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Research findings - Social Situation Monitor - The composition of income at different points of the income distribution

The composition of gross household income differs across EU Member States. Figure 7 distinguishes five sources of income: earnings of employees, self-employment and capital (which together make up market income), plus pensions and social transfers.

The share of market income is smallest in Greece (71%) and largest in Malta,   (82%). The proportion of earnings in total gross income is largest in Estonia, where 77% of gross income comes from this source. Self-employment is most important in Greece, where 23% of gross income comes from this source and Italy, where the share of self-employment income is 19%.In the same time these two countries have the smallest share of income from employment. Capital income accounts for only a small share (between 1 and 5%) of the total in most countries, though in France this share is 10%.

The share of pensions is largest in Greece and Italy (around 22-23% of total gross income).  Social transfers are greatest in proportional terms in Ireland (15%) followed by Denmark and Spain (13%).

Figure 7: Sources of gross income, 2013 income year

Ineq_9_Sources of gross income

The composition of income tends to differ across the income distribution. In the case of the lowest income group (with income below 50% of the median) the share of market income is smaller than average in all countries, ranging from 28% (in Finland) to 68% (in Greece). Among households in the high-income group (over 200% of median income) the share of market income varies between 66% of total income (in Cyprus) and 96% (in the Czech Republic and Malta). In the middle-income group (between 80% and 120% of median income), the share of income from market sources is generally higher than for the low-income group, but smaller than in higher-income groups (Greece is an exception). Cyprus is unique in that market income within the higher-income groups accounts for a lower share of income than in the middle group (Figure 8 and Table 5 excel).

Figure 8: The share of market income according to income status, 2013 income year

Ineq_10_The share of market income according to income status 

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