Income levels over time from the poorest fifth to the richest fifth

After housing costs, incomes have increased at a higher rate for the richest fifth than for any other over the last 20 years. Incomes for the poorest fifth increased the least.

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Link to source: Households Below Average Income

There are many reasons why incomes for the poorest fifth increased the least over the last 20 years. Increasing housing costs were a key factor. There was an increase in the proportion of working-age adults in the poorest fifth of the population spending more than a third of their income (including Housing Benefit) on housing costs. The rise in housing costs are also partly due to a far greater number of people now living in the private rented sector (where rents tend to be higher than the social rented sector). There has also been an increase in the cost of social rented housing and reductions in the benefits intended to help low-income families pay for it. Pay at the bottom has also increased significantly with the introduction and raising of the minimum wage, but pay at the top has increased more.