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Video Summary: The Wealth of the Wealthiest, Great Britain, 2008/10

Released: 03 December 2012

This is a short video looking at the wealth of the wealthiest households in Great Britain.

In 2008 to 2010 the Wealth and Assets Survey estimated aggregate total wealth; that is, the combined net wealth of all private households in Great Britain; at ten point three trillion pounds.

Ordering households in ascending order, based upon their total wealth allows us to look at the distribution of this wealth.

The combined wealth of the bottom 50% of households accounted for less than 10% of total wealth.

In comparison, the wealth held by the richest tenth of households represented a share of over 40%. This was four times greater than the wealth of the bottom half of all households combined and, over 850 times greater than that of the least wealthy tenth of households.

Belonging to the least wealthy 10% of households, required total wealth less, than thirteen thousand pounds.

In comparison, to belong to the wealthiest ten percent; households required total wealth greater, than nine hundred and sixty seven thousand pounds.

To belong to the wealthiest 1 per cent; households were required to have total wealth greater than 2 point 8 million pounds.

The median household total wealth; was two hundred and thirty two thousand pounds.

In other words; half of all households had total wealth less, and half more than this amount. 

Now let’s look at the distribution of the wealthiest households, across the different regions of Great Britain.

The South East had the biggest share of the wealthiest households, 15.5 per cent of households in this region had wealth greater than £967,000.

The lowest percentage was in Scotland, where only 6.9% of households were in the wealthiest ten per cent of the distribution.

Considering Great Britain as a whole, we become aware of a North/South Divide, there was a greater share, of the wealthiest households, in the South of the country.

Household total wealth can be broken down into four components;

Private pension wealth contributed over half, to the total wealth, held by the richest tenth of households.

Private pension wealth contributed less than a third, to the wealth, of the bottom half of households.

Net property wealth contributed just over a quarter to the total wealth for the richest 10% of households. Property wealth was the largest component for those households in the bottom 50%.

Financial wealth represented almost 13% of the total wealth held by the richest 10% of households but contributed less than 4% for households in the bottom half of the distribution.

Finally we consider Physical Wealth (the total value of household’s possessions, valuables etc). This component contributed almost a third of the wealth for the bottom 50% of households but less than 5% for those households in the top decile.

The share of total wealth, between the four components, was more even for the least wealthy half of households. Whereas over three quarters of the wealth of the wealthiest; was invested in property and private pensions. 

Finally we will examine two characteristics of the head of household.

More than half of the household heads in the wealthiest tenth of households; had a degree level qualification.  For the least wealthy half of households this percentage was more than three times lower.

The percentage of household heads whose most recent occupation was at a managerial or professional level, was also more than three times higher for the wealthiest 10% of households compared with the bottom half. 


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Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

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