Chart of the month: Mind the (income) gap

Line graph showing NI has lower gross disposable income per head than other parts of the UK

People in Northern Ireland typically have the lowest disposable incomes of any part of the UK, according to figures released from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Last week the ONS revealed its latest estimates (2013) of gross disposable household income (GDHI) for regions and sub-regions within the UK. GDHI refers to the amount of money that all of the individuals in the household sector have available for spending or saving after taxes and benefits have been taken into account.

In 2013, the typical disposable income available for Northern Ireland individuals to spend or save was £14,347. This was the lowest of all UK regions and was 81.7% of the UK average (£17,559) – the widest income gap since 2002. The equivalent figures for England, Scotland, Wales and the North East of England were £17,842, £17,039, £15,413 and £14,927 respectively.

Northern Ireland had a deeper and longer recession than any other part of the UK. Similarly, Northern Ireland’s recovery has been much weaker than in the rest of the UK. Northern Ireland’s disposable income gap with the rest of the UK narrowed during the boom years, but has steadily widened since 2007. Conversely, Scotland, Wales and the North East have narrowed their respective disposable income gaps with the UK since 2007.

Northern Ireland’s average disposable incomes have fallen in real terms, when adjusted for CPI inflation, for six consecutive years up to 2013. Northern Ireland’s GDHI per capita has fallen by 11.3% cumulatively over this period which compares unfavourably with a decline of 4.2% for the UK.

You can view the ONS interactive map on household disposable income here.

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