Monday, January 06, 2014

Inequality watch: top tenth of UK population have 850 times the share of the bottom tenth

Update April 2014: for information on Inequality and Democracy see here.

The true shocker is in the headline. From a blog by John Hills at the London School of Economics (hat tip: CRESC), a survey on how people think ten trillion pounds of personal wealth is distributed in the UK:

Second, how it actually is distributed.

The bottom fifth in fact has hardly any wealth to speak of – less than a tenth of a per cent of the total.  Some have ‘negative wealth’ – debts that outweigh their assets, even including personal possessions.  The next fifth doesn’t have much either – just 4 per cent of it.  But the top fifth have 62 per cent – half as much again as people think and nearly double what they say they think is fair.
And concluding: 
"The overall share of the top tenth in total wealth was 850 times the share of the bottom tenth.  Even the least wealthy of the top tenth had 75 times the wealth of the household just at the top of the poorest tenth."
Tax, of course, plays a major role in all this. And remember: this is probably an under-estimate - for these reasons.

All of which raises an interesting question: how soon will we see the world's first trillionaire?


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