The distribution of Income and Wealth in UK

  • Income is a flow. It measures the receipt of money per period of time ( e.g. £200 a week)
  • Wealth is a Stock. It measures the value of a person’s wealth at a given point in time e.g. £150,000

Distribution of income in the UK


  • This shows the top 10% of income earners earnt over £100,000 – though, after tax and benefits, this fell to £73,682.
  • By comparison, the poorest 10% of income earners earnt £3,738. After tax and benefits, this rose to £12,050.

Income inequality measured by Gini coefficient

income inequality giniThe Gini coefficient measures the degree of inequality. A high figure shows the higher income earners gain a higher share of national income and there is less inequality. It shows inequality increased during the 1980s.

Source: ONS

This measures the ratio of income of the richest 20% to the poorest 20%. It shows some decrease in relative inequality between 1992 and 2015/16

 Distribution of wealth


The Lorenz curve shows the cumulative wealth of each wealth decile. It shows that the lowest 38% of individuals have zero property wealth. The top 10% own nearly 50% of property wealth.

With financial wealth, the inequality is even greater. WIth 60% of the population in debt and negative wealth. The top 10% have 80% of the nations financial wealth

Wealth inequality UK

Wealth is also distributed by region.


Source of wealth graphs