Income distribution


Last updated 8 August 2023 - see all updates

1. Main facts and figures

This data covers the years April 2019 to March 2020 and April 2021to March 2022 combined; data was not collected during the year April 2020 to March 2021.

  • in this period, an average of 79% of Bangladeshi 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 Pakistani, Asian Other, Black and Other ethnic groups were in the 2 lowest income quintiles (after housing costs)

  • almost half (48%) of Chinese households were in the 2 highest income quintiles (after housing costs) - the highest percentage of all ethnic groups

  • 10% of Pakistani households were in the 2 highest income quintiles (after housing costs) - the lowest percentage of all ethnic groups

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

Due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on data collection and sample composition, 2020/21 HBAI estimates by ethnicity were not published. Please refer to our Technical Report: Assessment of COVID-19 on the HBAI statistics for FYE2021 for further information.

The latest three-year average data available is 2017/18-2019/20. The latest two-year average has been combined for April 2019 to March 2020 and April 2021 to March 2022, with data collection for April 2020 to March 2021 impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.


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 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 Before Housing Costs fifigures for each combined period covered by this data

3. By ethnicity (after housing costs)

Percentage of households in each income quintile (after housing costs), by ethnicity
Ethnicity Bottom income quintile (lowest income) Second income quintile Third income quintile Fourth income quintile Top income quintile (highest income)
% % % % %
All 100 100 100 100 100
Asian 34 24 14 14 14
Bangladeshi 51 28 6 8 7
Chinese 21 17 15 18 30
Indian 21 20 14 24 21
Pakistani 45 30 15 4 6
Asian other 38 23 16 13 11
Black 38 21 18 14 9
Mixed 23 19 22 18 18
White 18 20 21 21 21
White British 17 20 21 21 21
White other 22 18 21 20 18
Other 33 18 17 18 14

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

4. Data sources


Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

National Statistics


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


Purpose of data source

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

5. Download the data

Income Distribution Data 2021/22 - Spreadsheet (csv) 443 KB

This file contains the following variables: Measure, Time, Time_type, Ethnicity, Ethnicity_type, Geography, Geography_type, Income Quintile Distribution