The Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) 2020 was published on 19 May 2022. Since the first publication of 2020 estimates, the CCR has been retrospectively added to the 2018 data. As 2018 and 2020 estimates are now produced using the same methodology, comparisons can be made between them. This publication has been updated on 16 May 2023 and now includes references to 2018 estimates.
Net Wealth Thresholds
In 2020, households with a net wealth value greater than €788,400 belong to the wealthiest 10% of all households (the top net wealth decile). To be in the top 10% in 2018, a net wealth of €756,000 was needed. Households in the bottom 10% of the net wealth distribution have a net wealth value less than €600, an increase from €100 in 2018. See Table 5.1.
|Table 5.1 Net wealth decile threshold limits by year (€)|
|Net Wealth Threshold|
Between 2018 and 2020, the thresholds increased for every net wealth decile with the increases getting larger as we move up the deciles until we reach the ninth decile. Households that were in the top 20% in 2018 would have needed a net wealth of €445,000. This threshold increased by €57,300 in 2020 to €502,300. This compares to an increase of €32,400 in the threshold to be in the top 10%. See Figure 5.1 and Table 5.1.
|X-axis label||Absolute difference between 2018 and 2020|
Total Net Wealth
In 2020, median gross wealth is €265,100, up from €230,100 in 2018. Median net wealth is €193,100 in 2020, up from €159,100 in 2018. See Figure 5.2 and Table 5.2.
|Median net wealth||159100||193100|
|Median gross wealth||230100||265100|
Net Wealth by Region
In 2020, household median net wealth is highest in the Eastern & Midlands region at €223,000, compared to €181,000 in the Southern region and €173,300 in the Northern & Western region. This reflects the higher value of both real assets and financial assets in the Eastern & Midlands region. The median value of all real assets in the Eastern & Midland region is €313,600 compared to €225,000 in the Southern region and €195,000 in the Northern & Western region. The median value of all financial assets in the Eastern & Midland region is €14,400 compared to €13,100 in the Southern region and €11,700 in the Northern & Western region. See Tables 3.2 and 5.2.
Net Wealth by Tenure Status
Median net wealth for owner-occupied households is €303,900, significantly higher than the €5,300 value for rented households. The equivalent values for 2018 were €267,500 and €3,900 respectively. See Figure 5.3.
|Rented or rent free||3900||5300|
|Table 5.2 Gross and net wealth by demographic and household characteristics and year (€)|
|Median gross wealth||Mean gross wealth||Median net wealth||Mean net wealth||Share of total net wealth|
|Northern and Western||183,000||215,200||310,300||328,000||133,100||173,300||256,200||282,200||13.7||14.2|
|Eastern and Midland||283,600||320,800||457,000||479,400||173,400||223,000||373,500||402,300||54.1||55.4|
|1 adult aged 65+||201,300||217,700||323,300||316,800||200,400||212,900||318,700||311,300||11.6||11.6|
|1 adult aged <65||99,000||135,500||227,000||229,600||44,100||96,800||184,900||196,500||7.7||7.7|
|2 adults, at least 1 aged 65+||334,900||368,200||536,500||562,800||328,300||361,800||510,700||544,700||17.8||17.6|
|2 adults, both aged <65||218,500||247,400||391,100||354,700||128,400||163,800||320,800||286,300||14.2||11.8|
|3 or more adults||311,400||380,200||561,100||683,800||259,400||338,800||496,100||626,300||17.2||22.4|
|1 adult with children aged under 18||8,900||8,000||103,600||107,100||3,200||4,000||58,400||72,800||0.9||1.0|
|2 adults with 1-3 children aged under 18||269,300||285,200||417,900||422,100||108,900||142,300||283,500||293,200||18.1||17.2|
|Other households with children aged under 18||305,800||330,900||593,700||565,200||200,400||231,700||464,500||428,300||12.5||10.7|
|Age of Reference Person|
|Rented or rent free||6,700||9,700||51,300||41,600||3,900||5,300||39,200||32,500||3.6||2.8|
Net Wealth by Household Composition
The median net wealth of households with one adult and children under 18 is €4,000, up from €3,200 in 2018. This compares to €361,800 for two adult households where at least one adult is aged 65 or over, up from €328,300 in 2018. See Figure 5.4 and Table 5.2.
