How Much Gold Does the Average American Own?

James McCollum

How much gold does the Normal American own? It is a simple question, but its answer might be very complicated. Firstly, no statistics show how much gold is in the US. Owners of this precious commodity might not be willing to volunteer to display information about the gold in their possession. However, it would be best to know how much gold the US owns as the global currency system is consequently reordered shortly.

To answer this question, we should discuss government gold reserves in the US. The US Treasury Department believes the country has more than 261,498,926 troy ounces, or 8,133 metric tons, of fine gold across the nation. More than half of this load, almost 4,583 metric tons, is secured at the United States Bullion Depository in Kentucky. The US Army camp protects this depository.

If these known gold reserves were distributed across the American population, the average American would own a significantly lower amount of gold. This analysis only considers rumors circulating for a long time. It says that most of the official US gold reserves have been sold or leased without the knowledge of the American people. People may still listen to these rumors because auditors last visited the Fort Knox gold reserves about 70 years ago.

Nevertheless, we are looking for something other than these numbers. Specifically, to know the amount of noble metal each US citizen owns. To know how much gold is in the United States, we need more than government statistics to give us information regarding the gold freehold in the US. Let’s try a different approach. We will use other statistics to make intelligent guesses about how much gold there is in the US.

I will explicitly remove the very wealthy personnel from this estimate to derive the best digit. It is because the wealthy might own significant amounts of expensive gold coins and gold jewelry. I will also not use gold-bug and precious metal stacker statistics because these people may own more precious metals than normal citizens. It is also best to exclude the extremely poor Americans, who may only own precious metals, a few pairs of wedding rings, and bangles.

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Gold Bullion Bars of One Troy Ounce (oz t) Sold on eBay

How much gold does American own

The primary source of gold in the United States is solid karat gold jewelry. Most karats of solid gold jewelry are between 9 karats (37.5% pure) and 18 karats (75% pure), even though most people own very little solid karat gold jewelry.

Mostly, karat gold jewelry is lightweight and has more hollow pieces. It is why karat gold jewelry is inexpensive. The average solid karat gold wedding band or women’s ring might weigh 2 to 5 grams. It contains between 1/40 and 1/8 of a troy ounce (t oz) pure gold. This means several karat gold jewelry pieces must weigh one troy ounce (t oz) of gold.

It is common to come across costume jewelry in the US population, which I can define as gold-plated or gold-filled jewelry. Gold-filled jewelry contains a thick coating of karat gold, synthesized onto a copper-alloy base. On the other hand, electro-depositing a significantly thin layer of gold onto the base metal develops gold-plated jewelry.

Gold-filled jewelry can be recycled to retrieve the gold content. Its pure gold content weighs about 2.1% to 7.5% less than the lowest solid karat gold alloys. Gold-filled jewelry is so diluted that there should be a significant amount of gold-filled ornaments to stockpile pure, noble metal.

Gold-plated jewelry’s gold content is measured in microns. The density of multiple gold plating on costumes and jewelry ranges from 0.2 to 5 microns. Therefore, electro-plated gold jewelry cannot be recycled, which is the main cause of global gold loss.

Some people who are not collectors might have random gold coins in the US. These coins are divided into modern bullion coins and the old circulated gold coins. The US federal government issued the old circulated coins in the pre-1933 era. These coins were previously exchanged for paper currency, but people needed help to circulate them easily due to the coin’s high purchasing power.

Modern bullion gold coins can also be encountered in the US. Mints from Canada, the US, Australia, Britain, and Mexico began generating gold coins in the early 1980s. Coins weighing 1/4, 1/10, and 1/20 troy ounces have been popular gifts at graduations, birthdays, and other celebrations. It means the average American can carry a modern bullion gold coin.

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Gold Bullion Coins of a Quarter Troy Ounce (oz t) Sold on eBay

Gold Bullion Coins

Considering the amount of gold per household, we might discover that most households have electronics that contain a gold component. For example, gold-plated parts are used in RAM sticks, CPUs, and other essential electrical components to develop contacts at points that may corrode. Cell phones, laptops and desktop computers, set-top TV boxes, and tablets are among the electronics that encompass gold.

These high-end gadgets contain very minimal amounts of gold. Hardware manufacturers have found ways to suppress the amount of gold in these electronics significantly. It means that it is difficult to recover gold from a scrap of these gadgets. However, an online platform like eBay has a market for these scraps. Therefore, the average American owns a few grams of gold in electronic equipment.

Also Read:  Should You Invest in Gold During a Recession?

How Much Noble Metal Does the Normal American Own?

If we answer, “How much gold does the US own?” It will reveal how much gold the average American owns. From the above discussions, the average American owns around 1/4 troy ounce (t oz) of noble metal. A huge percentage of this gold is in the form of gold coins and solid karat gold jewelry. Electronic scrap and gold-filled jewelry also consume a piece of the gold owned. Currently, gold is merchandising at $1,800/troy ounce (t oz), meaning the average American has around $450 worth of gold.

We can draw a few conclusions from the above estimate of gold ownership by the average American. Firstly, private gold holdings only add to some people’s net worth. Secondly, we can assume that the average American’s silver holdings are also significantly low. If we apply the traditional multiplier of 15x to gold holdings, we can estimate the amount of silver owned by the average American. The average American has a small value for all other tangible assets, such as antiques, gemstones, and fine art.

These findings are important. Paper asset markets are becoming highly volatile, and most Americans have them in bulk. Hard assets such as fine art, antiques, and precious metals shield the economy when the financial chaos period arrives.

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