Iceland's Richest 5% Own About Half The Country's Wealth - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Iceland’s Richest 5% Own About Half The Country’s Wealth

Published April 11, 2018

Photos by
DV/Sigtryggur Ari

Wealth inequality continues to grow in Iceland, to where the richest 5% of the country own nearly 50% of all available money. These levels are comparable to where they were just before Iceland’s financial collapse.

Stundin reports that this information came to light in a response from Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson to a formal question posed by Social Democrat MP Logi Már Einarsson.

There are two data points that the data concerns: annual income and owned assets in 2016. According to the Ministry’s own data, the top 5% of the richest families in Iceland brought in 22.2% of the total income earned in the country; the top 1% brought in 8.8%; and the top 0.1% brought in 3.1% of all income earned in Iceland.

In terms of owned assets, the richest 5% own 43.5% of all available assets in Iceland; the richest 1% own 19.2% and the richest 0.1% own 6.3%.

The levels of owned assets in Iceland in 2016 are comparable to where they were in 2007, the final year before Iceland’s financial system collapsed. In 2007, the richest 5%, 1% and 0.1% owned 43.6%, 22% and 8.6% of all available wealth, respectively.

Stundin also points out that the wealth disparity is greater than these figures show, as owned stocks are counted by their nominal value and real estate is valued based on the real estate market. The figures furthermore do not, of course, include any holdings being kept in offshore tax shelters.

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