POPULATION: 3.1 MILLION 2016 GROSS STATE PRODUCT: $156 BILLION (3% GROWTH) GSP PER CAPITA: $51,243 (RANKS NO. 29 NATIONWIDE) NUMBER OF BILLIONAIRES: 2 RICHEST: JON HUNTSMAN SR. NET WORTH: $1.2 BILLION
DESPITE HIS best efforts to give away his wealth, Jon Huntsman Sr. remains extremely rich. He and his foundation have donated $1.8 billion—more than 150% of his current net worth—most prominently to cancer research, having founded an eponymous Salt Lake City institute to study the disease in 1995. (It claims to have identified more cancercausing genes than any other such center in the world.)
Huntsman himself has battled cancer four times, and both his parents died from it—experiences that have given him a clear-eyed view of mortality. When Warren Buffett invited him to sign the Giving Pledge in 2009, Huntsman replied, “You don’t have the formula right. It should be 80%. Why should someone who has $5 billion give away only $2.5 billion?”
Huntsman, 80, first landed on The Forbes 400 in 1989, 19 years after founding his chemicals firm, Huntsman Corp. Today it’s a $9.7 billion (sales) giant; Huntsman remains a director, having handed the chairmanship to his son Peter in December. Another son, Jon Jr., Utah’s former governor, is currently the U.S. ambassador to Russia.