The government’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) has just released its Wealth & Assets Survey, which measures household wealth in Great Britain.
Turns out the aggregate wealth of private households in Great Britain for 2010/12 comes in at a whopping £9.5 trillion.
Most of this is in property and pensions: more than £3.5 trillion is property wealth, and almost £3.6 trillion is private pension wealth.
Check out this chart for our wealth breakdown (then keep reading below):
Of course, that £9.5 trillion might make it sound like we’re all loaded, but obviously we’re not.
Just 10% of households own almost half – 44% – of the total aggregate wealth.
Meanwhile, the poorer half of all households together own only 9% of the total wealth.
Wealth and GDP
Now, according to the ONS’s most recent release (Q1 2014), UK GDP was just over £1.5 trillion in 2013.
That means the wealth of households in Great Britain is around six times more than the entire UK GDP.
(Of course, it’s worth remembering that Great Britain doesn’t include Northern Ireland, whereas the UK obviously does, but the statistics is interesting nonetheless.)
You might well ask: how is it possible that households own so much more wealth than the country’s entire economic output?
Well, in basic terms, GDP measures the value of all the goods and services produced by the country in a single year. (This is equal to all private and public consumption, investments, government expenditure and exports minus imports.)
The wealth figure, meanwhile, accounts for everything we own: things we have invested in with the money we’ve made through all previous years and the money we have saved through all previous years, rather than just in a single year.
So it makes sense that the wealth figure is much more than what we generate economically in a single year.
Let me know what you think @sophiehobson