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Question: I am looking for a way to find every Forbes 400 list since 1982. Sources where I can easily download data are best. Anyway, I am also happy about any sources where I can read up all lists.

Background: Forbes 400 lists contain the richest 400 people of America. The first list appeared in 1982 and thereafter annually a new list has been published.

Downloading as csv (1990-2020) with R:

write.csv(do.call("rbind.data.frame", lapply(1990:2020, function(year_i){
 cbind.data.frame(jsonlite::fromJSON(paste0("http://www.forbes.com/ajax/list/data?year=",
                                             year_i, "&uri=forbes-400", "&type=person")),
                  year= year_i)})),
 file= "Forbes 400.csv")

My problem: The code above uses this source. But there is no data before 1990 and, the data of the first records is not complete, i.e. does not contain all 400 people. This source is the best I have found so far but I can literally find no source with all 400 entries of the Forbes 400 list 1982, 1983 and so on.

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    cool "API". I created a python parser and put the all the 30 years into one csv: gist.github.com/philshem/ae3964a197c95a0f3b9c049fb23c7e20 – philshem Dec 7 '20 at 8:53
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    @philshem Thank you. I downloaded the data and it starts in 1990, hence, I am still missing data from 1982 on. Or do I get it wrong? – machine Dec 7 '20 at 11:30
  • I just wanted to repackage individual JSONs the data into one CSV file. I haven't found pre-1990 yet, probably you'll have to manually build it. – philshem Dec 7 '20 at 11:52
  • @philshem My problem is that I can not find any website with the first list(s). So I can not even do it manually at this point. – machine Dec 7 '20 at 12:26
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Since you have the records that are later than 1990, I will only post those from 1982-1989 here. Sadly I couldn't find any records for the year 1984. I guess your best attempt would be to find some archived pdfs or images of the original publication and scrape it yourself. Also there is no main source for the data and they are not perfectly formatted but the following links should help you make your own lists quickly:

Recommended related links:

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  • if there is a template csv in github, I could lend the effort to parse some years, to make them machine readable – philshem Dec 14 '20 at 17:16
  • Hello, it is a shame that we can not find 1984, also there is also only a ranking for 1982 but no information about how much USD the people had. Anyway, this seems to be best I can get so far, so I accept the anwser. Thank you for this! – machine Dec 14 '20 at 18:28
  • @philshem I am also for the idea of making a GitHub with all the data as CSV, so I am happy to help with that if there is a project for it. I don't think I would be making one because I think the use-cases for this dataset are a bit narrow. – SuperKogito Dec 15 '20 at 11:12
  • @machine I think the first editions are hard to locate, because they were mostly on paper format and the wealth figures in some cases were not even available, because they weren't able to figure an accurate estimation of someone's fortune in those years (lack of digitization). – SuperKogito Dec 15 '20 at 11:12
  • @SuperKogito In fact we are missing even more since the data 1990+ is not complete either (see my question). But it is not the case that first lists got lost as you suggest since some authors report using all data in their paper. See here for example. Thus, there must be a complete source somewhere out there. No idea where it is. I even wrote emails to authors but did not get an answer. – machine Dec 16 '20 at 18:15

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