- Public companies (~4,900)
- Private companies (~6,100,000)
Donut chart shows 99.9% of companies are privately owned (~6,100,000), with just 0.1% (~4,900) publicly owned.
Line chart tracks the rise and fall in the number of publicly owned companies.
Y-axis: Number of firms listed on the NYSE and NASDAQ; x-axis, 1980-2021
The number of publicly owned companies rose from over 5,000 in 1980 to a recent high of over 8,000 in the late 1990s. Since then, it has seen a 40% drop, reaching approximately 4,900 companies in February of 2022.
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, World Federation of Exchanges, and Wells Fargo Investment Institute. Data from January 1, 1980 to February 28, 2022. NYSE = New York Stock Exchange. ~ = approximately. NASDAQ = National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations.
Alternative investments, such as private equity funds, are not appropriate for all investors and are only open to “accredited” or “qualified” investors within the meaning of the U.S. securities laws. They are speculative and entail significant risks that are appropriate only for those investors who have the financial sophistication and expertise to evaluate the merits and risks of an investment in a fund and for which the fund does not represent a complete investment program.
- The majority of companies remain private, which inherently offers private capital strategies a robust opportunity set.
- The delist rate since 2000 is due to an unusually high rate of acquisitions of publicly listed firms.