People can determine how many shares of stock they own by reviewing their brokerage statements to view the list of stocks they own. Review financial publications to learn about any stock splits in order to calculate the number of shares owned.
Brokerage statements list the name and ticker symbol of each stock a person owns, the number of shares and the value of each stock holding. Stock splits are announced by companies through financial outlets. It is called a traditional (or forward) stock split when the number of shares goes up and a reverse stock split when the number of shares goes down. A calculation can be done to determine the number of shares owned after a stock split.
When the forward stock split is used, it increases the number of shares in order to lower the price and reward shareholders. Many times, the stock prices go back up, which means a nice profit for the shareholders. The reverse stock split takes shares away from shareholders, but the cost per share increases. This is usually done to decrease the number of shares that are outstanding and increase the price per share, usually to prepare for an over-the-counter trade to a higher exchange.