Income, savings and household wealth in Spain: 21st century transformation

Income, savings and household wealth in Spain: 21st century transformation

Fecha: enero 2024

Marina Asensio, Marina García and Daniel Manzano

Spanish households

SEFO, Spanish and International Economic & Financial Outlook, V. 13 N.º 1 (January 2024)

Spanish households and their finances have undergone major transformation since the start of the century, from the time of Spain’s inclusion in the eurozone. Taking a dual macro and micro perspective, an analysis of Spanish households over time, as well as relative to those of other large eurozone economies, reveals various major structural changes as regards the composition of the universe of Spanish households, and the main trends with respect to their income, savings, and wealth over the period. Indeed, driven in part by immigration, the number of Spanish households has increased in absolute terms as well as relative to the rest of Europe, meanwhile their average size has contracted, albeit remaining larger than the eurozone average. In parallel, there has been a widening of the wealth gap with respect to Europe, accompanied by a widening of the generational wealth gap in Spain, with households with the oldest heads having seen their income increase. In contrast, an area where there has been little change is households’ scant propensity to save, remaining low and highly volatile compared to the levels in other eurozone economies. Nevertheless, this has not prevented Spanish households from accumulating wealth on equivalent or higher levels relative to neighbouring countries, a trend plausibly explained by Spanish households’ propensity to invest in the real estate market, and which is once again adding cost pressures for younger households. These changes should be taken into consideration to ensure proper public policy design.

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