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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Forbes: Gates Still the Richest As Billionaires Grow Poorer

NEW YORK -- The world's richest people are getting poorer, as the global economic downturn and the fight against terrorism have made it harder to make a buck and keep it, according to Forbes magazine.

Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates, worth $52.8 billion, heads the Forbes list of billionaires once again, but his fortune shrank by about $6 billion from last year.

However, if Wal-Mart Stores Inc. founder Sam Walton were still alive, he would eclipse Gates with a net worth of more than $100 billion. As it is, Walton's widow Helen and their four children occupy the 6th to 10th spots on the list of the world's richest people, with over $20 billion each.

The store chain started by Walton, who died in 1992, is poised to become the world's biggest company, with $218 billion in sales last year. And the family fortune actually rose $10 billion last year as the terror attacks and recession sent Americans flocking for discount supplies and snack foods.

Forbes' 16th annual ranking of the world's billionaires, published in the latest edition, shows that the number of billionaires dropped from 538 to 497 last year as the recession bit. The billionaires' average net worth dipped from $3.2 billion to $3.1 billion.

Among the big casualties were AOL Time Warner chairman Steve Case, who dropped into mere multimillionaire-hood. Other new economy moguls who lost their billionaire status were Gary Winnick, who recently resigned as chief executive of Global Crossing; Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems; and Jerry Yang and David Filo, the founders of Yahoo! Inc.

After Gates, Warren Buffett, the head of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and one of America's most watched investors, ranks second on the list, followed by German discount supermarket kings Karl and Theo Albrecht, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and Oracle Corp. founder Lawrence Ellison.