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Jacksonville area among markets where residents are investing more, study says (Courtesy of the Jacksonville Business Journal) — The Jacksonville is among the U.S. markets with the most investing activity, according to a new analysis from SmartAsset.

The region ranked No. 20 in a study of 198 metro areas, with a focus on four investment income types: taxable interest, ordinary dividends, qualified dividends and capital gains.

SmartAsset used Internal Revenue Service data to determine which metro areas experienced the most gains in the four-year period between 2013 and 2017.

SmartAsset combined those metrics to create an index to show where investment activity grew.

The Fort Walton Beach area came in No. 1 in the country, with a 50.62% increase in average ordinary dividends, the seventh-highest jump for this metric in the study. Tax returns reporting capital gains increased 1.33 percentage points there and the four-year change in average qualified dividends rose 62.04% from 2013 to 2017.

Jacksonville came in No. 20 with a 1% increase in the number of tax returns reporting capital games and a 0.12% bump in the number reporting ordinary dividends. The average increase in dividend amount in Jacksonville was 20.61% and the increase in capital gains was 101.4%

Five other Florida metros were among the top 25 U.S. markets with the most investment activity, including the Fort Walton Beach area (No. 1), Naples (No. 2), South Florida (No. 4), Bradenton (No. 11), Orlando (No. 18) and Tampa (No. 19).

Fifty-two percent of U.S. households – including 66% of households with annual salaries between $53,000 and $100,000 – are invested in the stock market, according to a March study from the Pew Research Center.

Online brokerages and low-fee trading apps have lowered the barriers of entry for younger investors in particular: 41% of people under the age of 35 owned some stock in early 2020, Pew reports.