Income in Iceland was more evenly distributed in 2014 than ever before in the European Survey of Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) but the survey was first collected in Iceland in 2004. The quintile share ratio and the Gini coefficient are two indicators for income distribution and they have never been this low in the Icelandic EU-SILC. The quintile share ratio shows that the highest income quintile had 3.1 times the income of the lowest quintile but the difference peaked at 4.2 in 2009. The Gini coefficient was 22.7 but peaked at 29.6 in 2009. The Gini coefficient would be 100 if one individual had all the income but 0 if everyone had equal income. The year 2013 is the latest offering international comparison but then Iceland had the second lowest Gini coefficient and quintile share ratio in Europe behind Norway.
In 2014 11.1% of the population in Iceland was at risk of poverty or social exclusion but that is the lowest proportion which has been measured in EU-SILC. One of five key objectives of the EU 2020 targets is to lower the number of people in this group which are individuals who are at risk of poverty, have severe material deprevation, or live in households with very low work intensity. In 2013 this indicator was lowest in Iceland among European countries followed by Norway, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.
The at-risk-of-poverty rate was 7.9, the same as it was in 2012 but it has never been lower. A further breakdown of the at-risk-of-poverty rate reveals that people with tertiary education are less likely to fall below the poverty threshold than those with less education. On the other hand the difference was less between those with basic education and those with upper secondary education. Tenants more likely than home owners to fall below the threshold, 15.9 compared to 5.8%.
Statistics Iceland has published an issue in the Statistical Series about risk of poverty and income distribution in 2014. More details on the results can be found in the Statistical Series.
Risk of poverty and income distribution – Statistical Series