Last Updated: October 12, 2023
Richest PoliticiansDemocrats
Net Worth:
$4 Million
Aug 26, 1935 - Mar 26, 2011 (75 years old)
Politician, Lawyer, Diplomat
United States of America
💰 Compare Geraldine Ferraro's Net Worth
Table of ContentsExpand
  1. Early Life
  2. Career
  3. Family

What was Geraldine Ferraro's Net Worth?

Geraldine Ferraro was an American attorney, politician and US Congress member who had a net worth of $4 million at the time of her death. Geraldine Ferraro is probably best remembered for becoming the first female vice presidential candidate representing a major American political party. She ran as Walter Mondale's running mate in the 1984 election. They ultimately lost to incumbent President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H. W. Bush. Subsequently, she went on to run for a seat in the US Senate from New York in 1992 and 1998, both times losing in the primary election. In the meantime, she also served as an alternate delegate to the World Conference on Human Rights in 1993. Geraldine Anne Ferraro died at the age of 75, on March 26th 2011, twelve years after being diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

Early Life

Geraldine Ferraro was born on August 26, 1935 in Newburgh, New York to parents Antonetta Ferraro and Dominick Ferraro. Her parents were both originally from Italy and her mother worked as a seamstress while her father owned restaurants. She had three brothers who were born before her but one died in infancy and the other died at age three. She attended Mount Saint Mary's in Newburgh when she was young. When she was eight years old, her father died of a heart attack. Ferraro's mother invested the remainder of the family's money but lost it, forcing the family to move to a low-income area in the South Bronx while her mother worked in the garment industry.

Beginning in 1947, Ferraro attended and lived at the parochial Marymount Academy in Tarrytown, New York, using income from a family rental property in Italy to pay the tuition. She graduated from the school in 1952 and then attended Marymount Manhattan College with a scholarship. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English in 1956, becoming the first woman in her family to gain a college degree. She also passed the city exam to become a licensed teacher and worked for a while before she became dissatisfied with the job and decided to attend law school. She earned her law degree from Fordham University School of Law in 1960. She was one of only two women in her graduating class.


Ferraro began her career working part-time as a civil lawyer in her husband's real estate firm while also raising her children. She also got involved with local political clubs and was elected president of the Queens County Women's Bar Association in 1970. Her first full-time political job came in January of 1974 when she was appointed Assistant District Attorney for Queens County, New York by her cousin, District Attorney Nicholas Ferraro. She was named head of the Special Victims Bureau in 1977 and became a strong advocate for abused children. In 1978, she was admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court Bar.

In 1978, Ferraro decided to run for election to the U.S. House of Representatives for the seat from New York's 9th Congressional District. In the race, she faced two better-known rivals but ended up winning the three-way primary with 53% of the vote. She then won the general election by defeating Republican Alfred A. DelliBovi by ten points.

Though she was a newcomer to the House, Ferraro made a vivid impression upon arrival and became a protege of House Speaker, Tip O'Neil. She rose rapidly within the party's hierarchy and was elected to be the Secretary of the House Democratic Caucus for 1981 to 1983 and again for 1983 to 1985. This entitled her to a seat on the influential Steering and Policy Committee. In 1983, she was named to the powerful House Budget Committee and also served on the Public Works and Transportation Committee and the Post Office and Civil Service Committee.

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In terms of presidential politics, Ferraro was also active in that realm. She served as one of the deputy chairs for the 1980 Carter-Mondale campaign and then served actively on the Hunt Commission, which is credited with having been the prime agent behind the creation of superdelegates. She was Chairwoman of the Platform Committee for the 1984 Democratic National Convention, the first woman to ever hold that position.

While in Congress, Ferraro focused much of her attention on equity for women in the areas of wages, pensions, and retirement plans. In 1984, she championed the pension equity law that would improve benefits for people who left work for long periods of time and then returned, as was typical of women. She also worked on some environmental issues and spoke about foreign policy issues after a congressional trip to Nicaragua. In total, Ferraro served three two-year terms, as she was re-elected in 1980 and in 1982.

In 1984, Democratic presidential candidate, Walter Mondale, announced that he had selected Ferraro to be his vice presidential running mate. She was the first woman in history to run for vice president on a major party ticket. She gained immediate large-scale media attention after the announcement. Not all of it was positive, as her family's finances came under scrutiny, especially that of her husband's. In August of 1984, Ferrero announced that her husband would not be releasing his tax returns, despite having previously promised that he would. The announcement dominated the news cycle. Later, the couple changed their mind and did release the return, though the public was still troubled by the issue, which proved to overshadow many other issues in the presidential debate that year. Ultimately, the Mondale/Ferraro ticket lost in the general election by a landslide to Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Ferraro later ran for a Senate seat but lost. She tried again in 1998 but lost as well, bringing an end to her political career.


In 1960, Ferraro married John Zaccaro. She had started dating him during her senior year at Fordham. He became a realtor and businessman. The couple had three children – Donna in 1962, John Jr. in 1964, and Laura in 1966. They lived in Forest Hills Gardens, Queens and had a vacation home on Fire Island.

Ferraro struggled with health issues after being diagnosed with cancer in 1998. In March 2011, she also came down with pneumonia. She died at Massachusetts General Hospital on March 26, 2011.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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