Northern Ireland

Household wealth: Study suggests NI is 'most economically equal part of UK'

Purse containing banknotes and coins
Image caption The main reason for the difference is that Northern Ireland's highest earning households earn less than the highest earning households in Great Britain

Northern Ireland is the most economically equal part of the UK, new research has suggested.

The study, which used official data, was carried out by the New Policy Institute.

It was commissioned by the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (Nicva).

It shows that in Northern Ireland the richest 10% of households have incomes 4.2 times higher than the poorest 10%. In Great Britain the ratio is 5.1.

The main reason for the difference is that Northern Ireland's highest earning households earn less than the highest earning households in Great Britain.

Inequality

Incomes at the bottom in Northern Ireland are roughly the same as in Great Britain.

The research also looked at wealth which is measured by savings and property ownership.

It estimated that the total savings wealth held by Northern Ireland households amounts to £11bn, while property wealth is £44bn.

It concluded that in terms of savings there is a relatively high degree of wealth inequality, driven by the number of households who have no savings at all.

In Northern Ireland 45% of households have zero savings compared to 33% in Great Britain.

Savings of £20,000 puts a household in the top 10% of the Northern Ireland distribution but in Great Britain at least £70,000 is required to be in the top 10%.

The report said that more reliable statistics are required to give a better understanding of incomes and wealth in Northern Ireland.

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