Drop in income from shares
Income and consumption;Immigration and immigrants
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Income and wealth statistics for households2001



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Drop in income from shares

Average after-tax income per household was NOK 307 200 in 2001. After many years of continuous growth in household income, the average household experienced a decline in after-tax income of approximately 1 per cent, in real values. The main reason for this development is a sharp decline in dividends and capital gains.

According to figures from the Tax Return Statistics, the amount received in dividends was reduced by more than 50 per cent from 2000 to 2001. In addition, there was a huge increase in realized capital losses. This development is also reflected in the trend in household income. The share of total household income coming from property income declined from about 8 per cent in 2000 to roughly 5 per cent in 2001. The decline in property income was caused partly by a negative trend at the Stock Exchange in 2001 and the introduction of a special tax on dividends that led many shareholders to refrain from paying out dividends. This tax was abolished in 2002.

Slow rise in income for young singles

The trend in income increase for different household types are somewhat influenced by the development in property income. Those household types that traditionally receive a large amount of their household income from profit from shares experienced a decline in household income in 2001. This was for instance the case in respect to couples without children, where the main income earner is in the age-group 45-64 years, and couples with children where the age of the youngest child is in the age-group 7-17 years.

In a longer time-perspective young singles is the household type that has experienced the slowest rise in household income. In 2001 this household type had an average after-tax income of NOK 166 200. In real prices this was approximately 14 per cent higher income than in 1990,. The income increase in the same period was highest for couples with adult children (19 years and more) and young couples without children, with an increase in after-tax income of 37 and 34 per cent respectively.

Reduced income inequality

The decline in property income is also reflected in the income distribution. Property income is an income source that is particularly unevenly distributed among households. Any changes in the size of this income component will thus influence the shape of the income distribution. The decline in dividends and capital gains was probably the main explanation why the share of total after-tax income available to the 10 per cent of the individuals with the highest household income was reduced from 23.8 per cent in 2000 to 20.4 per cent in 2001.

More indebtedness

Norwegian households have become more indebted in later years. It is in particular younger households that have a large debt. Couples with young children (0-6 years of age) had for instance NOK 958 000 in debt in 2001. Still, when one considers debt as a proportion of total household income young singles and single parents are over-represented among those with a large debt compared to their income.

Statistical basis

The basis for the income and property statistics for households is a sample of roughly 28 000 private households. The household composition has been established from a household interview, while all income data have been collected from different administrative or statistical registers.