|X-axis label||1 adult aged 65+||1 adult aged <65||2 adults, at least 1 aged 65+||2 adults, both aged <65||3 or more adults||1 adult with children aged under 18||2 adults with 1-3 children aged under 18||Other households with children aged under 18|
The difference between median gross and net wealth in households with a person aged 65 or over is relatively small due to these households having less debt. Households comprising two adults with one to three children under 18 have the largest difference between gross and net wealth in both absolute and proportional terms. See Figure 5.5 and Table 5.2.
|Median Net Wealth||Median Gross Wealth|
|2 adults, at least 1 aged 65+||361800||368200|
|3 or more adults||338800||380200|
|Other households with children aged under 18||231700||330900|
|1 adult aged 65+||212900||217700|
|2 adults, both aged <65||163800||247400|
|2 adults with 1-3 children aged under 18||142300||285200|
|1 adult aged <65||96800||135500|
|1 adult with children aged under 18||4000||8000|
As wealth is typically accrued over a lifetime, it is not surprising that households with older household members are wealthier than younger households. The median net wealth of households where the reference person is 65 or older is €291,600 but where the reference person is younger than 35, this falls to €23,000. Between 2018 and 2020, the median net wealth of households where the reference person was aged between 55 and 64 rose from €241,500 to €318,700 which saw this age group overtaking the 65 or older group as the wealthiest. See Figure 5.6 and Table 5.2.
|X-axis label||Under 35||35-44||45-54||55-64||65+|
More than six out of every ten households (66.7%) where the reference person is 65 or older have a net wealth value greater than the national median value (i.e. they are in the top 50% of net wealth). This contrasts with households where the reference person is younger than 35 as only 15.8% are in the top 50% of net wealth households. See Figure 5.7 and Table 5.2.
|Decile 10||Decile 9||Decile 8||Decile 7||Decile 6||Decile 5||Decile 4||Decile 3||Decile 2||Decile 1|
Almost one in ten (8.4%) households in the first net wealth decile are owner-occupied, compared to 3.6% in the 2nd decile and 17.5% in the 3rd decile. Of all households in the first decile, 6.4% are in negative equity (where the outstanding balance of the mortgage is greater than the value of the dwelling). In 2020, 4.1% of all households are in negative equity compared to 6.7% in 2018. See Figure 5.8 and Table 5.2.
|X-axis label||Rented or rent free||Owner-occupied|
Figure 5.9 shows the distribution of households across the net wealth deciles by degree of urbanisation. All else being equal, the three distributions would be the straight line (line of equal distribution) at 10%.
At more than one in ten (11.5%), densely populated areas (see background notes for the definition) have the highest percentage of households in the top (wealthiest) decile followed closely by thinly populated areas at 11.1%. Intermediate populated areas have the lowest percentage (5.1%) of households in the top decile and are over-represented in the bottom 50% of the net wealth distribution. Thinly populated areas have the lowest percentage of households in the bottom three net wealth deciles (7.7%, 7.6% and 6.8% respectively) and are over-represented in the middle of the distribution.
|X-axis label||Densely populated area||Intermediate populated area||Thinly populated area||Line of equal distribution|
The average (mean) gross wealth for households in the bottom decile is just under €30,000 compared to €1,821,000 in the top decile. The HMR accounts for 30.0% of the total gross wealth held by households in the top decile. Households in the top decile also have relatively high wealth contributions from financial assets (19.5%), other property (18.2%) and land (17.0%). Looking at the combined contribution of the HMR and other real estate to total wealth, in the top decile the contribution is 48.2%, whereas in deciles four, five, six and seven it exceeds 80%. See Figure 5.10.
|X-axis label||Financial assets||Vehicles & Valuables||Self employment business||Land||Other real estate||Household Main Residence|