Households - statistics on financial assets and liabilities
Data extracted on 24 October 2022.
Planned article update: November 2023.
Total financial assets of households in the EU were valued at €34 982 billion in 2021, which was almost four times as high as the value of their financial liabilities, which stood at €9 090 billion.
Households’ assets in the EU in 2021 were composed mainly of equity and investment fund shares (32.9 %), currency and deposits (31.6 %) and insurance, pensions and standardised guarantees (31.1 %), whereas liabilities largely consisted of loans (93.5 %).
This article focuses on the annual stock of financial assets and liabilities for households and non-profit institutions serving households (NPISH); note there are complementary articles that provide similar information for non-financial corporations and for financial corporations. A comparison between these sectors (excluding general government) is available in the article on non-financial corporations.
Across the European Union (EU), the financial assets of households mainly comprise equity and investment fund shares, currency and deposits, and assets held with life insurance companies and pension funds. The financial liabilities of households mainly comprise mortgages and other types of loans.
The data presented in this article relate to a detailed set of consolidated financial balance sheets for households and NPISH, as released by Eurostat. Note that statistics detailing the financial accounts may be consolidated or non-consolidated; the latter record not only transactions and positions between sectors (in other words, households and NPISH with other actors in the economy) but also transactions and positions within the same sector (in other words, between households and/or NPISH).
This article provides an analysis of financial assets and liabilities in the EU and the euro area (EA), as well as for individual EU Member States, one of the EFTA countries (Norway) and one of the enlargement countries (Türkiye) for the latest year available (2021). Some indicators are presented in relation to gross domestic product (GDP), which is beneficial for making cross-country comparisons, especially between countries of different sizes.
In this article, data for the households sector always include information for the NPISH sector. It should be noted that the size of the NPISH sector is relatively small compared with the household sector, accounting for around 2 % of the combined total financial assets and liabilities of these two sectors.
Assets and liabilities
Total financial assets of households in the EU were valued at €34 982 billion in 2021, almost four times as high as their financial liabilities, which were valued at €9 090 billion
Total financial assets of households in the EU were valued at €34 982 in 2021. This was almost four times higher than the value of their financial liabilities that stood at €9 090 billion, resulting in a net difference of €25 892 billion (or 74.0 %). This is higher than the same value in 2020, which stood at €23 817 billion (or 73.2 %).
The annual rate of change for total financial assets and liabilities of households is presented in Figure 1. The EU recorded growth in 2021 of 7.5 % for assets and 4.1 % for liabilities.
In the EU Member States, the highest annual growth rates for assets in 2021 were observed in Bulgaria (29.6 %), Lithuania (21.0 %) and Denmark (19.4 %). For liabilities, the Member States with the highest annual growth rates were Lithuania (16.2 %), Hungary (14.8 %) and Slovakia (13.0 %). Among the non-EU countries included in Figure 1, Türkiye had even higher annual growth rates: 51.9 % for assets and 22.0 % for liabilities. Among the Member States, only the Netherlands had a negative annual rate of change for assets and this was small (-0.1 %); for liabilities, negative annual rates of change were registered for Ireland (-0.8 %) and Denmark (-0.5 %). Denmark and Bulgaria had the largest differences in rates of change between assets and liabilities, 19.9 and 19.4 percentage points respectively; there was an even higher difference in Türkiye (29.9 points). It should be noted that rates of change are calculated in national currencies.
The share of each EU Member State in the EU’s total financial assets and liabilities of households in 2021 is presented in Figure 2. Germany held more than one fifth of the financial assets (22.4 %) and liabilities (22.7 %) of households in the EU while France’s shares were just under a fifth for assets (18.7 %) and just over a fifth for liabilities (20.7 %). These two were followed by Italy with 14.6 % of assets but a lower share (9.4 %) of liabilities and the Netherlands with 8.8 % of assets and 9.8 % of liabilities. Apart from Spain and Sweden, the other Member States held less than 5.0 % each. Five Member States – Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain – collectively accounted for 72.3 % of the financial assets and 71.0 % of the financial liabilities of households in the EU.
Figure 3 presents the financial assets and liabilities of households as a percentage of GDP. In 2021, these assets were valued in the EU at 240.9 % of GDP, while these liabilities were valued at 62.6 %, resulting in net assets equivalent to 178.3 % of GDP.
