Question of the Day: What percent of American families invest in the stock market?

May 19, 2021
Question of the Day, Investing, Stocks, Mutual Funds, Index Funds

Answer: 52.6%


  • When do you hope to start investing in the stock market? 
  • This data is from a 2019 Federal Reserve survey. Do you think more families have invested in the past two years? 
  • This data shows that only 15% of families own individual stocks. Why do you think that most investors choose funds (indirect) which are collections of stocks rather than individual stocks (direct)? 

Click here for the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.

Behind the numbers (USA Facts):

The average stock owner is most likely to be invested through mutual funds and retirement plans.  There are different ways to acquire stock. People who buy stock on their own become direct owners. But people can invest in other ways, including actively managed mutual funds or passive versions like index funds, as well as through retirement plans that put their money in the stock market. Those avenues result in indirect ownership. Only 15% of US families directly owned stock in 2019; most families who owned stock in 2019 did so indirectly.


Want to give your students experience of what it feels like to invest in the stock market? Have them play NGPF's STAX Arcade game.


About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.