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Personal Income

Volume 458: debated on Monday 19 March 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) mean and (b) median age is of the household reference person in each household income decile. (127327)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 19 March 2007:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking what the (a) mean and (b) median age is of the household reference person in each household income decile. (127327).

The ONS analysis 'The effects of taxes and benefits on household income' provides information about the income distribution and the characteristics of households in different parts of the income distribution. The latest analysis for 2004/05 was published on the National Statistics website on 12th May 2006 at http://www.statistics.gov.uk/taxesbenefits, while that for 2005/06 will be published on 17 May 2007. This annual analysis is based on data from the Expenditure and Food Survey, which is a sample survey covering approximately 7,000 households in the UK. Tables 15 and 15A provide information on household characteristics by income decile group.

The table below, based on the same underlying data as that appearing in Tables 15 and 15A, shows the mean and median age of the household reference person by household income decile.

The household reference person is the person in the household who owns the accommodation or is responsible for paying rent. If this ownership or responsibility for paying rent is held jointly, then the household reference person is the person with the highest income. A fuller definition is provided in the background notes.

The income decile groups are determined by ranking households according to their equivalised disposable income. The table below also shows the equivalised income boundary points which separate households into decile groups.

Equivalised incomes are standardised to take into account different sizes and compositions of households. The standard household is deemed to be a two adult household with no children, and so these equivalised incomes can be interpreted as indicating a standard of living that would be achieved by a standard household with that income.

The figures shown in the table below are based on a sample survey and are not necessarily accurate to the nearest single year of age, but nevertheless provide a good indication of how the age of the household reference person changes across the income distribution.

Mean and median age of household reference person by decile groups of ALL households, 2004-05

Decile groups of all households ranked by equivalised disposable income

Bottom

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th

9th

Top

All households

Decile boundary points (equivalised)

9,892

12,530

14,691

16,948

19,309

22,287

25,811

30,832

40,385

Number of households in the population (000s)

2,440

2,446

2,440

2,445

2,443

2,444

2,443

2,440

2,447

2,444

24,431

Mean age of household reference person

55

55

58

56

53

51

50

48

45

46

52

Median age of household reference person

57

57

60

57

51

50

49

48

45

45

52

Source: ONS, Effects of taxes and benefits on household income, 2004-05.