In 2021, gross disposable household income (GDHI) in the UK grew by 3.6% when compared with 2020; Northern Ireland increased by 4.5%, while England, Wales and Scotland reported increases of 3.7%, 2.8% and 2.6%, respectively.
Of the countries and regions classified by International Territorial Levels (ITL1) in 2021, London had the highest GDHI per head where, on average, each person had £31,094 available to spend or save; Northern Ireland had the lowest at £17,636, which compares with a UK average of £21,679.
In 2021, Westminster was the local area (ITL3) with the highest GDHI per head (£67,389), over three times the UK average; Leicester had the lowest GDHI per head at £14,605.
In 2021, the ITL3 local areas showing the largest increases in total GDHI were Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham (6.4%), Camden and City of London (6.3%), and Derry City and Strabane (6.0%); the local areas with the smallest increases in 2021 were Causeway Coast and Glens (0.2%), Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot (1.2%), and Falkirk (1.4%).
UK total gross disposable household income (GDHI) in 2021 was £1.5 trillion. Of that, 86.4% was in England, 7.4% was in Scotland, 3.9% was in Wales, and Northern Ireland had the lowest share of total GDHI in 2021 at 2.3%. When compared with the size of each country's population, only England had a GDHI per head above the UK average.
Total GDHI in the UK increased by 3.6% between 2020 and 2021. Over the same period, total GDHI grew in all four countries of the UK, with the highest growth seen in Northern Ireland at 4.5%. The smallest increase between 2020 and 2021 was in Scotland, where total GDHI grew by 2.6%.
Table 1 provides an overview of GDHI for the four UK countries and International Territorial Levels (ITL1) regions. Total GDHI increased in all 12 ITL1 countries and regions, with the largest and smallest percentage increases in Northern Ireland and Scotland, respectively.
|Countries and regions of the UK||Population (million)||GDHI per head (£)||GDHI per head index (UK=100)||Total GDHI (£ million)||Total GDHI growth on 2020 (percentage)||Share of the UK population (percentage)||Share of UK total GDHI (percentage)|
|Yorkshire and The Humber||5.5||18,363||84.7||100,657||3.1||8.2||6.9|
Download this table Table 1: Gross disposable household income by UK and constituent countries and regions, UK, 2021.xls .csv
Figures may not sum to totals as a result of rounding; per head (£) figures are rounded to the nearest pound sterling.
Figures for the UK are consistent with those published in the UK National Accounts, The Blue Book: 2022.
2021 estimates are provisional.
Population estimates are sourced from Population estimates for the UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland: mid-2021.
When ordered by GDHI per head, three ITL1 regions reported a value above UK GDHI per head. These were: London, the South East, and East of England (Figure 1). The lowest GDHI per head was seen in Northern Ireland.
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At the International Territorial Level 3 (ITL3), the 10 places with the highest gross disposable household income (GDHI) per head in 2021 were all in London and the South East of England, with the top 8 all in London (Table 2). The area with the highest GDHI per head was Westminster where, on average, each person had £67,389 to spend or save. This is over three times the UK average of £21,679.
The ITL3 area with the lowest GDHI per head was Leicester where, on average, each person had £14,605 to spend or save. The 10 places with the lowest GDHI per head were all in four ITL1 regions of England, with two in each of the East Midlands, North West, and Yorkshire and The Humber, and four in the West Midlands.
In the data tables published with this bulletin (Section 5) you can find a full breakdown of the income components flowing into and out of households, showing for each area which components are having the greatest impact on household finances.
|Parent ITL1 region||GDHI per head (£)||GDHI per head index (UK=100)||Total GDHI growth on 2020 (percentage)|
|Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham||London||64,660||298.3||6.4|
|Camden and City of London||London||63,854||294.5||6.3|
|Haringey and Islington||London||34,375||158.6||4.2|
|Hounslow and Richmond upon Thames||London||32,202||148.5||3.2|
|West Surrey||South East||31,392||144.8||5.2|
|East Surrey||South East||29,767||137.3||4.2|
|East Lancashire||North West||16,097||74.3||2.5|
|Bradford||Yorkshire and The Humber||15,704||72.4||2.5|
|Kingston upon Hull, City of||Yorkshire and The Humber||15,038||69.4||2.2|
|Blackburn with Darwen||North West||15,025||69.3||3.8|
Download this table Table 2: Top 10 and bottom 10 ITL3 areas by gross disposable household income per head, 2021.xls .csv
At the ITL3 level, all 179 areas saw an increase in total GDHI between 2020 and 2021. This reflects the widespread recovery of household finances from the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which affected local areas in different ways, depending on the composition of household income in each area. In general, those areas that saw the largest decreases in GDHI in 2020 are now showing larger increases in 2021, as they return to a more normal level.
In 2021, the ITL3 local areas showing the largest increases in total GDHI were Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham (6.4%), Camden and City of London (6.3%), and Derry City and Strabane (6.0%). The local areas with the smallest increases in 2021 were Causeway Coast and Glens (0.2%), Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot (1.2%), and Falkirk (1.4%).
