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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Concentrated Ownership of Stock

The wealthiest 10% of Americans now own 89% of all U.S. stocks held by households, a record high that highlights the stock market’s role in increasing wealth inequality.

The top 1% gained more than $6.5 trillion in corporate equities and mutual fund wealth during the Covid-19 pandemic, while the bottom 90% added $1.2 trillion, according to the latest data from the Federal Reserve. The share of corporate equities and mutual funds owned by the top 10% reached the record high in the second quarter, while the bottom 90% of Americans held about 11% of individually held stocks, down from 12% before the pandemic.

The stock market, which has nearly doubled since the March 2020 drop and is up nearly 40% since January 2020, was the main source of wealth creation in America during the pandemic — as well as the main driver of inequality. The total wealth of the top 1% now tops 32%, a record, according to the Fed data. Nearly 70% of their wealth gains over the past year and a half — one of the fastest wealth booms in recent history — came from stocks.