According to Forbes, the highest earner in their most recent assessment of money generators on YouTube was an 8-year-old kid. Though perhaps referencing him as "an 8-year-old kid" is a little dismissive since he reportedly made $26 million in a calendar year. Maybe "Mr. Kaji" or "Mr. Kaji, sir" or respectful silence paired with avoided eye contact is more in order.
Anyway that "kid" is toy reviewer Ryan Kaji, a whatever-grader (second, third?) who had gotten his start on the platform when he was just a 3-year-old unboxing toys in front of a camera. Forbes writes that, since then, he has gone on to conduct science experiments (also in front of a camera) and expanded beyond YouTube with his own toy line, clothes, Hulu deal, and show on Nickelodeon.
That's, uh, mighty humbling.
His channel, Ryan's World, currently holds a subscriber count of about 23 million. CNN adds that the $26 million he pulled in over the past year represents a $4 million bump up from the $22 million he made during the previous trip around the sun. That also made him the highest paid person on YouTube.
Hot on Ryan's heels is an ambitious 6-year-old, Anastasia Radzinskaya, who came in third place this year by earning $18 million. Radzinskaya has cerebral palsy, and can be seen in uploads with her dad. Admittedly it's hard to expand on that more, but it's unlikely a whole lot of readers are in the targeted demographic anyway. This is more about just being in awe.
As for the rest of the top 10, not everyone's in grade school. Here's a rundown:
1 -- Ryan Kaji, $26 million2 -- Dude Perfect, $20 million3 -- Anastasia Radzinskaya, $18 million4 -- Rhett and Link, $17.5 million5 -- Jeffree Star, $17 million6 -- Preston (Preston Arsement), $14 million7 (joint) -- PewDiePie (Felix Kjellberg, $13 million7 (joint) -- Markiplier (Mark Fischbach), $13 million
9 -- DanTDM (Daniel Middleton), $12 million10 -- VanossGaming (Evan Fong), $11.5 million
If you can't place half of those people, then the world has officially passed you by. And while celebrity net worths are almost always laughably inaccurate, Forbes says its methodology for computing these amounts (and defining what a "YouTube Star" is) went down like so:
All earnings estimates are from June 1, 2018, through June 1, 2019. Figures are pretax; fees for agents, managers and lawyers are not deducted. Earnings estimates are based on data from Captiv8, SocialBlade and Pollstar as well as interviews with industry insiders. For the list’s purposes, Forbes defines a YouTube Star as someone whose primary form of digital and media revenue comes from YouTube.