It should be noted that GDHI figures include the effect of price inflation. Of the 179 ITL3 areas, 152 showed total GDHI growth equal to or greater than the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers' housing costs (CPIH) annual growth rate of 2.5%. The remaining 27 ITL3 areas showed growth lower than the CPIH annual growth rate, which might be interpreted as a decrease in the real terms value of disposable income. However, it is important to recognise that the CPIH does not account for any regional variation in the cost of living.Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys
Figure 2 allows users to explore how gross disposable household income (GDHI) per head has varied among local authorities between 1997 and 2021.
Figure 2: Gross disposable household income per head for UK local authorities, 1997 to 2021
The City of London is not shown on the map because its GDHI per head is a large outlier value.
Growth in per head estimates between 2020 and 2021 are unreliable because of a discontinuity in population data for some areas, caused by differences in the timing of census updates.
Download this chartNôl i'r tabl cynnwys
Regional gross disposable household income: all ITL level regions
Dataset | Released 14 September 2023
Annual estimates of UK regional gross disposable household income (GDHI) at current prices for ITL1, ITL2 and ITL3 regions.
Regional gross disposable household income: city regions
Dataset | Released 14 September 2023
Annual estimates of UK regional GDHI for combined authorities and city regions.
Regional gross disposable household income: enterprise regions
Dataset | Released 14 September 2023
Annual estimates of UK regional GDHI for other economic and enterprise regions.
Regional gross disposable household income: local authorities by ITL1 region
Dataset | Released 14 September 2023
Annual estimates of UK regional GDHI for local authorities.
Gross disposable household income (GDHI)
Gross disposable household income (GDHI) is the amount of money that all the individuals in the household sector have available for spending or saving after they have paid direct and indirect taxes and received any direct benefits. GDHI is a concept that is seen to reflect the “material welfare” of the household sector. The household sector includes residents of traditional households, as well as those living in communal establishments. GDHI also includes the business income of self-employed people.
International Territorial Levels (ITL)
International Territorial Levels (ITL) is the new UK geographies classification system. This has superseded the Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics (NUTS) classification system. The ITL areas have initially been set to be an exact copy of the current NUTS areas for the UK.
Estimates can be divided by the resident population of a country, region, or area to give a value per head. This can be a useful way of comparing regions of different sizes. Because GDHI is measured according to the residence of the person, not their place of work, GDHI per head is not subject to distortion from commuting. It does, however, include the entire population of an area, including children and retired people.Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys
Various guidance and methodology documents relating to regional gross disposable household income (GDHI) are available. Our Regional accounts methodology guide provides an overview of the methodology used to compile regional accounts outputs.
Methodology information on how the data were created and its appropriate uses are available in our Regional GDHI QMI.
For further details on the different data sources and outputs that feed into the analysis of income and earnings within the UK, see our Income and earnings statistics guide. For more information on income and earnings statistics produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and other government departments, see our Explaining income and earnings: important questions answered methodology.
GDHI estimates in this release show revisions for the period 1997 to 2020.
Very few statistical revisions arise because of errors in the popular sense of the word. All estimates, by definition, are subject to statistical error but in this context the word refers to the uncertainty in any process or calculation that uses sampling, estimation, or modelling. Most revisions reflect either the adoption of new statistical techniques or the incorporation of new information, which allows the statistical error of previous estimates to be reduced.
Only rarely are there avoidable errors such as human or system errors, and such mistakes are made clear when they are discovered and corrected.
In this release we have introduced improvements to the processing of rent received by private landlords for accommodation services, which is part of the mixed income component. We now have access to information on both the number of rented dwellings and the median rent paid in each local authority area of the UK, allowing for a more precise allocation of this income component across all areas. Revisions from this change are likely to be largest in areas where rents are highest and lowest; that is, those furthest away from the average.
Otherwise, the main cause of revisions in this release is the impact of revised figures published in the UK National Accounts, The Blue Book: 2022. Regional GDHI is consistent with Blue Book 2022 and revisions will come through next year to align to Blue Book 2023, but these are expected to be smaller than wider revisions to Gross Value Added (GVA).
Users can monitor revisions to the published figures over time via the regional GDHI revisions triangles.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) impact
In this release we are seeing the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on regional gross disposable household income (GDHI) across 2020 and 2021.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected the components of GDHI differently and this is reflected in some unusual movements in the data for 2020 and 2021, particularly when looking at smaller geographical areas.Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys
Data included in this release are designated as National Statistics, which means they have been assessed by the Office for Statistics Regulation as fully compliant with the Code of Practice for Statistics.
Figures for 2021 are provisional as national estimates have not been through supply and use balancing at the time of this publication.
This year, Census 2021 in England and Wales has provided us with new estimates of the population of areas in 2021, but we do not yet have rebased estimates for the intercensal years 2012 to 2020. As a result, there is a discontinuity in the population estimates between 2020 and 2021. We have therefore suppressed any annual growth estimates of gross disposable household income (GDHI) per head for 2020 to 2021 from this publication. We strongly advise users not to calculate and use these distorted growth rates themselves, but instead to look at annual growth in total GDHI to compare the performance of areas over time.
Quality information on the strengths and limitations of the data is available in our Regional GDHI QMI.
The figures in the accompanying datasets are all in current prices, which include the effect of price inflation, and are consistent with those published in the UK National Accounts, The Blue Book: 2022.Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys
Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 14 September 2023, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Regional gross disposable household income, UK: 1997 to 2021
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