Generational income

  • Household income increases most during people’s twenties, and falls after people reach their mid-50’s. More recent generations have had relatively faster income growth in their twenties, compared with older generations.

  • Up until those born in the 1970’s, each generation tended to have higher median household income than people of the same age born a decade earlier.

  • At each age, households with heads born in the 1980s have broadly comparable median incomes to those born the previous decade, but they have also seen slower growth in income between ages 25 to 34, compared with those born in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

  • For those aged 25 and above, almost every generation has paid more in taxes, including both direct and indirect, than those born in the previous decade did at the same age.

  • Similarly, most generations have also received more in benefits, both cash and in-kind, at the same age than those born before them, reflecting increased spending in real terms on cash benefits, education and health services since the mid-1990’s to the early 2010’s.

  • People aged 55 to 64 pay more in tax than they receive in benefits. However, as incomes have grown over recent decades, so has the amount of tax they paid, while the amount of benefits they received has not grown in-line, so the gap between the two has increased.

  • Those aged 25 to 54 years also pay more in tax than they receive in benefits, but the gap between the two has reduced over recent years.