What Percentage of Lottery Winners Go Broke? (Plus 35 More Statistics)

by Ryan Hart

Updated on December 3, 2018

In this post you’ll learn what percentage of lottery winners go broke and other shocking statistics about lotto winners.

In fact:

You’ll learn the biggest myth about how many lottery winners declare bankruptcy each year.

Let’s get started.

What Percentage of Lottery Winners Go Bankrupt?

  • The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) denies that 70 percent of lottery winners end up bankrupt within five years after receiving a large financial windfall. This is an incorrect statistic that has been credited to the organization by Time, Fortune Magazine and many others.
  • Lottery winners are more likely to declare bankruptcy within three-to-five years than the average American (CFPBS).
  • Nearly one-third of lottery winners eventually declare bankruptcy (CFPBS).

Who Plays the Lottery?

  • 55 percent of those who play lottery games at least once month have incomes of $55,000 or more (NASPL)
  • 44 percent of lottery players nationwide have incomes of $55,000 (Vision Critical)
  • 20 percent of the lottery players account for 71 percent of lottery income (NASPL)
  • Americans spend an average of $206.69 on lottery tickets each year (LendEDU).

How Many People Play the Lottery?

  • About half of Americans say they have bought a state lottery ticket within the last year (Gallup)
  • 60-80% of adults over 18 purcahse a lottery ticket at one time or another (Weinstein and Deitch).
  • 64% of lottery winners are over the age of 50 (Kaplan).

What Are the Odds of Winning the Lottery?

  • The odds of winning the lottery are greater than getting struck by lightning. Over 1,300 tickets won at least $1,000,000 on either Powerball or Mega Millions from 2013 to 2015. Only 67 lightning fatalities occured during the same time period in the United States where the lottery is played (NASPL)

How Do Lottery Winners Spend Their Money?

  • 37% invested in stocks, bonds or real estate (Kaplan)
  • 17% of winners used the money to liquidate debts (Kaplan)
  • 23% of winners used the money to buy a house (Kaplan)
  • 20% used some of their winnings to remodel their house (Kaplan)
  • 37% used lottery winnings to take a vacation (Kaplan)

How Many Lottery Winners Give Away Their Money?

  • 33% of winners gave money to their children (Kaplan)
  • 17% of winners gave money to relatives (Kaplan)
  • 10% gave substaintial sums to charity or churches (Kaplan)

How Much Do People Spend on Lottery Tickets?

  • U.S. lottery sales totaled $80.5 billion (USD) in 2016. Canadian sales reached $10.3 billion (CAD) during the same time period (NASPL).
  • Massachusetts residents spend an average of $734.85 on lottery tickets each year (LendEDU)
  • Rhode Island residents spend an average of $513.75 on lottery tickets each year (LendEDU)
  • Delaware residents spend an average of $420.82 on lottery tickets each year (LendEDU)
  • New York residents spend an average of $398.77 on lottery tickets each year (LendEDU)
  • West Virginia residents spend an average of $359.78 on lottery tickets each year (LendEDU)

Which States Generate the Most Revenue from Lottery Ticket Sales?

  • New York generated $9.69 billion in lottery revenue (2016)
  • California generated $6.28 billion in lottery revenue (2016)
  • Florida generated $6.06 billion in lottery revenue (2016)
  • Massachusetts generated $5.22 billion in lottery revenue (2016)
  • Texas generated $5.07 billion in lottery revenue (2016)
  • Georgia generated $4.56 billion in lottery revenue (2016)
  • Pennsylvania generated $4.14 billion in lottery revenue (2016)
  • Ohio generated $3.93 billion in lottery revenue (2016)
  • New Jersey generated $3.29 billion in lottery revenue (2016)
  • Michigan generated $3.1 billion in lottery revenue (2016)

Lottery Winner Statistics

Now It's Your Turn

And now I’d like to hear from you:

Why do you think so many lottery winners go broke?

Or maybe you have a question about one of the statistics?

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.