The Household Wealth Distribution in Spain

Working Paper 2008-83


We analyse the distribution of household wealth in Spain using the first wave of the Spanish Survey of Household Finances, conducted by the Bank of Spain in 2002. We study the distribution of the different wealth components and, using inequality decomposition techniques, we assess the contribution of each element to overall wealth inequality. We find that wealth is more unequally distributed than income, while housing wealth is much more evenly distributed than financial wealth. Moreover, we identify two groups of wealth components: one disequalizing group, which includes financial wealth, whose value and portfolio share increase with household wealth; and a second more equalizing one, including housing wealth, whose value increases with wealth, but their share in the portfolio does not. Finally, we show that differences between age groups do not explain why wealth is much more unequally distributed than income. Instead, business and home ownership are factors that clearly contribute to explain this feature.

Authors: Francisco Azpitarte .

Keywords: Wealth, income, distribution, inequality decomposition.
JEL: D14, D31