ECB publishes new statistics on the distribution of household wealth
The Distributional Wealth Accounts (DWA), produced by the European System of Central Banks (ESCB), aim at meeting the growing interest in complementing macroeconomic sector accounts by distributional information.
- New experimental statistics on the distribution of household wealth in the euro area provide quarterly information to policy makers, coherent with national accounts
- First new data show that household net wealth in the euro area increased by 29%, with net wealth increase of home owners exceeding that of non-home owners
- Inequality, as measured, for example, by the share of wealth held by the top 5% versus bottom 50%, slightly decreased over past 5 years
The European Central Bank has published experimental statistics on DWA to provide quarterly and timely distributional information for the household sector which is consistent with the national accounts. The new data have been developed to support the reviewed ECB monetary policy strategy, which aims to include a systematic assessment of the two-way interaction between income and wealth distributions and monetary policy. The release also follows a recommendation of the G20 Data Gaps Initiative.
The DWA link household-level information from the Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) to macroeconomic information available in the Sector Accounts and thus complement existing household survey data. The data will be compiled every quarter and published 5 months after the end of each period.
The DWA provide data on net wealth, total assets and total liabilities and their components. Households are broken down into the top 5 deciles of net wealth and the bottom half as well as by employment and housing status.
The data help to analyse, for example, the effect of rising housing wealth and rising value of listed shares on the household wealth distribution. The data might help to understand who is benefiting from economic growth, and how inequality develops over time. This will assist them in developing policies that are targeted towards specific household groups, to assess the distributional impact of specific policies and events, and to foster inclusive growth.
The DWA data and information on its methodology can be accessed via the ECB Data Portal and the relevant subpage of the statistics section of the ECB website.
 One of the recommendations for G-20 countries is to develop by 2026 distributional information on household income, consumption, savings and wealth aligned with the respective headline indicators from the national accounts. See recommendations III.8 and III.9 at https://www.imf.org/en/News/Seminars/Conferences/DGI/g20-dgi-recommendations#dgi3.