Journal Article

Household Wealth in Great Britain: Distribution, Composition and Changes 2006–12

Date: 31 March 2016
Publisher: Wiley
Published in: Fiscal Studies, Volume 37, Issue 1 , 35-54
JEL classification: D31;D14
DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5890.2016.12083

For many years, survey data on household wealth have been somewhat limited, but the situation is improving in the UK and internationally. This paper uses the new Wealth and Assets Survey (WAS) to document some key features of the distribution of household wealth in Great Britain. We quantify the extent of inequality in total wealth and in its broad components (financial wealth, housing wealth and pension wealth). Exploiting the fact that WAS is a longitudinal survey, we show trajectories of wealth and its components over the period 2006 to 2012 for different birth cohorts. Total wealth on average increased in real terms over this period for working-age households and fell for retirement-age households. However, wealth held outside pensions fell on average over this period for all except the youngest cohort.