In One Chart: Two Decades of Stock Ownership in America

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by visualcapitalist

How Many Americans Own Stocks?

How Many Americans Own Stocks?

2020 was an exceptionally volatile year for the stock market. But how many Americans were directly impacted by last year’s market highs and lows?

In other words, how many Americans own stocks as a part of their investment portfolios?

Two Decades of Stock Ownership in America

Stock ownership in the U.S. has dipped over the last two decades.

In a survey by Gallup, about 55% of Americans claimed to own some form of stock in 2020—either an individual stock, a stock mutual fund, or in a self-directed 401(k) or IRA. This is a significant decrease from 2000, when 60% of Americans owned stock:

*Note: Numbers may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Stock ownership was relatively high in the early 2000s, but it dipped slightly after the 2007-2008 financial crisis. Since then, it’s hovered around 50-55%.

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High Income, High Stock Ownership

While more than half the U.S. population owns some form of stock, ownership is concentrated among higher-income groups.

For example, in 2020, 77% of households making less than $40,000 per year didn’t own stock. In contrast, only 15% of households earning $100,000+ per year weren’t invested in some form of stock:

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Yearly Household Income (USD) Yes, Owns Stock (2020) No, Does Not Own Stock (2020)
$100,000+ 84% 15%
$40,000 – $99,999 65% 35%
<$40,000 22% 77%

There was also a strong correlation between formal education and stock ownership. In 2020, 85% of Americans who owned stock had a postgraduate degree, compared to 33% who had no formal post-secondary education.

»Interested in the stock market but not sure where to begin? You might enjoy this article, Stock Market Basics: How Do Investors Choose Stocks?

 

 

 

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