The Percentage Of Adult Americans That Own Investment Gold Is…

This afternoon I was over at my parents’ place helping my dad change out the inkjet cartridges on his multifunction printer when a cheesy gold commercial appeared on the FOX News channel. The number of these advertisements sure have grown in the last few years. Some people have even gone so far as to claim gold must be in a bubble with all these types of commercials on TV these days.

Seeing that ad made me wonder- what percentage of adult Americans own investment gold (coins/bullion)?

One might think that with the solid performance of the yellow metal over the last decade or so, the growing attention given to it in the financial mainstream media (yet nowhere near as with paper assets), and, of course, all the TV commercials, Main Street just can’t get enough of it.

However, while no one knows for sure the exact percentage that owns investment gold (people generally don’t like to share this info), that number looks to be in the single digits when some reliable sources are consulted.

A few years ago I spotted an article on the NumisMaster.com website (a coin collector/investor site from Krause Publications). Patrick A. Heller wrote the following “Market Update” for June 16, 2009:

…it isn’t much of a surprise that a relatively low percentage of investors own gold. One report I read said that 48 percent of American adults own corporate stocks, either directly or through mutual funds or retirement accounts. The only guesses I can find for the percentage of adult Americans who own investment gold range from three percent to nine percent.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Long-time gold watcher Michael J. Kosares, who’s headed USAGOLD-Centennial Precious Metals since 1973, believes that even three percent might be too high. He wrote in an October 2011 special report entitled “Alternative Misery Index drives gold demand” that:

The number of people who actually own investment gold in the United States is miniscule when compared to those who own stocks — no matter what the polls say. 34% of Americans say gold is the best long-term investment, but how many of that 34% actually own it in the form of coins and bullion? No one has that figure, but my guess would be less than 1% (of the total population) and I doubt I am all that far from the truth. Compare that with the number of people who own stocks — 10% of the population reportedly owns 85% of the stocks.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Now, Eric King, who hosted the Financial Sense Newshour some time ago in impressive fashion, wrote on his King World News website back on October 25, 2010, about John Embry, Chief Investment Strategist for Sprott Asset Management. He attributed the following quote to Embry as it concerns a purported gold and silver bubble:

Jimmy Rogers, who is one of the world’s leading authorities on commodities, dealt with the bubble issue recently by recounting an interesting anecdote. While addressing a group of high-end money managers, he inquired as to how many of them held gold or silver in their accounts and, remarkably, 75 percent replied that they had never owned either precious metal.

As far as I’m concerned, that put to rest any idea that we are even remotely close to a bubble in gold or silver.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

So, the percentage of adult Americans that own investment gold? Still less than 10 percent is probably a safe guess.

Sources:

Heller, Patrick A. “Even Now Few Own Gold.” Numismaster.com. 16 June 2009. (http://www.numismaster.com/ta/numis/Article.jsp?ad=article&ArticleId=6794). 9 Feb. 2012.

Kosares, Michael J. “Alternative Misery Index drives gold demand.” USAGold.com. Oct. 2011. (http://www.usagold.com/amk/specialreportoct2011.html). 9 Feb. 2012.

King, Eric. “John Embry – Gold & Silver Commercial Signal Failure.” KingWorldNews.com. 25 Oct. 2010. (http://kingworldnews.com/kingworldnews/KWN_DailyWeb/Entries/2010/10/25_John_Embry_-_Gold_%26_Silver_Commercial_Signal_Failure.html). 9 Feb. 2012.

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