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Economics in a picture

Economics in a picture

Assets have a much more unequal distribution than liabilities among households with different levels of wealth


The data from the Portuguese Household Finance and Consumption Survey (ISFF) allows to characterize the wealth distribution of households in Portugal. The wealth of a household is defined as the difference between the values of its assets and liabilities. According to ISFF 2017 data, in Portugal the bottom 20% of households in terms of wealth hold around 0.1% of total assets, while the top 20% wealth group holds about 70%.  

The high inequality of wealth is due to the much more unequal distribution of assets among households with different wealth levels, than of debt. The value of assets increases strongly with wealth. The top 20% wealth group holds 45 times more assets than the bottom 20% group. The debt shares are more similar, with the highest wealth group holding three times more debt than the lowest wealth group.


For more details see on the ISFF page on the Banco de Portugal website the press release “Portuguese Household Finance and Consumption Survey”  published on November 13, 2019 .



Prepared by Sónia Costa, Luísa Farinha, Luís Martins, and Renata Mesquita. The analyses, opinions and findings expressed above represent the views of the author and not necessarily those of Banco de Portugal or the Eurosystem.


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