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Income and tax statistics: Income report 2016:

Differences in income continue to increase

Statistical news from Statistics Sweden 2018-06-29 9.30

Since 1991, the real economic standard has increased by 60 percent. Progress has not been as strong in all groups, resulting in increased income gaps. These are the findings of Statistics Sweden’s annual income report, published today.

The report presents income statistics on both individuals and households. It highlights income distribution and income development in different groups up to and including the 2016 income year. Two introductory sections present incomes in a cross-sectional perspective and a final section presents income mobility in the period from 2000 to 2016. In short, the results show that:

Incomes have increased more for women than for men

In 2016, the median income of women, measured as total income from employment and business, was 82 percent of the income for men in the age group from 20 to 64 years. Since 2000, the inflation-adjusted income of women has increased by 37 percent, compared with 28 percent for men. Among people aged 65 and older, total income in 2016 from employment and business, including pension, for women corresponded to 73 percent of the income for men. In 2005, the corresponding proportion was 68 percent, which means that the income of women in this age group has increased at a faster rate than the income of men – 24 percent for women, compared with 16 percent for men in the period from 2005 to 2016.

Large regional differences

There are large regional variations in median income. In 2016, the highest income among people aged 20 to 64 years was in Danderyd municipality. However, Lomma municipality has had the strongest development since 2000, while Perstorp municipality had the least favorable development.

More people work at a greater age

Since the age at which people have a right to keep working was raised from 65 to 67 in the early 2000s, the share of older people in the population who are gainfully employed has increased sharply. In 2000, 22 percent of 66-year-olds had a salary income. In 2016, this share had increased to 44 percent. Among 67-year-olds, the share increased from 18 to 37 percent in the same period. However, the share of 65-year-olds and people aged 68–69 who have a salary income has also increased gradually since 2000.

Among people aged 65 or older, a greater share of men than women have a salary income. However, from 2000 to 2016, the share of people with a salary income has increased more among women than among men.

The trend in income is positive, although income gaps continue to increase

The progress of households’ economic standard has also been favourable. Since 1991, the real economic standard has increased by 60 percent, despite a 9 percent drop in incomes between 1991 and 1995, and incomes only returning to the 1991 level in 1999. The development of economic standard has not been this strong in all groups, which means that income gaps have increased. In 1991, the Gini coefficient was 0.226. In 2000, it had increased to 0.294 and in 2016 it was 0.320, which is the highest listing since measurements began. The proportion of people at risk of poverty increased in the same time period, from 7.3 percent in 1991 to 14.4 percent in 2016.

In 2016, cohabiting persons with young adults still living at home and cohabiting persons without children had the highest economic standard. Single women with children had the lowest economic standard. Foreign born persons have a lower economic standard than people born in Sweden. In 2016, foreign born persons had an economic standard corresponding to 77 percent of the economic standard of people born in Sweden. However, this share has remained more or less unchanged since 2010. In 1991, the corresponding share was 90 percent; that is, the differences between foreign born persons and those born in Sweden have increased.

ROT, RUT and interest deduction

On average, Swedish households received almost SEK 8 000 in ROT, RUT and interest deductions in 2016. However, the deductions are unevenly distributed among the households. Households in decile 10 received, on average, almost SEK 21 000 in ROT, RUT and interest deductions in 2016, while households in decile 1 and 2 received less than SEK 2 000.

Strong income development among young people and people with low incomes

A longitudinal analysis shows that younger people had the best income development since 2000 – incomes increased by 155 and 92 percent respectively among people aged 20–24 and 25–29 from 2000 to 2016. Persons aged 55–59 and 60–64 had the least favorable development in the same period; a majority of them transitioned from employment to retirement and their incomes fell by 10 and 5 percent respectively. Persons with low incomes who were in decile 1 in 2000 have also seen a substantial increase in their incomes, 75 percent by 2016. The trend in decile 1 is in line with the development in decile 10, and outperforms the development in several other income groups.

The commonly reported cross-sectional development may give a slightly different picture for specific groups. In a cross-sectional analysis, incomes increased by 33 and 63 percent respectively in the age groups 20–24 and 60–64 years old. The corresponding cross-sectional development for decil 1 and decil 10 was 30 and 62 percent, respectively.

The share of women with persistently low incomes decreased

The share of people with long-term low incomes, which, in the report, refers to those who remain in decile 1 for six consecutive years, has decreased by 7 percentage points among women in the period 2000–2016, while the share has increased by 3 percentage points among men. However, persistency in decile 1 is still higher among women – about one third of the women and a quarter of the men had persistently low incomes during the six-year period 2011 –2016. Due to their introduction to the labor market, younger people have greater opportunities to climb in the income distribution, and thus have lower persistency than elderly people in decile 1. Persistency in decile 1 among people aged 20–29 was 14 percent among women and 16 percent among men in the period 2011–2016, compared with 65 and 52 percent respectively in the age group 65–79 year-olds.

Statistical Database

More information is available in the Statistical Database

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Statistical agency and producer

Statistics Sweden, Population and Economic Welfare statistics unit

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Johan Lindberg

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Peter Gärdqvist

+46 10 479 67 85