More even distribution of wealth following Icelandic crash

Icelanders’ earnings were spread more evenly in 2011 than any year since 2004 – when Statistics Iceland began its standard-of-living research.

The newly released report by the national statistics bureau states that the gap between earners has shrunk quickly since 2009 and the highest earning 20 percent of the population now earn 3.3 times more than the lowest earning 20 percent.

In comparison, the difference was 4.2-times higher wages in 2009, Ví reports. The Gini coefficient, which is one of two methods used in compiling the data, came out at 23.6 and peaked at 29.6 in 2009.

Disposable income measured by takings against the consumer price index indicates that real wages are currently at the same level they were in 2004 in all income brackets. Between 2004 and 2009 purchasing power increased in all categories; but most in the highest earning bracket. Conversely, it is the highest-earning 20 percent who have seen their purchasing power erode the most in 2010 and 2011.

IN 2011 13.6 percent of Icelanders were earning less than minimum wage or considered in danger of social isolation in other ways. That figure is the base of one of the EU’s five key goals for improvement by 2020. In 2010 Iceland had the lowest level of social exclusion/insufficient wages in any European country which takes part in the data collection.

The figure is based on three elements: household income, householders’ workplace participation, and the level of material wealth households can afford. The proportion of people under minimum wage was 9.2 percent – a record low figure.

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