The wealth of the richest in Ireland exceeds €788,000, while the poorest 10% have €600

The bottom 10% of Irish households have a net worth of less than €600, compared to the top 10% whose wealth exceeds €788,400.

Figures for 2020, compiled by the Central Bureau of Statistics, show a wide disparity between the net wealth of households that own their home and those that rent it.

For owned households, the median net worth was €309,300. In the case of tenants, the net family wealth was €5,300.

Households in the East and the Midlands had a higher median net worth (the value of all their assets minus debt) of €223,000 compared to the South of the country, which had a median wealth of €181,000.

The CSO Household Consumption and Finance Survey collects data on the combined levels of assets, income and debt of Irish households.

CSO statistician Stephen Lee said: “The median value is obtained by arranging all households in ascending order from smallest to largest value and then selecting the median value.

“In terms of wealth, the median provides a more accurate reflection of the average household, since it is not influenced by extreme values.”

Mortgages and income

The statistics show that three out of every 10 households (30.4%) had a mortgage on their habitual residence, but only two out of every 10 (21.3%) households in which the principal referred to was under 35 years of age had a mortgage. It rises to 53.2% of households where the reference person is between 45 and 54 years old.

Unsurprisingly, a household’s income dictated whether they would have a mortgage, with just 6.2% in the bottom fifth of the income distribution having one compared to 62.3% in the top 20%. 7.2% of households have a mortgage on another property.

The survey also detailed the proportion of households in Ireland with:

  • Savings: 96.6%
  • Primary Household Residence (HMR): 69.6%
  • HMR mortgage debt: 30.4%
  • Non-mortgage loan: 45.5%
  • Vehicle: 79.1%
  • Share: 10.5%
  • Credit card debt: 26.8%
  • Overdraft: 6.7%

Credit and debt

More than a quarter of households have credit card debt, but this rises to 36.5% in households with two adults and between one and three children under the age of 18.

Households with children have the highest rates of indebtedness, with almost nine in 10 (87.9%) of households with two adults and one to three children under the age of 18 having debt. Fewer than three out of 10 (27.1%) adults over 65 are in debt.

Just over one in 20 (6.4%) of households were described as credit constrained in 2020.

The CSO said that said household is one that has been denied the credit, did not have the full amount requested, or did not apply for the credit due to perceived denial in the three years prior to the date of the interview.

More than half (53.1%) of households reported earning more than they spent in the 12 months prior to being interviewed for the survey.

The most common reasons listed for saving were preparing for the unexpected (59.8%), provision for old age (38.1%), travel or vacation (31.5%) and education/support for children or grandchildren or other relatives (31.1%).

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