In 1952, the New York Stock Exchange conducted a survey to see how many Americans participated in the stock market. The findings were sobering: just 6.5 million individuals owned shares in publicly traded companies — a mere 6 percent of the adult population.Whole thing here.
By contrast, in the century’s first three decades, the number of individual shareholders had risen from some 1 million to 10 million, all in a less populous America.
The Great Crash of 1929 still cast a long shadow in the early 1950s. The Dow Jones Industrial Average remained below its pre-Crash high. Savings bonds were the investment of choice, while stocks retained a dicey reputation. Nearly 70 percent of families with annual incomes over $3,000 said they were opposed to buying stocks.
UPDATE: I'll be discussing this article on the Gabe Wisdom Show on Tues., 6/29 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Options for listening live or via the archive are available at the show's website, and the interview will later be available here.