Editor’s Note: This article was updated June 4, 2020, with Gallup’s latest data pertaining to Americans’ stock ownership.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — With the stock market experiencing record volatility since the nationwide outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S., it is fair to ask what percentage of Americans are personally exposed to the market’s financial risks and windfalls.
Thus far in 2020, Gallup finds 55% of Americans reporting that they own stock, based on polls conducted in March and April. This is identical to the average 55% recorded in 2019 and similar to the average of 54% Gallup has measured since 2010.
Line graph. Trend from 1998 to 2020 in percentage of U.S. adults who own stock, based on annual averages. The rate was 60% in 1998 and remained near this level through 2009, but has since trended lower. The figure has been steady at 55% from 2008 to 2020.
Gallup’s measure of consumer stock ownership is based on a question asking respondents about any individual stocks they may own, as well as stocks included in a mutual fund or retirement savings account, like a 401(k) or IRA.
Stock ownership was more common from 2001 to 2008 when an average 62% of U.S. adults said they owned stock — but it fell after the 2007-2009 recession and has not fully rebounded.
Stock ownership is strongly correlated with household income, formal education, age and race.
In 2020, the percentages owning stock range from highs of 85% of adults with postgraduate education and 84% of those in households earning $100,000 or more to lows of 22% of those in households earning less than $40,000 and 28% of Hispanics.
Stock Ownership Among Major U.S. Subgroups, 2020
|Yes, own stock||No, do not||No opinion||No. of interviews|
|College graduate only||77||23||*||462|
|Gallup, March-April 2020|
Learn more about the decline in U.S. stock ownership since the Great Recession:
U.S. Stock Ownership Down Among All but Older, Higher-Income
Read Gallup’s latest release on stock ownership and Americans’ views of the best type of investment:
Stock Investments Lose Some Luster After COVID-19 Sell-Off