Distribution of earnings
Data on inequality in hourly pay between high earners and low earners.
Summary main findings
Inequality in hourly pay between high and low earners got narrower between 2010 and 2022.
From 1997 to 2011, ‘high earners’ (people in the 90th percentile for hourly pay) earned around 4 times as much as ‘low earners’ (people in the 10th percentile).
Inequality in hourly pay then went down every year over the next 10 years. In 2022, higher earners earned around 3.1 times as much as low earners.
Visualisation for by year
Ratio between the hourly earnings of people in the 90th and 10th percentiles, over time (UK, 1997 to 2021)
When the ratio equals 1, there is no gap in earnings
Data for by year
|Year||Ratio of earnings|
ONS, Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE).
1997 to 2022
What the data measures
The data measures the gap in hourly earnings between people at the:
- 90th percentile (‘high earners’) – they earn more than 90% of people
- 10th percentile (‘low earners’) – they earn less than 90% of people
The ‘90:10 ratio’ is calculated as income at the 90th percentile divided by income at the 10th percentile. For example, a ratio of 2 means that people at the 90th percentile earn twice as much as people at the 10th percentile.
Things you need to know
This data uses the ‘90:10 ratio’ rather than the Gini coefficient (a commonly-used measure of income inequality). This is for ease of understanding. It uses data from ASHE instead of other sources because ASHE includes data on regional differences.
Data for 2022 is provisional.
Type of data
Read more in State of the Nation 2023 on GOV.UK.
This file contains the following variables:
- Indicator code
- Indicator name
- Area type
- Area code
- Area name
- Time period
- Sample size
- Value note