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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Wealth of top 20 percent rises by $394,000 – 14 December 2018

The net worth of the richest 20 percent of New Zealand households has risen $394,000 since 2015, to reach a median of $1.75 million, Stats NZ said today.

Over the same period, from the year ended June 2015 to the June 2018 year, the net worth of the bottom 40 percent has not increased.

The median net worth of the typical Kiwi household in the June 2018 year was $340,000, up from $289,000 three years ago – mainly reflecting rising property values. The median means half of all households are richer and half are poorer than this value.

“The median net worth of the top 20 percent of surveyed New Zealand households has increased about $131,000 a year. This equates to almost $360 every day for the past three years,” labour market and households senior manager Jason Attewell said.

“Household net worth in New Zealand is concentrated in the top 20 percent of Kiwi households surveyed in the past year. That group collectively holds about 70 percent of total household net worth. These net worth statistics tell us that wealth is unevenly distributed across the population, and this is unchanged from three years ago.”

In the second survey of net worth, Stats NZ asked thousands of households about the assets they own, including homes, shares, and bank deposits, and the money they owe, such as mortgages and credit card debt. The balance between the two sides of the ledger is their net worth.

“This information is important because it can show how well households are prepared for retirement, or how well they can weather a financial storm, such as losing their job,” Mr Attewell said.

In the June 2018 year, compared with three years earlier, 55 percent more households had a net worth of more than $1.50 million.

“However, we also know the survey may not gain a representative picture of a small number of the extremely rich,” Mr Attewell said.

Half of all households held 94 percent of New Zealand’s net worth. This is very similar to the distribution in 2015, when it was 93 percent.

New Zealanders’ individual net worth increased with age until around retirement. People tend to build net worth throughout their lives. In 2018, young people (15–24 years) had the lowest median individual net worth ($2,000); people of traditional retirement age (65–74 years) had the highest ($416,000).

The household economic survey is not designed to measure total wealth but helps to understand the distribution of net worth across the population.

Annual balance sheets: 2017 (provisional), released on 10 December 2018, provides a measure of total household net worth.

Video

See the Household net worth statistics: Year ended June 2018 video.

For more information about these statistics:

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