Inheritances and inequality across and within generations

Document type
Hood, Andrew; Joyce, Robert
Institute for Fiscal Studies
Date of publication
5 January 2017
IFS Briefing Note; BN192
Older Adults, Children and Young People, Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion
Social welfare
Material type

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This briefing highlights the importance of inherited wealth and how it may play a more important role in determining the lifetime economic resources of younger generations.

Key points:

  • Elderly households now have much more wealth than households of the same age a decade ago.
  • An increased proportion of elderly households intend to leave a large inheritance.
  • Younger generations are much more likely to expect to receive an inheritance than their predecessors.

Today’s young adults will find it harder to accumulate wealth of their own than previous generations did.

This is due to the sharp fall in homeownership, the dramatic decline of defined benefit pensions in the private sector, and the stagnation in household incomes.

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