Income inequality over time

Date 1 September 2017
Date updated 12 October 2017

Income inequality over time

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What does this chart show?

This graph looks at income inequality in London and the rest of England by comparing the ratio of top and bottom incomes after housing costs. It compares income at the top 10% and 20% with the bottom 10% and 20% respectively. These are known as 90:10 and 80:20 ratios. London has consistently been more unequal than the rest of England on these measures.

In the three years to 2015/16, the income of someone in a household just in the top 10% was eight times higher than someone just in the bottom 10%. For someone just in the top 20%, their income was 3.7 times higher than someone in the bottom 20%. For the rest of England, these figures were 4.9 and 2.8 respectively.

Increases in inequality in London were much more pronounced on the 90:10 measure, rising from a ratio of 6.9 in 1996/97 to a peak of 9.9 in 2010/11. The increase on the 80:20 measure was less dramatic over this period, rising from 3.9 to 4.1. Since the 2010–11 highpoint, however, income inequality in London has fallen on both measures though is higher than the mid-1990s on the 90:10 ratio. On the before housing costs measure, London’s inequality is at its lowest since the 1980s.*

* Cribb, J., Hood, A., Joyce. R., Norris Keiller, A. 2017. Living standards, poverty, and inequality in the UK 2017. London: Institute for Fiscal Studies.