Baby boomers and Gen Xers have the highest rates of mutual fund ownership in 2014, according to the Investment Company Institute’s annual survey of U.S. households.

Fifty-one percent of households headed by a baby boomer -- born between 1946 and 1964 -- owned mutual funds, as did 49 percent of households headed by a member of Gen X -- born between 1965 and 1980.

“This high incidence of ownership makes sense in light of the findings that among mutual fund owning households, most are headed by individuals in their peak earning years, most own mutual funds in a tax-deferred account, and nearly all are focused on retirement saving,” said Sarah Holden, ICI senior director of retirement and investor research.

The survey of over 6,000 households also reported that 32 percent of households headed by an adult millennial (which the study defined as born between 1981 and 1996) and 31 percent of silent-generation households (born between 1904 and 1945) owned mutual funds.

Among all U.S. households, an estimated 53.2 million households, or 43.3 percent, owned mutual funds, the survey found.

Of those, 50 million households owned mutual funds in tax-deferred accounts through employer-sponsored retirement plans, individual retirement accounts and variable annuities.

One of the financial goals for 91 percent of mutual fund owners was saving for retirement. It was the primary goal for almost three-quarters of those polled.

In addition, 83 percent of households held more than one fund and 86 percent owned equity funds.

A fund's performance continues to be the most important factor for two-thirds of investors when shaping their views of the industry as a whole.

The survey also found that more than nine in 10 households owning mutual funds had Internet access.