Jobs

Laurene Powell Jobs, born in 1963, is the widow of Steve Jobs, the co-founder and former CEO of Apple, Inc. (AAPL). Early in her career, Powell Jobs worked at Goldman Sachs as a fixed-income trading strategist and earned an MBA from Stanford University. Powell Jobs founded the Emerson Collective, which supports individuals and organizations working in education, immigration reform, social justice, and conservation. Powell Jobs has an estimated fortune of $19.4 billion.

Abigail Johnson

Abigail Johnson, born in 1961, is the president and CEO of Fidelity Investments, a leading financial services company. Boston-based Fidelity was founded by her grandfather Edward Johnson II in 1946 and remains privately held. After receiving an MBA from Harvard, she started working at Fidelity as an analyst and portfolio manager, working her way up to senior executive management. Johnson currently serves as a member of the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA). Johnson has an estimated net worth of $16 billion.

Blair Parry-Okeden

Blair Parry-Okeden, born 1952, is the granddaughter of James M. Cox, the founder of Cox Enterprises and the niece of Anne Cox Chambers. Parry-Okeden inherited a 25% share of Cox Enterprises from her mother but is not actively involved with the company's management. Cox Enterprises spans the media and communications and automotive industries. She has an estimated net worth of $12 billion.

Katharine Rayner

Rayner is also one of the heiresses to the Cox Enterprises family fortune. Born in 1946, she is also the granddaughter of James M. Cox. Rayner is also a philanthropist and trustee of the New York Public Library. In 2017, she donated $15 million to the library’s research collections. She has a net worth of $8 billion. [3]

Margaretta Taylor

Taylor is Rayner's sister. The two sisters share a 49% stake in the media company, along with their brother, James Cox Chambers. Taylor also has a net worth of roughly $8 billion. [4]

Pauline MacMillan Keinath

Pauline MacMillan Keinath, born in 1934, is the great-granddaughter of William W. Cargill, founder of the agribusiness company Cargill, Inc. Cargill's wide-ranging business includes providing agricultural, financial, and industrial products and services. Cargill dates back to 1865 and is the largest privately held company in America. MacMillan Keinath has an estimated networth of $7.4 billion.

Christy Walton

Christy Walton has an estimated net worth of $7 billion. Born in 1955, she is the widow of John T. Walton, the son of Walmart Stores, Inc. (WMT) founder Sam Walton. After John Walton died in an airplane crash in 2005, she inherited his fortune. The majority of her wealth is derived from holdings in the retail behemoth. And a successful early investment by her late husband in the solar panel maker First Solar boosted her wealth. Her philanthropic work includes serving on the board of directors of the Children’s Scholarship Fund, which provides financial assistance towards the education of low-income children.

Ann Walton Kroenke

Another member of the Walton family, Kroenke, is the daughter of James Bud Walton, who co-founded Walmart with his brother, Sam. Born in 1948, she is a registered nurse. Kroenke is married to real estate billionaire, Stan Kroenke, who owns several sports teams, including the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Rams. Her net worth is $6.6 billion. [5]

The Bottom Line

In several respects, the 10 richest women in America are not a very diverse group. They are all white, they all inherited the bulk of their fortunes, and they are all over the age of 40. The majority do not currently take an active role in the management of the companies from which their wealth is derived, with the exception of Abigail Johnson.