By a wide margin, more metropolitan Washington household members invest in stocks than residents of any other large urban center.

According to data being made public today by the New York Stock Exchange, a nationwide survey shows that there are 694.5 shareholders for every 1,000 households in the Washington area, compared with 546.6 per 1,000 in the Detroit area, the cities closest to the D.C. market in the rankings.

Metropolitan New York, which includes the Wall Street investment community, ranks seventh in the survey with 460.0 shareholders per 1,000 households, behind the three cities already mentioned as well as Boston, San Francisco and Houston.

According to the New Youk Stock Exchange, there were 754,000 individual stockholders in the D.C. area last year, an increase of 51 percent from about 500,000 stockholders in 1975, when the number of investors in U.S. business plummeted fro early years of the decade.

The 1980 total also was up 18 percent from 641,000 stockholders in 1970, a rate of growth over the full decade exceeded only by two Sun Belt boom markets -- Houston (up 29 percent) and Dallas-Ft. Worth (up 26 percent). But the absolute number of stockholders increased more in the D.C. area during the 1970s than in any other major city market (up 113,000). The number of stockholders declined over the decade in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Chicago.

In terms of shareowners per 1,000 households in the 10 largest markets during 1980 the ranking is: Washington, 694.5; Chicago, 546.6; Detroit, 546.1; Boston, 512.3; San Francisco, 508.7; Houston, 492.1; New York, 460.2; Dallas-Ft. Worth, 456.9; Los Angeles, 433.4; and Philadelphia, 432.2.