NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Class No Barrier To Stock Ownership

November 23, 1999

The proportion of Americans who invest in stocks has jumped 126 percent in the past 15 years, according to a study from the Cato Institute. The author of the study makes the point that these new capitalists are not confined to one class. Their ranks span every age group, income bracket, racial cohort and occupational category.

  • Some 76 million Americans now own stocks or stock mutual funds -- a figure which will advance to 80 million by next year, according to Cato projections.
  • From 1989 to 1995, the proportion of equity-owning laborers and farmers increased 106 percent, 64 percent among householders 34 years of age or younger and 80.4 percent among families with incomes under $25,000 a year.
  • About 43 percent of U.S. households own stocks -- either directly or through retirement plans.
  • Over the 1989-95 period, median stock holdings rose from $10,400 to $14,500.

The study found that companies with defined contribution or profit-sharing plans are less likely to be subject to labor strife.

Indeed, the interests of workers and companies are more closely aligned than ever before. And the class-warfare baiting of a certain strain of politician sounds increasingly anachronistic to this new breed of worker-capitalist.

Source: Richard Nadler (executive director, American Shareholders Association), "The Rise of Worker Capitalism," Policy Analysis No. 359, November 1, 1999, Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001, (202) 842-0200; Macroscope, "Citizen Capitalists," Investor's Business Daily, November 23, 1999.


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