Scottish Government
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Wealth and Assets in Scotland

An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland

Aggregate total wealth of private households increased to £714 billion in Scotland in 2010/12. While the value of wealth increased, the rate of increase - 2.4 per cent since 2008/10 - was lower than that between 2006/08 and 2008/10.

Pension wealth was the largest component of private household wealth in Scotland, at 42 per cent, and the increase in total wealth in 2010/12 was largely due to increases in pension wealth. Property wealth and physical wealth also increased on 2010/12, while the value of financial wealth in Scotland decreased in 2010/12.

The wealthiest 10% of households owned 44% of all private wealth in Scotland. The least wealthy 50 per cent owned just 9%. The wealthiest 10% of households owned 4.8 times as much wealth as the least wealthy 50% of households.

Wealth and Assets in Scotland

The distribution of household wealth in Scotland remained highly unequal. The wealthiest 10 per cent of households owned 44 per cent of all wealth in 2010/12. The wealthiest 2 per cent of households alone owned 17 per cent of all personal wealth. In contrast, the least wealthy half of households in Scotland owned 9 per cent of total wealth in 2010/12.

The wealthiest 10 per cent of households owned 74 per cent of financial wealth, 55 per cent of pension wealth, 43 per cent of property wealth and 33 per cent of physical wealth. In comparison, the least wealthy half of households owned less than 1 per cent of financial wealth, less than 3 per cent of pension wealth, 6 per cent of property wealth, and 20 per cent of physical wealth.

While there was a slight reduction in inequality of aggregate total wealth in Scotland between 2006/08 and 2010/12, this was driven mainly by a fall in the value of pension wealth owned by the wealthiest households, rather than increases in ownership by the least wealthy households.

Notes To Editors

The full statistical publication is available at:

The Wealth & Assets Survey (WAS) is a key source of information on the economic situation of households in Great Britain. The survey focuses on household assets and debts, borrowing and saving, and plans for retirement.

WAS collates information on the following four types of wealth held by households: property wealth, physical wealth, financial wealth, and private pension wealth:

Financial wealth: the value of all financial assets minus the value of all non-mortgage borrowing.

Property wealth: the value of all property wealth minus the value of property debt (e.g. mortgage on property)

Private pension wealth: the value of wealth held in occupational pension schemes to which individuals contribute. These include Defined Benefit (DB) and Defined Contribution (DC) schemes as well as personal pensions.

Physical wealth: the value of items such as cars, and household goods like televisions, computers, and jewellery.

There are a number of methodology issues that need to be borne in mind when considering this analysis:

First, the measure of net wealth in the analysis is based on the personal, private wealth of households. It does not include business assets owned by household members, nor does it include rights to state pensions, which people accrue during their working lives and draw on in retirement.

Second, only those designated as ‘private households’ were sampled for the survey. Those in residential institutions such as retirement homes, nursing homes, prisons, and barracks or university halls of residence, and also homeless people were not included in the sample and are therefore excluded from this analysis.

Third, the Scottish sample is not fully representative of the geography of Scotland, as WAS does not sample households north of the Caledonian Canal or on the Scottish islands.

Estimates within this analysis have not been equivalised and therefore are not intended to account for differences in household size or composition.

All estimates within this report are presented as current values (i.e. the value at time of interview) and have not been adjusted for inflation.


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