The wealthiest 20 per cent have 91 times more than the poorest 20 per cent

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show huge disparities between the wealthiest households and the poorest ones.

Breakdown of aggregate total wealth: by deciles and components, 2006/08, 2008/10

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Although wealth inequality has fallen, there is still a long way to go, as figures from the Office of National Statistics show huge disparities between the wealthiest households and the poorest ones.

Figure 3:

figure3The report said:

Figure 3 shows aggregate total wealth (including private pension wealth) by deciles and the breakdown of each decile into its components. Deciles divide the data, sorted in ascending order, into ten equal parts so that each part contains 10 per cent (one tenth) of the wealth distribution – from the least wealthy households in the 1st decile to the wealthiest in the 10th decile.

In both 2006/08 and 2008/10 the wealthiest 10 per cent of households were 2.4 times wealthier than the second wealthiest 10 per cent. In 2006/08 those households within the wealthiest decile were 4.7 times wealthier than the bottom 50 per cent of households (the bottom five deciles combined).

In 2008/10, the wealthiest 10 per cent of households were 4.3 times wealthier than the bottom 50 per cent.

By combining the top two deciles, and the bottom two deciles a comparison can be made between the value of aggregate total wealth for the wealthiest 20 per cent of private households within Great Britain and the least wealthy 20 per cent.

In 2006/08 the wealthiest 20 per cent of households had 126 times more aggregate total wealth than the lowest 20 per cent of households. In 2008/10 this difference reduced with the value of aggregate total wealth for the wealthiest 20 per cent of households 91 times greater than the least wealthy 20 per cent.

Regardless of disparity, the average household wealth has risen by 12.9%, an increase that the ONS say is down to increased pension wealth:

The overall increase in wealth was mainly down to an increase in pension wealth. Between 2006/08 and 2008/10, overall pension wealth increased from £3.6 trillion to £4.8 trillion. However, pension wealth was not distributed evenly.

For households with pension wealth, the top 10 per cent had pension wealth totalling £2.4 trillion, with the bottom 10 per cent having only £0.008 trillion (£8bn).

The report also shows that across Great Britain, 64 per cent of people were not paying in to a private pension in 2008/10, with 42 per cent of adults having no private pension savings at all.


See also:

The super rich one per cent are leaving everyone else behind 27 Jun 2012

Social mobility desperately needs to be top of the national policy agenda 31 May 2012

The 12 practical problems of localising public sector pay 25 Jan 2012


Left Foot Forward reported last month:

Inequality in Britain now means the richest one per cent of the population take home 15 per cent of total income – compared to just six per cent in 1979.

Danny Dorling, professor of human geography at Sheffield University,will tell audiences at the Royal Statistical Society’s Beveridge Memorial Lecture tonight:

The last time the best-off took as big a share of all income as they do today was in 1940, two years before the publication of the Beveridge Report, which became the basis of the UK’s welfare state after the Second World War.

“If we look back about 100 years, we can see that inequality in the UK did drop significantly in the 70 years from 1910-1979.

More than half of that drop in inequality took place prior to 1939. Since 1979 these inequalities have risen dramatically and continue to rise.”

Is the government willing to address this disparity?


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  • TristanPriceWilliams

    Then there was Mrs Thatcher….

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  • Anonymous

    And then we have Blair who intends to get into the top ten richest

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  • Anonymous

    Of course they’re willing to address it.

    By making it wider.

  • Anonymous

    To be fair, capital turned around and began swallowing up an ever-increasing share of income compared to wages in the mid-70’s. However, she (and other neoliberals) rather than addressing this slashed taxes, to make it look otherwise to most people.

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  • Mazza

    Maybe the poor should get off their arses and do some work instead of waiting for a hand out.

  • Anonymous

    Ah, workfare! Slavery returns.

    …You can’t mean jobs, your double dip’s seen to that. Even when people CAN get jobs it’s part-time and low-wage. Keep up your bigotry and hatred of the 99%!

  • Anonymous

    And that has what to do with the left, again?

  • Mr. Sensible

    Come on, we’re supposed to be all in this together. Oh wait…

  • Anonymous

    Now now Mr.Sensible. You know as well as I do that it can be parsed, in perfectly good English, to mean that the Tories (or maybe the coalition) are “All in it together”.

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  • Phil Taylor

    This is a comparison of wealth not income.

    It compares married couples who have spent 40 years paying mortgages and saving for a pension with young people who have never worked and may even be in debt after university. The average at the bottom includes an awful lot of overdrafts. Of course these groups have wildly different wealth. The newly retired couples will then in large part exhaust their wealth in retirement.

    Most of us go through this lifecycle amazingly and many of those at the bottom are merely the offspring of those at the top. I am in the top decile now. When I graduated with a £800 overdraft I was in the bottom or second from bottom decile in income terms and my wealth was negative. I wasn’t poor. I was just young. Now I am not rich, merely middle-aged.

    Are you suggesting that we confiscate pension pots and property and give it to the young? This might not incentivise them to get a job and take part in the economy stupid.

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  • JC

    Note that this does not include public pensions (the state pension which most people will receive) as no saving is required for this. Nevertheless, it is a form of wealth, as is the possession of public rented accommodation. That makes it rather skewed against those who save.

    Doesn’t mean that it’s worthless, just unconsciously biased. What would it look like if these were included?

    Also per Phil Taylor, us older people have paid off our mortgages and debts and are reaping the success of our parents as they die off. The young do not have this advantage.

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  • Anonymous

    Did you read the article? Look at the graphs? The article doesn’t claim that it is about income.

    So your argument is redundant. Unless you think that such a thing as inherited wealth simply doesn’t exist and everyone starts from scratch. Young rich people will be in the upper deciles, young poor people in the lower, do you see?

  • Anonymous

    And now we ‘can’t afford’ anything.

    Always the same when tories are in power! Can’t afford a thing, except tax cuts for them!

  • Anonymous

    Right. The faces change, but not the policies. Seriously, how many times will Mr. Swing Voter be fooled?

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