Richest 1% of population accounts for 7.1% of total household disposable income

The richest 1% of the population accounts for just over 7% of total household disposable income according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures.

The share of income accounted for by the richest 1% of the population has remained “relatively stable” in recent years, averaging 7.1% between 2011 and 2018, the ONS said.

However, this share is down from 9.6% and 9.0% reached around 2008 and 2010 respectively – the period immediately before and during the economic downturn.

Disposable income is the money households have available for spending and saving after direct taxes have been accounted for. It includes earnings from employment, private pensions and investments as well as cash benefits provided by the state.

Household income inequality increased slightly in the financial year ending in 2018, the ONS said – although income inequality remains lower than it was 11 years ago.

The ONS said median average household disposable income in the UK was £28,400 last year – a figure which was broadly unchanged compared with the previous year.

This “levelling off” follows a period since 2013 when incomes had been rising by around 2.2% annually.

The ONS said the average income of the richest fifth of the population increased by 4.7%, while the average income of the poorest fifth contracted by 1.6%.

But, over the longer term, it is the average income of the poorest fifth that has risen the most, up 11.6% since 2008, whilst the income of the richest fifth has risen by 4.9% over the same period.

Growth in the median average income of people in retired households was also broadly unchanged in the financial year ending 2018 compared with the previous year, with a median average of £23,900.

Dominic Webber, head of household income and expenditure analysis, ONS, said: “While our report highlights a contraction in average income for the poorest fifth of the population, the longer-term trend has seen this group’s income rise the most.

“As such it may be too early to draw definite conclusions from this specific downtick.”

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