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VOO vs. VTI: Choosing the Right Index Fund for Your Portfolio

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3 min read

VOO and VTI are popular Index Funds among everyday investors. There are several similarities and differences between theses investment options.

Bullish vs. Bearish

Index Funds have been at the forefront of democratizing investing, allowing everyday investors access to diversified portfolios that were once only available to large institutional investors or high-net-worth individuals.

Two such ETFs, both offered by Vanguard, the VOO (Vanguard S&P 500 ETF) and VTI (Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF), are popular options for investors looking to invest inU.S..S. equities. Like other index funds such as VOO and SPY, these two index funds are very similar but also have some key differences.

In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into the differences and similarities between these two index funds to help you choose the one that suits your investing goals.

Quick Comparison

Index TrackingVOO tracks the S&P 500 index, which includes around 500 of the largest publicly-traded companies in the U.S.VTI tracks the CRSP U.S. Total Market Index, which represents nearly 100% of the investable U.S. stock market and includes nearly 3,000 stocks.
Expense Ratio.03%. For every $10,000 invested, only $3 goes toward the fund’s operating expenses..03%. Every $10,000 invested, only $3 goes towards the fund’s operating expenses.
Historical Performance (10 Year)385.32%365.92%
Minimum Investment1 Share1 Share
Dividend Yield (10-Year Average)1.93%1.91%

Overview: VOO vs. VTI

The first important difference to note is the underlying index each fund tracks. The Vanguard VOO tracks the S&P 500 Index, which includes about 500 of the largest U.S. companies. On the other hand, the VTI tracks the CRSP U.S. Total Market Index, which represents nearly 100% of the investable U.S. stock market. This includes over 3500 stocks, from mega-cap companies to small-cap firms.

Thus, the main difference between these two ETFs is their exposure to the total stock market in the United States.

Head-to-Head Comparison

Below we look at several key categories comparing VOO and VTI, including historical performance, returns, dividend yield, fees, index composition, and diversification.

Historical Performance

The performance of VOO and VTI has historically been very similar because of the high overlap in their holdings. As large-cap stocks dominate both indices, the overall performance difference between the two is small.



as of 5/21/23

For example, over the past 5 years, VOO outperformed VTI by approximately 7%, after accounting for dividends and splits.

However, past performance is not indicative of future results. Thus, an investor must consider other factors, such as risk tolerance, investment goals, and market outlook, when deciding between VTI and VOO.

vti vs. voo historical performance

Dividend Yield

The dividend yield for both VOO and VTI can vary depending on market conditions, but they have historically been quite close to each other because both funds are heavily weighted toward large-cap stocks, which tend to have similar dividend policies.

Since 2012, the dividend yields for both VOO and VTI have typically ranged between 1% and 2%, with VOO having a highly higher dividend yield of 1.93% vs. 1.91% for VTI. However, these rates can fluctuate based on market conditions and changes in the dividends paid by the companies in their portfolios.

VTI vs. VOO Dividend Yield
VOO vs. VTI Dividend Yield. Source: PortfoliosLab.com


When it comes to ETFs,U.S.hU.S.expense ratio is an important consideration. Both VOO and VTI come with a low expense ratio of 0.03%. Vanguard is well known for its investor-friendly, low-cost approach, and ETFss illustrate this principle. So, if you’re concerned about fees, there is no discernable difference between VOO and VTI.

Index Composition

VOO and VTI are both Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) offered by Vanguard, but they track different indices and thus offer different types of exposure to the US stock market.

As mentioned earlier, VTI offers exposure to a much broader range of stocks compared to VOO. It includes large-cap, mid-cap, and small-cap stocks. So, if your goal is to have maximum diversification within the US equities market, VTI might be a better choice.

However, it’s important to understand that the S&P 500 index (tracked by VOO) covers approximately 80% of the market capitalization of the US stock market. This means that even though VOO holds fewer stocks, it still represents a large portion of the US economy.


VOO tracks the S&P 500 index, which is composed of 500 of the largest companies in the United States. While this does provide a good amount of diversification among large-cap stocks, it does not include mid-cap or small-cap stocks.

On the other hand, VTI tracks the CRSP US Total Market Index, which includes essentially all publicly traded U.S. stocks. This index includes large-cap stocks, but also includes mid-cap and small-cap stocks. and includes more than 3,000 different stocks.

In terms of diversification, VTI has a broader exposure across the entire market cap spectrum, whereas VOO is focused solely on large-cap stocks.

While both can be part of a well-diversified portfolio, an investment in VTI would offer more diversification because of its broader market coverage. It’s also worth noting that because there is significant overlap in the stocks they cover, the performance of VOO and VTI tends to be fairly similar over time. However, in certain market conditions, one may outperform the other.

Remember, diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss, it’s a strategy used to spread risk. Always consider your own investment goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon when choosing your investments.

Conclusion: VOO or VTI?

Deciding between VOO and VTI depends on your individual investment strategy and risk tolerance. If you’re interested in casting a wider net with exposure to the entire U.S. stock market, including small and mid-cap companies, then VTI might be your best choice.

If you prefer sticking to the large-cap universe and believe in the power of the 500 largest U.S. companies, then VOO could be the better option for you.

Both ETFs have a solid track record, low expense ratios, and offer diversified exposure to U.S. stocks. Remember, no one-size-fits-all in investing. Consider your financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment horizon before making a decision.

Disclaimer: The content in this blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. Please conduct your own research or consult your financial advisor before making investment decisions.

Real World Investor


Adam is the founder of realworldinvestor.com, an investing website dedicated to helping discerning individuals make the best investment decisions.

Before starting Real World Investor, he was a Senior Vice President at one of the country's largest investment banks. He has over 10 years of experience working in financial services. His experience includes working with complex derivatives while spending many years working on a trading floor.

He has a bachelor's degree in Business Administration, majoring in finance.