Americans’ Opinions of the Best Long-Term Investment

Cryptocurrency Infrequently Named as Best Investment


  • Eight percent choose cryptocurrency as best long-term investment
  • Real estate leads; stocks and gold are next
  • Younger adults are more positive about cryptocurrency

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Eight percent of U.S. adults choose cryptocurrency as the best long-term investment from a list of six investment options. Cryptocurrency is on par with savings accounts or CDs (10%) but well behind real estate (45%), stocks (18%) and gold (15%). Americans are least likely to say bonds are the best investment.

Cryptocurrency is a digital asset that is not issued or backed by a bank or government authority; it can be bought, traded and used for cash like other investments.

Since 2002, Gallup has regularly asked Americans to name what they see as the best long-term investment among various options, adding gold to the list in 2011 and cryptocurrency this year. The sample of 1,019 adults in the April 1-19 poll was randomly divided. Half of respondents were asked the 2011-2021 wording that includes real estate, stocks, gold, savings accounts and bonds; and half were offered a choice of cryptocurrency in addition to those five options.

Real estate was the top option for both samples, receiving 45% of the vote in each version of the question. Most of the votes for cryptocurrency come at the expense of stocks, chosen by 24% of those who were not asked about cryptocurrency and 18% of those who were.

The other investments’ results changed by one percentage point, or not at all, when cryptocurrency was included.

Younger Investors More Positive About Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is more appealing to younger investors, with 13% of those under 50 saying it is the best investment, compared with 2% of those over 50. In fact, cryptocurrency ties with stocks as the second-best choice of investments among adults under 50, behind real estate.

Real estate is the top option among both age groups, although younger adults (53%) are much more likely than older adults (37%) to believe it is the best investment choice. Older Americans are more likely than younger Americans to believe stocks and gold are the best investments.

Stock Ownership Just Below 60%

The April 1-19 poll also provides Gallup’s annual update on U.S. stock ownership. It finds that 58% of Americans say they own stocks, slightly higher than in recent years but not a statistically significant increase.

Before the Great Recession, stock ownership consistently averaged above 60% among U.S. adults, but it has been at that level since 2008.

Stock ownership is common among upper-income Americans; 89% of those living in households with annual incomes of $100,000 or more own stock. That compares with 61% of middle-income Americans and 25% of lower-income Americans. Most other demographic differences in stock ownership, such as by educational attainment, race and age, are likely tied to income differences within those groups.

Bottom Line

Cryptocurrency is a relatively new investment option. Americans overall don’t see it as one of the top investment options yet, but that could change in the future because many younger adults already consider it a viable investment choice. Bitcoin, arguably the most well-known cryptocurrency, is currently worth about $30,000 per unit and had been worth over $60,000 per unit late last year. However, other cryptocurrencies are worth less than a dollar.

For now, with U.S. housing prices at record levels, Americans continue to perceive real estate as the best investment. The real estate market remains strong, but those record prices combined with higher interest rates could weaken it. Indeed, for the first time, a majority of Americans say it is a bad time to buy a house. If the real estate market does soften, people may begin to see other options as the best investment, as they did after the housing crash in the late 2000s.

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View complete question responses and trends (PDF download).