November 18, 2013

Dow soars, but only about half of Americans will benefit


About half of all Americans own stocks, either directly or indirectly.

The stock markets have been on a tear this year, epitomized today by both the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 index hitting round-number milestones. The Dow crossed 16,000 and is up about 22% this year; the S&P briefly popped above 1,800 and, though it’s slipped back below that level, is still up about 26% for the year. But only about half of Americans — especially those who tend to be white, wealthy and more educated — will see any benefit from surging stocks.


Gallup’s annual economy and finance survey, conducted in April, found 52% of Americans saying they owned stock, either directly or through a mutual fund, retirement account or other investment vehicle. The ownership share dropped sharply after the 2007-08 financial crisis and has continued falling throughout the nation’s wobbly recovery. (A Pew Research Center survey conducted in March found a somewhat lower ownership share — only 45% of Americans in that survey said they had money in the market.)

Our survey found that stock ownership was sharply differentiated by age, race and socioeconomic status: More than half (55%) of whites, for instance, said they were invested in stocks, compared with 28% of blacks and 17% of Hispanics. 77% of college graduates reported being invested in stocks (versus less than half of non-graduates), and 80% of people with incomes of $75,000 or more, compared with 55% of people with incomes of $30,000 to $75,000 and just 15% of people with incomes below $30,000.



Category: Daily Number

Topics: Economics and Personal Finances

  1. Photo of Drew DeSilver

    is a senior writer at Pew Research Center.


  1. Packard Day4 years ago


    I think you understate just how dramatic the wealth gap has grown between the top 10% and the bottom 90% vis a vis a stock market on rocket fuel these past five years. While half of the country’s households may own stocks in one way or another, only the top 10% really had much of a significant position at the beginning of 2009 to take advantage of the enormous profits now experienced.

    It is indeed ironic, isn’t it? During the Obama Administration, never have the rich gotten so much richer in a shorter period of time while 90% of their countrymen either languished or actually lost ground with regard to their own household’s net worth.

  2. Martin Screeton4 years ago

    This actually looks a little rosier than the street looks like here in Indiana. There is a low key growing disconnected rumble about not being able to even maintain an a household let alone save money. Non-union, no benefits jobs that pay just above poverty level wages for a single household does not propel the economy forward nor grow and expand it. The feelings about the stock market around here is that its totally disconnected from reality of our everyday lives.