The scale and drivers of ethnic wealth gaps across the wealth distribution in the UK: evidence from Understanding Society

[These findings] suggest that ethnic minority groups face unseen disadvantages which translate into substantially lower housing wealth relative to white Britons.

Eleni Karagiannaki



Research in the Wealth, Elites and Tax Justice research programme

The scale and drivers of ethnic wealth gaps across the wealth distribution in the UK: Evidence from Understanding Society

The typical person from a Bangladeshi, black Caribbean or black African background has no significant level of household net worth, in contrast to the typical white Briton who has a household net worth of £140,000, according to new research by the London School of Economics and Political Science.  

Ethnic minority groups in Britain, at all levels of wealth, are substantially less well off than white Britons, shows the report. The exceptions are British Indians who have a typical household net worth of £160,000. 

The report looks at, for the first time, the scale and causes of ethnic disparities in wealth at all levels of net worth. 

The wealthiest five per cent of British white people have £893,000, or more, in household wealth, which is nearly three times higher than the wealthiest five per cent of people from black African backgrounds who have £304,000 in household wealth.

At the other end of the wealth spectrum, 31 per cent, 38 per cent and 44 per cent of people from black Caribbean, Bangladeshi and black African backgrounds respectively are in net debt. This compares to 15 per cent of the white British population and 11 per cent of people of Indian heritage.

Read the full press release on the LSE website.

Read the paper

Lead investigator:

Eleni Karagiannaki
Faculty Associate, International Inequalities Institute, LSE
Assistant Professorial Research Fellow, CASE, LSE