How Many “Accredited Households” Exist in the U.S. ?

30 Aug

Many of you reading this blog know how to define an “accredited investor” (aka: angel investor)

Question is, how many “angel” investors really exist in the U.S.? It’s a question, and the answer, that has eluded me for years. However, with more attention focused on angel investing these days, numbers are now easier to come by.

There are published reports (Google, etc) that will give you a number, but I wanted to determine the information using sources I can find that are reliable. Often as well, these numbers will mix the terms of individual angel investors with the term of accredited households.

First,  let’s take a look at the July 2013 GAO report to the Securities and Exchange: “Alternative Criteria for Qualifying As An Accredited Investor Should Be Considered”.

This is a 69 page report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office generally recommending that the SEC add additional qualifications in 2014 to the “accredited Investor” criteria such as “liquid investments” and the “use of a registered advisor”. However, buried in the report are some wonderful facts related to the number of “accredited “households” that exist in the U.S.

To start:

On page 18/19, we see that the GAO uses the Survey of Consumer Finances to determine that there are 118,000,000 households in the U.S.

On pages 9/10, we see that SEC uses proprietary information (dated 2007 re: page 10) to determine the percentage number of households in the U.S. that are accredited.


1980: 1.7% (when accredited investor status first initiated)

2007: 9.0%

2010: 7.2% (after “primary residence” was removed from qualifying criteria)

However, the GAO uses information dated 2010 (page 10).


1980: not available

2007: 5.2%

2010: 2.8% (after “primary residence” was removed from qualifying criteria)

We can do a quick calculation using the SEC 2007 numbers and the GAO 2010 numbers to determine the estimated number of “accredited households” in the U.S..

SEC                                                 GAO

2007:  10,620,000                          2007: 6,136,000

2010:  8,496,000                            2010:  3,304,000

(statistical range +/- 15%)

So, from a 2010 high range using SEC numbers to a low range using GAO numbers, we can see that roughly 3, 300,000 and 8,500,000  accredited households exist in the U.S.

Surprised? So, how many exist in your state? Your town? And how many of these “accredited household” are active angel investors?  Those are my next posts….

One Response to “How Many “Accredited Households” Exist in the U.S. ?”


  1. There are 367 “active” angel investors in Atlanta, Georgia* Whaaaat?? | Invest Georgia - December 2, 2013

    […] have tackled this subject of accredited investors in a previous post, and have had a long standing interest in determining the “numbers” of active angel […]

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