Gold is an incredibly rare element, which is what makes it so valuable. In fact, it’s rarer to find a 1-ounce gold nugget than it is to find a 5-carat diamond. That rarity certainly shines through in the following six gold stats, which portray the vastness of the gold market before melting it down into a more personal context, showing the immense value gold packs into such a small space.
America hoards more gold than any other nation
The United States government has 8,133.5 metric tons of gold in vaults across the country, about half of which is at Fort Knox. That’s more than any other nation in the world. In fact, not only are the country’s reserves more than double those of the next largest gold-hoarding nation, Germany, but America also has more gold reserves than the next four largest holders of gold combined.
But that isn’t as much gold as you may think
While 8,133.5 metric tons of gold sounds like a lot, it’s not when viewed from a more personal context. For example, there are 32,150 Troy ounces in one metric ton, meaning America has roughly 261.5 million Troy ounces of gold in reserve. For perspective, the country’s total population is 319 million, so that’s less than an ounce per person. Though if we exclude the kids, we have enough gold in reserve so that every adult can have about 1 ounce apiece.
Another way to put America’s gold reserves into context is to compare it to global gold production. In 2015, global gold miners produced a record 3,155 metric tons, or about a third the size of America’s reserves. The leading producer was Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX), which produced 6.12 million ounces of gold that year. That was a tiny fraction of Barrick Gold’s resources, which are the largest among miners at an estimated 91.9 million ounces. That’s more gold reserves than any other nation, except for the U.S. and Germany.
America’s reserves are worth a mind-blowing amount
America’s gold reserves are very valuable. At the current price of roughly $1,200 an ounce, the country’s 261.5 million-ounce stockpile is worth about $314 billion. Given our current population, that’s around $1,000 for every person in the country, which is a lot of money, considering that nearly 70% of the nation has less than that amount sitting in their savings account.
But that’s actually not much money
However, in the grand scheme of things, it’s pocket change. Take the country’s national debt, for example, which at last check clocked in at nearly $20 trillion. That works out to more than $61,500 per U.S. citizen. In fact, America’s national debt is more than twice the size of the entire gold market.