Income distribution

Published

Last updated 29 September 2020 - see all updates

1. Main facts and figures

  • in this data, UK households were divided into 5 equally-sized groups (or ‘quintiles’) based on their income
  • in the 3 years to March 2019, an average of 76% of Pakistani households were in the 2 lowest income quintiles (after housing costs were deducted) – this was the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups
  • over half of households from the Bangladeshi, Asian Other, Black and Other ethnic groups were in the 2 lowest income quintiles (after housing costs)
  • 42% of White British households were in the 2 highest income quintiles (after housing costs) – the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups
  • 10% of Bangladeshi and Pakistani households were in the 2 highest income quintiles (after housing costs) – the lowest percentages out of all ethnic groups

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data measures how income is spread across UK households, by ethnicity.

Households are divided into 5 equally-sized groups (called ‘quintiles’). The lowest quintile, for example, contains the 20% of households with the lowest income.

Household income is the total income of the household before tax, National Insurance and other deductions. It includes the value of free school meals, free TV licences and other income-based entitlements.

The data measures income before and after housing costs have been paid. Housing costs include rent or mortgage payments and insurance.

The information relates to households of either one person or a group of people sharing cooking facilities and a living room or dining area. It must be their main or only home.

Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number. Due to this, some figures may not add up to 100%.

Not included in the data

Percentages based on fewer than 100 responses are not shown. This is to protect people’s confidentiality.

The ethnic groups used in the data

The data uses the ethnic categories from the 2011 Census.

Data is aggregated for each of the Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups, which means estimates are shown for these groups as a whole. Data is shown separately for White British and all other White people (‘White Other’ ethnic group).

Some households contain people from different ethnic backgrounds. The ethnicity assigned to the household is that of the head of the household (usually the person with the highest income). The data does not account for people of different ethnic backgrounds who live in the same household.

Methodology

Read the detailed methodology document (PDF, 1.1MB, 70 pages) (PDF opens in a new window or tab) for the data on this page.

Data for 3 years has been combined to make sure estimates are reliable.

Confidence intervals have not been worked out, so comparisons between ethnic groups may not be reliable.

Household income has been adjusted (or ‘equivalised’) to take into account the number of adults and children who live there.

The figures on this page are based on survey data. You can read more about:

In the data file

Download the data for figures for each 3-year period covered by this data analysed by ethnicity.

3. By ethnicity (before housing costs)

Percentage of households in each income quintile (before housing costs), by ethnicity
Ethnicity Percentage of individuals in bottom income quintile (lowest income) Percentage of individuals in second income quintile Percentage of individuals in third income quintile Percentage of individuals in fourth income quintile Percentage of individuals in top income quintile (highest income)
% % % % %
Asian 32 22 17 14 15
Bangladeshi 37 30 18 12 3
Chinese 30 15 17 11 27
Indian 21 17 19 19 25
Pakistani 47 26 16 7 4
Asian other 27 23 17 17 15
Black 31 26 19 15 10
Mixed 24 19 16 23 18
White 18 20 20 21 21
White British 18 20 21 21 21
White other 19 17 19 20 25
Other 30 22 15 17 16

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity (before housing costs)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity (before housing costs)’ (CSV)

Summary of Income distribution By ethnicity (before housing costs) Summary

In the year ending March 2019, the average (median) annual household income in each quintile before housing costs were paid was:

  • top quintile: £54,000
  • second highest quintile: £35,700
  • middle quintile: £26,800
  • second lowest quintile: £20,500
  • bottom quintile: £13,300

This data shows that, before housing costs were paid:

  • 47% of households from the Pakistani ethnic group were in the lowest income quintile – this was the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups
  • the Pakistani ethnic group also had the highest percentage of households in the lowest 2 income quintiles (73%)
  • the White Other (36%), White British (38%), and Indian (38%) ethnic groups had the lowest percentage of households in the lowest 2 income quintiles
  • the Bangladeshi ethnic group had the lowest percentage of households in the highest income quintile (3%), while the Chinese group had the highest percentage (27%)
  • there were 3 times as many Black households in the lowest income quintile (31%) as in the highest income quintile (10%)

4. By ethnicity (after housing costs)

Percentage of households in each income quintile (after housing costs), by ethnicity
Ethnicity Percentage of individuals in bottom income quintile (lowest income) Percentage of individuals in second income quintile Percentage of individuals in third income quintile Percentage of individuals in fourth income quintile Percentage of individuals in top income quintile (highest income)
% % % % %
Asian 34 24 16 12 14
Bangladeshi 48 27 15 6 4
Chinese 32 17 17 12 22
Indian 22 18 19 17 24
Pakistani 43 33 15 6 4
Asian other 37 23 14 13 12
Black 39 23 17 12 8
Mixed 30 15 19 20 16
White 18 20 21 21 21
White British 17 20 21 21 21
White other 25 19 18 20 19
Other 39 19 13 14 14

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity (after housing costs)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity (after housing costs)’ (CSV)

Summary of Income distribution By ethnicity (after housing costs) Summary

In the year ending March 2019, the average (median) annual household income in each quintile after housing costs were paid was:

  • top quintile: £49,000
  • second highest quintile: £31,600
  • middle quintile: £23,300
  • second lowest quintile: £16,600
  • bottom quintile: £9,200

This data shows that, after housing costs were paid:

  • the Indian ethnic group had the highest percentage of households in the highest income quintile (24%)
  • the Bangledeshi ethnic group had the lowest percentage of households in the highest income quintile (4%) – it also had the highest percentage of households in the lowest income quintile (48%)
  • the Pakistani (76%), Bangladeshi (75%) and Black (62%) ethnic groups had the highest percentages of households in the 2 lowest income groups
  • 37% of White British households were in the 2 lowest income quintiles

5. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Department for Work and Pensions

Note on corrections or updates

Any 3-year estimates before the period from April 2012 to March 2015 may be different to the published Households Below Average Income tables due to a change in the ethnic groups shown.

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

Households Below Average Income is the main source of data about household income and inequality in the UK.

6. Download the data

Income distribution data - Spreadsheet (csv) 304 KB

This file contains the following: measure, ethnicity, year, geography, income distribution quintile, value