What is the Fortune 100

The Fortune 100 is an annual list of the 100 largest U.S. public and privately held companies, published by Fortune magazine. The ranking is compiled using gross revenue figures. The Fortune 100 list is more exclusive than both the Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 lists, both of which rank more companies.


The Fortune 100 list does not include foreign companies, though many of the listed companies have significant international operations. The list is made up of public companies and private companies that report annual revenue figures.

Fortune 100 Began in 1955

Fortune first published its annual list of top revenue-producing companies in 1955. At first, the magazine's editors were stricter on which business sectors were included. From 1955 to 1994, the Fortune 100 list only included businesses in the manufacturing, mining and energy sectors. This left out many of the top earning companies across the country. Fortune did publish individual sector lists for the top 50 companies in the industries of banks, utilities, insurance, retailers and transportation.

The Fortune 100 in 1955 was led by General Motors, a company that held the top position for over 30 years. General Motors had revenues of $9.8 billion to top the list. The remaining top 10 was rounded out by Exxon, US Steel, General Electric, Esmark, Chrysler, Armour, Gulf Oil, Mobil and DuPont.

Big Change to the Fortune 100 List in 1994

In 1994, Fortune expanded its list of companies to include service companies, opening the door for many newcomers to join. This change added many new companies to the Fortune 100 list and also dramatically increased the amount of annual revenue required to make the prestigious list. A company had to generate $10.9 billion in revenue to make the 1995 Fortune 100 list, compared to $5.3 billion in 1994.

The change made in 1994 allowed Wal-Mart to join the list. The leading American retailer topped the list in 2018 and has been a frequent top 10 company since its inclusion at the 1994 switch.

Fortune 100 in 2018

In 2018, Wal-Mart was the top company on the Fortune 100 for the sixth straight year with revenues of $500.3 billion. The rest of the top 10 was Exxon Mobil, Berkshire Hathaway, Apple, UnitedHealth Group, McKesson, CVS Health, Amazon.com, AT&T and General Motors. USAA, which ranked 100th on the list had revenues of $30 billion. Dell Technologies, with revenues of $78.7 billion led the private companies, ranking 35th.