The Fortune 500
is an annual list compiled and published by Fortune
magazine that ranks 500 of the largest United States corporations
by total revenue for their respective fiscal years.
The list includes publicly held companies
, along with privately held companies
for which revenues are publicly available. The concept of the Fortune
500 was created by Edgar P. Smith, a Fortune
editor, and the first list was published in 1955.
500 is more commonly used than its subset Fortune
100 or superset Fortune 1000
The original Fortune
500 was limited to companies whose revenues were derived from manufacturing, mining, and energy exploration. At the same time, Fortune
published companion "Fortune
50" lists of the 50 largest commercial banks (ranked by assets), utilities (ranked by assets), life insurance companies (ranked by assets), retailers (ranked by gross revenues) and transportation companies (ranked by revenues). Fortune
magazine changed its methodology in 1994 to include service companies. With the change came 291 new entrants to the famous list including three in the Top 10.
There is a lag in creating the list, so for example, the 2019 Fortune
500 is based on each company's financial years ending in late 2018 (most commonly, on December 31), or early 2019.
As of 2020, the Fortune
500 companies represent approximately two-thirds of the United States's Gross Domestic Product
with approximately $14.2 trillion in revenue, $1.2 trillion in profits, and $20.4 trillion in total market value. These revenue figures also account for approximately 18% of the gross world product
. The companies collectively employ a total of 29.2 million people worldwide, or nearly 0.4% of the world's total population