Wealth is rising, but inequality remains high

Experimental Official Statistics published.

New statistics released by the Chief Statistician show rising household wealth in recent years, while wealth inequality remained high.

According to the latest data, households in Scotland had just over one trillion pounds in personal wealth in 2016-2018. Recent wealth growth since 2010-2012 was caused mainly by rising pension wealth.

Wealth inequality was more severe than income inequality: the 2% of households with the highest incomes had 9% of all income, while the wealthiest 2% of households had 15% of all wealth. After a previous decline, wealth inequality has been largely stable since 2010-2012.

A typical household in the wealthiest 10% of households had £1.6 million in total wealth, whereas a typical household in the least wealthy 10% of households had £7,500. The least wealthy households rarely own property or have any private pension savings. Their wealth is mainly made up of the value of their possessions such as clothing or furniture.

Households that tend to be wealthier than others are pensioner couples, married couples, home owners or households with higher formal qualifications. On the other hand, households that often have below average wealth are lone parent households, those in social rented housing, or where the head of the household is unemployed or economically inactive but not retired.

One third of households had insufficient savings to cover basic living costs for three months in the event of an emergency. Three per cent of households were in unmanageable debt. A third of households had no property wealth, and almost a fifth of households had no private pension wealth.

The released figures were produced in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.


Read the full statistical publication.

It sets out the current state of personal wealth and wealth inequality in Scotland and how this has changed over recent years. Estimates are based on data from the the Office for National Statistics’ Wealth and Assets Survey, which covers a range of topics around wealth and assets in Great Britain, including financial wealth and debt, property wealth and private pension savings.          

Personal wealth includes financial wealth, property wealth, private pension savings (including occupational and personal pensions), and physical wealth (possessions such as cars, furniture and clothing).

Data from the Wealth and Assets Survey has been collected since 2006-2008. The latest data covers the period from April 2016 to March 2018.

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland is available.


Media enquiries

Back to top