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VERIFY: More than 80% of the stocks in the US are owned by the wealthiest 10%

A viral TikTok video got us to look into the claim. We found the number of stocks owned by a small group is increasing.

WASHINGTON — The stock market is going through rollercoaster changes during this pandemic. That has led to several theories about what’s behind ups and downs.

The Verify team is here to separate fact from fiction on the bulls and bears. There is a viral TikTok video where a social activist in the video claims that 80% of the stocks are owned by the top 10% of earners.

Question: 

“Is it true 80% of the stocks are owned by the wealthiest 10% of the country?”

Answer: 

Yes, that viral video that claims 80% of stocks are owned by the top 10% of owners is true. But our experts say it may now be even higher

Our Sources:

The National Bureau of Economic Research and Stock Market Expert Peter Ricchuiti from Tulane University.

Process:

 

To track down the hard numbers, our team turned to the National Bureau of Economic Research. In 2018, the group performed a study on household wealth.

Their data came from the 2016 U.S. Federal Reserve’s triennial survey that looks at the finances of families across the country and income brackets. The data is the government standard for measuring the state of American families’ finances.

This chart comes from the 2018 study. 

Credit: NBER

It lists the investment assets for the top 10% of earners in the country. According to the findings, when it comes to stocks, the wealthiest 10% own 84% in the United States.

“It’s actually higher I think it’s closer to 85%,” Ricchuiti said.

Business professor Peter Ricchiuti runs Tulane University’s student stock market research program.  

Ricchuiti explained the percentage of stocks owned by the wealthiest 10% is higher in 2020 and after the pandemic that number could increase.

“If the market goes up, that gap is going to widen even more,” he said.

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