Updated May 9, 2019

Lottery Winner Statistics: 23 Eye-Popping Facts

It costs you nothing to fantasize about winning the lottery. So join us as we go through 23 statistics about what happens to the winners.

© mmarchin (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

Winning the lottery is a fantasy for most people, but that doesn't stop Americans from spending close to $70 billion a year on tickets and wasting most of it.

If the lure of the lottery has you daydreaming about spending your days on a tropical island somewhere, check out these 23 incredible statistics on hitting it big.


  1. What are the odds of winning the lottery?
    Lottery winners make headlines pretty regularly but in reality, people aren't taking home the prize as often as you think. Statistically, the odds of winning are about 1 in 175 million.

  2. Which state sells the most lottery tickets?
    The Empire State boasts the highest volume of lottery sales annually. New Yorkers are shelling out more than $9 billion a year to try their luck in the lotto.

  3. Which state sells the least?
    If you're looking for people who've been bitten by lottery fever, North Dakota is one state you'll want to cross off your list. In 2014, residents racked up a measly $26.95 million in lottery purchases.

  4. What's the largest lottery jackpot ever won?
    The biggest haul ever recorded for a Mega Millions jackpot is a whopping $656 million, which was split by three winners in Illinois, Kansas, and Maryland back in 2012. The largest Powerball jackpot came a year later, when a single Florida winner took home $590 million.

  5. What amount of lottery winnings goes unclaimed each year?
    Just because people are winning the lottery doesn't mean they're walking away with a load of cash. It's estimated that as much as $800 million in winnings are left on the table every year.

  6. Do men or women play the lottery more often?
    There's a pretty distinct difference in the gambling behaviors between the sexes. According to one study, men play the lottery every 18 days versus every 11 days for women.

  7. What age group plays the most?
    Taking a chance on winning the lottery is something you're more likely to do when you're young. Approximately 70% of 20- and 30-somethings buy at least one lottery ticket a year compared to 45% of seniors age 70 or older.


  1. How much money do lottery winners give away to friends and family?
    Spending millions of dollars all on your own is not as much fun as sharing the wealth. A study of 3,000 British winners who won $1 million or more found that a staggering $1.8 billion was handed over to friends and family.

  2. How much do winners spend on vacations?
    Hopping on a jet and heading off on a luxury vacation is a lot easier when you've got millions in the bank. That same study of millionaire winners found that they spent some $33 million on vacations, with the average trip costing around $11,000.

  3. How many new homes are purchased by lottery winners?
    Buying or building a new home or a second home is something plenty of winners do. The 3,000 winners in the British study bought nearly 8,000 new homes and paid off 3,700 mortgages for friends or family members.

  4. How often are lottery winners buying new cars?
    In addition to homes, the winners in the British study also snapped up more than 17,000 new cars, with an average purchase price of a cool $73,000. The most popular brand? Audi, with Range Rover coming in a close second.

  5. How many lottery winners go broke within 5 years?
    Winning the lottery is a long shot but holding on to the money is the real challenge. In one study of Florida winners, 70% of them had spent every last dime of their jackpot within 5 years of winning.

  6. What percentage of lottery winners eventually file for bankruptcy?
    It's hard to imagine filing for bankruptcy after winning thousands or even millions of dollars, but that's exactly what happens in some cases. Statistically, 1% of lottery winners in the Florida study went bankrupt annually.

  7. Are big winners more likely than small winners to lose it all?
    Winning more or less money doesn't impact the odds of going broke in the long term. In the Florida study, winners who took home between $50,000 and $150,000 were half as likely to file bankruptcy in the first two years, but once they got to the 3- to 5-year mark, the frequency was the same.


  1. What percentage of people say winning the lottery made them happier?
    Suddenly finding yourself on the receiving end of millions of dollars can certainly boost your mood, at least temporarily. In one survey, 75% of respondents reported feeling happier after winning the lottery.

  2. What's the most common reason for their increased happiness?
    That same survey also showed that financial security is the number one reason for an uptick in happiness among lottery winners. Nearly 90% said they were more content because they no longer had to worry about making ends meet.

  3. What percentage of winners say they're neither more nor less happy?
    For 21% of lottery winners, coming into money didn't change their outlook on life. Among those who reported no change in their happiness levels, 71% said they were already happy before the lottery came along.

  4. What percentage say their happiness levels have gone down since winning?
    Money can't buy happiness, at least not for the 3% of lottery winners who say they've become less satisfied since their net worth increased. The reason? New pressures associated with their skyrocketing wealth.


  1. How common is divorce among lottery winners?
    Money is one of the most common topics couples fight about, but when it comes to the lottery, it actually seems to hold marriages together. The divorce rate post-winning increases only marginally by 3%.

  2. What percentage of people say they'd keep their jobs if they won?
    If you think winning the lottery is an automatic out from the 9 to 5 grind, think again. According to a Gallup poll, 67% of Americans say they'd keep working even if they were handed a $10 million prize.

  3. How many lottery winners actually stay at their jobs?
    Your views about working as a lottery winner change somewhat when it becomes a reality. In another survey of winners, only 52% of participants still had a job or were self-employed.

  4. How does winning the lottery affect your political views?
    One unintended side effect of winning the lottery is how it shapes your ideological outlook. One study found that 18% of lottery players changed their political affiliation after winning, with 45% of people overall choosing a more conservative slant.

  5. Does winning make you choose healthier habits?
    With the exception of smoking, winning the lottery doesn't deter people from minding their health. Approximately 41% of winners exercise multiple times per week and 68% of them steer clear of cigarettes.


There's more to the lottery than just a giant check. For some people, winning the lottery is a big blessing but for others, life continues much as it always has. Ultimately, whether winning turns out to be a dream come true or a total bust all comes down to how savvy the winners are when it comes to managing their newfound wealth.

Sources and References:

Rebecca Lake is a journalist at CreditDonkey, a personal finance comparison and reviews website. Write to Rebecca Lake at rebecca@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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