Income and Wealth Inequality

The Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) 2018 was published on 30 January 2020. Data within the publication were revised on 4th June 2020. These data revisions were due to the re-calibration of weights used in the estimation of HFCS statistics. Data within the publication were revised again on 16 May 2023. These data revisions were primarily due to the supplementing of survey data with the Central Credit Register, an administrative data source obtained by the CSO in 2021. All content relating to HFCS 2018, including the Electronic Publication text, graphs and tables, Infographic, Press Release and PxStat tables, now reflect the revised data.  Details as to the extent and impact of these revisions on previously published data can be found in the HFCS 2018 Revisions Information Note.

Wealth Inequality

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Lorenz Curve

Figure 8.1 plots the Lorenz curve of net household wealth for 2018. This curve is a graphical representation of the relationship between the cumulative share of households (ranked according to the level of wealth from lowest to highest) and their cumulative share of total wealth.  A perfectly equal wealth distribution would be one in which each household has the same wealth, therefore ten percent of households would own ten percent of cumulative wealth, twenty percent of households would own twenty percent of wealth (and so on). This scenario is depicted in Figure 8.1 by the 45o line, the line of perfect equality. The further away a curve is from the line of perfect equality the more unequal the distribution.

Gini Coefficient

The Gini coefficient is a statistical measure of inequality. A Gini coefficient value of zero denotes perfect equality, indicating that wealth is distributed equally amongst all households. A Gini Coefficient of 1 would denote perfect inequality where all the wealth is held by one household. The Gini coefficient for net wealth in 2018 is 0.70.

% Cumulative Households 0 Perfect Equality 2018 Net Household Wealth 0 -0.9 1 -1.1 2 -1.2 3 -1.2 4 -1.2 5 -1.2 6 -1.2 7 -1.3 8 -1.3 9 -1.3 10 -1.3 11 -1.3 12 -1.2 13 -1.2 14 -1.2 15 -1.2 16 -1.2 17 -1.2 18 -1.2 19 -1.2 20 -1.2 21 -1.1 22 -1.1 23 -1.1 24 -1 25 -1 26 -0.9 27 -0.9 28 -0.8 29 -0.7 30 -0.6 31 -0.5 32 -0.3 33 -0.1 34 0.1 35 0.3 36 0.5 37 0.7 38 1 39 1.3 40 1.6 41 1.9 42 2.2 43 2.5 44 2.9 45 3.3 46 3.7 47 4.1 48 4.5 49 5 50 5.5 51 5.9 52 6.5 53 7 54 7.5 55 8.1 56 8.7 57 9.3 58 10 59 10.6 60 11.3 61 12 62 12.7 63 13.5 64 14.3 65 15.1 66 15.9 67 16.8 68 17.7 69 18.6 70 19.5 71 20.5 72 21.5 73 22.5 74 23.5 75 24.7 76 25.7 77 27 78 28.1 79 29.5 80 30.7 81 32.1 82 33.6 83 35.2 84 36.8 85 38.3 86 40.3 87 42.1 88 44 89 46.2 90 48.5 91 50.8 92 53.5 93 56.4 94 59.5 95 63 96 67.2 97 71.9 98 77.6 99 87.7 100 100

Income and Wealth Inequality

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The Gini coefficient for gross household income is 0.43 in 2018 indicating that net wealth is distributed more unequally than gross household income, (see Figure 8.2).

The Survey on Income and Living Conditions is the official source of income inequality statistics, where income inequality measures are based on equivalised disposable income, rather than on gross household income, see link here.

% Cumulative Households 0 1 Perfect Equality 2018 Gross Household Income 2018 Net Household Wealth 0 0 -0.9 1 0.1 -1.1 2 0.2 -1.2 3 0.4 -1.2 4 0.6 -1.2 5 0.8 -1.2 6 1 -1.2 7 1.2 -1.3 8 1.4 -1.3 9 1.6 -1.3 10 1.9 -1.3 11 2.1 -1.3 12 2.4 -1.2 13 2.6 -1.2 14 2.9 -1.2 15 3.2 -1.2 16 3.4 -1.2 17 3.8 -1.2 18 4 -1.2 19 4.4 -1.2 20 4.8 -1.2 21 5.1 -1.1 22 5.5 -1.1 23 5.9 -1.1 24 6.3 -1 25 6.7 -1 26 7.1 -0.9 27 7.5 -0.9 28 7.9 -0.8 29 8.4 -0.7 30 8.9 -0.6 31 9.3 -0.5 32 9.8 -0.3 33 10.3 -0.1 34 10.8 0.1 35 11.3 0.3 36 11.8 0.5 37 12.4 0.7 38 12.9 1 39 13.5 1.3 40 14.1 1.6 41 14.7 1.9 42 15.4 2.2 43 16 2.5 44 16.7 2.9 45 17.3 3.3 46 18 3.7 47 18.7 4.1 48 19.4 4.5 49 20.2 5 50 20.9 5.5 51 21.7 5.9 52 22.5 6.5 53 23.2 7 54 24 7.5 55 25 8.1 56 25.8 8.7 57 26.6 9.3 58 27.5 10 59 28.4 10.6 60 29.3 11.3 61 30.3 12 62 31.3 12.7 63 32.3 13.5 64 33.3 14.3 65 34.4 15.1 66 35.4 15.9 67 36.5 16.8 68 37.6 17.7 69 38.8 18.6 70 40 19.5 71 41.2 20.5 72 42.4 21.5 73 43.7 22.5 74 44.9 23.5 75 46.3 24.7 76 47.7 25.7 77 49 27 78 50.4 28.1 79 51.9 29.5 80 53.3 30.7 81 54.9 32.1 82 56.4 33.6 83 57.9 35.2 84 59.6 36.8 85 61.3 38.3 86 63 40.3 87 64.8 42.1 88 66.7 44 89 68.4 46.2 90 70.4 48.5 91 72.5 50.8 92 74.7 53.5 93 76.7 56.4 94 79.2 59.5 95 81.7 63 96 84.5 67.2 97 87.6 71.9 98 90.8 77.6 99 95.5 87.7 100 100 100