NU Online News Service, Oct. 4, 12:15 p.m. – Fifty-two percent of U.S. households own mutual funds, according to a survey conducted by the Investment Company Institute, Washington.

The estimated number of U.S. households owning mutual funds grew to 54.8 million in the year ending in May 2001, from 49% of U.S. households, or 51.7 million households, in the year ending May 2000.

The number of individuals owning mutual funds rose to 93.3 million from 89.7 million in 2000. Consequently, one out of every three individuals in the U.S. now owns mutual funds.

ICI says mutual fund ownership through defined contribution plans accounts for a large part of the increase in ownership.

One-third of U.S. households, or 33%, owned mutual funds through employer-sponsored retirement funds as of May 2001, ICI says.

The survey also found that fund ownership increases with income. As of May 2001, 35% of all households with income less than $50,000 owned mutual funds compared with 74% for households with incomes over $50,000.