This chapter looks at total net wealth of private households in Great Britain. The definition of wealth used in this survey is an economic one: total wealth (gross) is the value of accumulated assets, and total wealth (net) is the value of accumulated assets minus the value of accumulated liabilities.
Total net wealth is defined as the sum of four components: property wealth (net), physical wealth, financial wealth (net) and private pension wealth. It does not include business assets owned by household members, for instance if they run a business; nor does it include rights to state pensions, which people accrue during their working lives and draw on in retirement.
Key Points (in 2010/12):
- Aggregate total wealth of all private households in Great Britain was £9.5 trillion.
- The wealthiest 10% of households owned 44% of total aggregate household wealth.
- The least wealthy half of households combined owned 9% of total aggregate household wealth.
- Private pension wealth was the largest component of aggregate total wealth.
- Half of all households had total wealth of £218,400 or more.
- Households in the South East had the highest median wealth (£309,700).
Figure 2.3 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% (or one tenth) of the wealth distribution – from the least wealthy households in the 1st decile to the wealthiest in the 10th decile.
In all three waves of the survey, the wealthiest 10% of households were 2.4 times wealthier than the second wealthiest 10%. In 2010/12, the wealthiest 10% of households were 4.8 times wealthier than the bottom 50% of households (the bottom five deciles combined). The bottom 50% of households combined owned 9% of aggregate total wealth.
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% of private households within Great Britain and the least wealthy 20%. In 2010/12 the wealthiest 20% of households had 105 times more aggregate total wealth than the least wealthy 20% of households. In comparison, the wealthiest 20% of households had 92 times more aggregate total wealth than the least wealthy 20% of households in 2008/10.
The wealthiest 20% of households owned 63% of total aggregate household wealth in 2010/12; a share which has increased slightly from 62% in 2006/08 and 2008/10.
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