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Chapter 06: Households and Non-profit Institutions Serving Households (NPISH) This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 31 July 2013 Download PDF


The household sector covers both consumers and producers. Households as consumers comprise of groups of people sharing the same living accommodation who share some or all of their income and collectively consume certain types of goods and services, such as food, electricity or housing. This sector also includes the self-employed who are treated as producers. A smaller group of units within the household sector comprises of those living permanently in institutions with little economic autonomy, such as prison populations and members of religious orders living in monasteries.



Non-profit institutions serving households (NPISH)

Non-profit institutions serving households (NPISH) are institutions which:

·       provide goods and services, either free or below the market prices,

·       mainly derive their income from grants and donations,

·       are not controlled by government.

In the United Kingdom the NPISH sector includes:

·       charities,

·       trade unions,

·       religious organisations,

·       the majority of universities.

The United Kingdom National Accounts: The Blue Book 2013 presents combined estimates for the household and NPISH sectors.

Further information on sector classifications and classification decisions can be found in the National Account Classification section of the Office for National Statistics website.

Real households' disposable income and households saving ratio

Real households' disposable income (RHDI) is the estimate of the total amount of money from income that households have available from wages received, revenue of the self-employed, social benefits and net income (such as interest on savings and dividends from shares) less taxes on income and wealth,  adjusted for the effects of inflation. In 2012, RDHI, increased by 1.4% from 2011. Between 2002 and 2012 RDHI grew by 13.3%, increasing in all years with the exception of 2011 (-1.2%). 

Figure 6.1: Annual changes in real households' disposable income at chained volume measures, 2002 to 2012

This chart shows the annual changes in real households' disposable income at chained volume measures between 2002 and 2012
Source: Office for National Statistics

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The households' saving ratio reflects households’ gross saving as a percentage of their total available resources (the amounts available to invest or save). The households' saving ratio remained unchanged between 2011 and 2012 at 6.7%.

Between 2002 and 2008 the saving ratio shows a downwards trend, falling from 4.6% to 2.2%.  However, in 2009 the households' saving ratio increased 4.8 percentage points to 7.0%, highlighting the extent to which consumers sought to reduce their spending in the light of the 2008/09 economic downturn, as household incomes were squeezed and consumer confidence fell.

Data on unsecured debt from the Bank of England corroborate this change in behaviour, highlighting the extent to which consumers have reduced their appetite for unsecured debt since 2009, which has consequently impacted on the amount of spending undertaken by households.

Figure 6.2: Households' saving ratio at current prices, 2002 to 2012

This chart shows the households' saving ratio at current prices, between 2002 and 2012
Source: Office for National Statistics

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Background notes

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    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

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