This is an archived release.
Household income up - more inequality
Norwegian households had in 2000 an average after-tax household income of NOK 301 900, approximately an increase of 6 per cent more than the year before. Households situated at the upper end of the income distribution had the strongest increase in income from 1999 to 2000. As a consequence the income inequality rose.
Almost all types of households had an increase in real terms in after-tax income from 1999 to 2000. Among households with the strongest increase in income were couples without children, where the oldest person is in the age group 45 to 64 years, and couples with children.
These household types also have had the fastest income growth in a long time perspective. In the years between 1986 and 2000 couples without children where the oldest person is between 45 and 64 years, had a real increase in after-tax household income of 46 per cent. The corresponding figure for couples with young children (less than 7 years) was 41 per cent, while retired pensioner couples had an increase in real average income of 34 per cent.
Singles and single parents were among the households experiencing a moderate growth in real income. However, even these households have had a substantial increase in household income in recent years.
Greater inequality in the distribution of income
In order to study changes in the income distribution it may be useful to split the population into 10 equally sized groups (deciles), after ranking each individual by the size of their household after-tax income per consumption unit. Decile 1 will thus be the 10 per cent of the population with the lowest income, while decile 10 are the 10 per cent with the highest income.
Income statistics show that the distribution became more unequal between 1999 and 2000. While the 10 per cent of the population with highest income received 21.8 per cent of total income in 1999, the corresponding figure for 2000 rose to 23.8 per cent. All other decile groups at the same time experienced a reduction in their share of total income. The 10 per cent of the population with the lowest income, for example, faced a reduction in their share of total income from 3.9 per cent in 1999 to 3.7 per cent in 2000. The ratio between average income of the 10 t h decile to that of the 1 s t decile increased from 5.6 in 1999 to 6.4 in 2000.
The increase in income inequality can to a large extent be explained by a substantial increase in property income. There was, for instance, an increase in dividends by more than 50 per cent from 1999 to 2000 while capital gains at the same time increased by as much as 85 per cent see Tax Return Statistics, 2000 . Property incomes such as dividends and capital gains, are primarily received by households at the upper end of the income distribution.
In a longer-term perspective even a greater inequality in the distribution of wages may have contributed to the increase in household income.
Norwegian households had an average gross financial capital, i.e. the value of bank deposits, shares and other claims, of NOK 353 000 in 2000. The distribution of financial capital is more skewed than the distribution of income. For instance, while the 10 per cent of the households with the highest financial capital owned roughly 67 per cent of all gross financial capital in 2000, the 50 per cent with lowest financial capital owned less than 4 per cent. Average financial capital for households situated at the top 10 percent of the distribution was NOK 2.4 million in 2000. This was approximately NOK 482 000 more than what the corresponding income group had in 1998. Note, however, that these figures are based on tax values that to some extent underestimate the real value of certain property items. This is for instance the case in respect to the valuation of non-listed company shares.
The distribution of financial property has gradually become more unequal during the last 10 years. In 1990 the 10 per cent of the households with highest financial property had a share of total financial capital of approximately 53 per cent.
The size of gross financial capital increases with the age of the main income earner in the household, until one reaches the age group 55-66 years. These households had an average financial capital of NOK 716 000 in 2000. Younger households (less than 25 years old) had the smallest amount of financial capital with an average of NOK 52 000.
Norwegian households became more indebted in 2000. The average debt per household was NOK 415 000 in 2000, which was roughly NOK 30 000 more than the year before. It is household with children that are most indebted. Two parent households where the youngest child is less than 7 years old, had for instance 857 000 NOK in debt in 2000 The corresponding figure for couples with older children (7-17 years) were NOK 807 000.
Most households nevertheless have a debt that corresponds well to the size of household income. More than 6 out of 10 households have a debt that is less than or equal to the size of household income before taxes, whereas only 6 per cent of the households have a debt that are three times lager than household income. The number of households which have a large debt compared to income (i.e. a debt at least three times larger than household income) has remained stable throughout the 1990's.
Singles and single parents were over-represented among the households with a large debt compared to their income.
The basis for the income and property statistics for households is a sample of roughly 13 000 households. The household composition has been established from a household interview, while all income data have been collected from different administrative or statistical registers.
- Table 1 Income account for households, by type of household. Average per household. 2000. Kroner
- Table 2 Number of persons, gross income, after tax income, assessed property and liabilities for households, by type of household. Average per household. 2000
- Table 3 After tax income for households, by type of household 1986-2000. At constant prices. 1986=100
- Table 4 After tax income for households, by type of household 1986-2000
- Table 5 Gross financial capital for household by deciles. 1986-2000. Per cent
- Table 6 Gross financial capital for households, by deciles. 1986-2000
- Table 7 Property account for households, by age of the main income earner. Average per household. 2000. Kroner
- Table 8 Property account for households. Average per household. 1986-2000. Kroner
- Table 9 Number of household, by size of debt compared to total income of the household. 1990-2000
- Table 10 Number of household with debt more than three times total household income by different types of household. Percent 1990-2000
- Table 11 Distribution of household equivalent income after taxes, between persons. (E=0.5). Decile shares and cumulative decile shares. 1990-2000. Per cent
- Table 12 Propert account for households, by type of household. Average per household. 2000. Kroner