Ownership of U.S. stocks at its highest level since 2008

Stock ownership among U.S. adults has reached 61%, marking the highest level since 2008. Ownership rates among different demographic groups closely resemble those from 2008, with over 80% of households earning $75,000 or more having investments in stocks.

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Data ; Gallup Poll, Visualized By Professpost.com

In 2023, New Gallop poll reported that 61% of American adults have investments in the stock market, marking the highest percentage since 2008. Stock ownership had experienced a decline during the Great Recession and remained low for over a decade, reaching as low as 52% in both 2013 and 2016. Historically, prior to 2008, the majority of Gallup surveys consistently found that 60% or more of U.S. adults were involved in stock ownership.

Poll company has been surveying Americans about their stock ownership since 1998, usually in their annual Economy and Personal Finance survey conducted every April. The most recent data is from a poll conducted between April 3-25.

Stock ownership rates for most demographic groups have returned to 2008 levels. One interesting exception is among older Americans. Currently, 63% of U.S. adults aged 65 and older own stocks, surpassing the ownership rates among senior citizens before the Great Recession (from 2001 to 2007), which stood at 53%. This shift is because the baby boomer generation has higher stock ownership rates than previous generations, and they have continued to hold onto stocks as they’ve aged into the 65-and-older category. Since 2001, over 60% of baby boomers have maintained stock ownership, while ownership among the older Silent Generation has remained in the mid-to-low 50% range.

Today, stock ownership among older Americans is similar to most other age groups, except for young adults at 41%. Sixty-seven percent of those aged 30 to 49 and 66% of those aged 50 to 64 also own stocks.

The ownership of stocks is closely tied to household income in the United States. Over 80% of Americans with an annual household income of $75,000 or higher possess stock investments. This includes 80% of those earning between $75,000 and $99,999 and 84% of those with incomes exceeding $100,000.

For households earning between $30,000 and $74,999, approximately 51% own stock, while about 24% of those earning less than $30,000 have stock investments.

Moreover, married and employed Americans are more inclined to own stocks compared to their unmarried and non-working counterparts. This trend likely stems from disparities in income between these groups.

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Data : Gallup Poll / Vizualized By Professpost.com

The significant decline in stock values during the Great Recession and financial crisis discouraged new investors from entering the stock market and prompted existing investors to shift their money elsewhere. This led to a prolonged decrease in stock ownership that spanned more than a decade. Many potential investors missed out on the stock market’s recovery, which culminated in the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaching a historic daily closing high in January 2022.

However, stock ownership rates have since rebounded, returning to levels last seen in 2008. This resurgence can be attributed to stocks reestablishing themselves as a reliable long-term investment option, coupled with increased income gains among Americans that have provided them with more resources to invest in the stock market.

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