In all EU Member States, the value of households’ financial assets in 2021 was higher than that of liabilities. In Finland, households’ financial assets were 2.1 times as high as their liabilities, the lowest such ratio among the EU Member States. Elsewhere, financial assets were at least 3.0 times as high in 21 Member States and at least 4.0 times as high in seven Member States. This ratio was highest in Bulgaria (5.8 times as high), Hungary (5.9 times as higher) and Italy (6.0 times as high).
The value of households’ financial assets as a percentage of GDP was above 100.0 % in 2021 for all EU Member States except for Romania. This ratio was highest in Denmark (434.1 %), Sweden (382.4 %) and the Netherlands (360.7 %), where households’ financial assets were valued at 3.5–4.0 times these Member States’ GDP. However, the value of liabilities as a percentage of GDP was below 100.0 % for all Member States except for Denmark (109.1 %) and the Netherlands (104.2 %).
Structure of assets and liabilities
The largest shares of households’ financial assets were equity and investment fund shares, currency and deposits, and insurances, pensions and standardised guarantees
The vast majority of households’ financial liabilities were loans
In this article, financial assets and liabilities are presented for five main types of instruments: currency and deposits; loans; equity and investment fund shares; insurances, pensions and standardised guarantees; and other accounts receivable/payable. Three other types of assets and liabilities accounted for small shares of total financial assets of EU households in 2021 and are grouped together as other instruments (with a collective share of 1.6 % of the total): monetary gold and special drawing rights (SDRs); debt securities; and financial derivatives and employee stock options. Notably, the category of monetary gold and special drawing rights (SDRs) was valued at zero for all EU Member States for the households sector.
Out of the total financial assets of EU households in 2021, equity and investment fund shares accounted for the largest share (32.9 %) – see Figure 4. This was closely followed by currency and deposits (31.6 %) and insurance, pensions and standardised guarantees (31.1 %). Smaller shares were recorded for other accounts receivable/payable (2.5 %), other instruments (1.6 %) and loans (0.3 %).
Among the EU Member States, the main types of assets held by households in 2021 were generally currency and deposits, equity and investment fund shares, and other instruments.
- The category of currency and deposits was the largest instrument in 14 Member States and accounted for over half of the total in five of them: Cyprus (60.7 %), Greece (57.8 %), Slovakia (52.7 %), Poland (50.5 %) and Malta (also 50.5 %).
- The category of equity and investment fund shares was the largest instrument in 10 Member States where their share ranged between 39.2 % and 66.8 %.
- The category of insurance, pensions and standardised guarantees was the largest instrument in three Member States: the Netherlands (64.9 %), Ireland (46.0 %) and France (34.6 %).
Loans accounted for 93.5 % of total financial liabilities of EU households in 2021. Other accounts receivable/payable accounted for most of the rest (6.4 % of the total). The main type of households’ liabilities in each of the EU Member States in 2021 was loans, accounting for at least 81.0 % of the total except in Romania where the share was 73.3 %. The lowest contributions from other accounts receivable/payable were 0.0 % in Luxembourg and 1.0 % in Germany; the highest shares were 16.6 % in Finland, 16.9 % in Portugal, 17.2 % in Bulgaria and 18.3 % in Romania.
The value of households’ financial assets as a percentage of GDP increased in all EU Member States
Total financial assets of EU households grew almost continuously during the period 2011–2021, falling only in 2018. Their total value increased from €21 331 billion in 2011 to €34 982 billion in 2021, a 64.0 % overall increase.
Total financial liabilities fell slightly between 2011 and 2014 but increased each year thereafter through to 2021. Total financial liabilities increased from €7 648 billion in 2011 to €9 090 billion in 2021, an overall increase of 18.9 %.
The value of households’ financial assets as a percentage of GDP was 0.9 percentage points lower in 2021 than in 2020 in the EU; this ratio decreased in 17 EU Member States, most notably in the Netherlands, Belgium and Malta; this ratio also decreased in Norway (see Figure 5).
The value of households’ financial liabilities as a percentage of GDP decreased 3.5 % in the EU between 2020 and 2021; this ratio decreased in 23 EU Member States, most notably in Ireland and Croatia; this ratio also decreased in Norway and Türkiye. Increases were observed in Slovakia, Lithuania, Hungary and Czechia.
Source data for tables and graphs
The compilation of financial accounts follows the European System of Accounts 2010 (ESA 2010).
The financial account and balance sheet
Eurostat’s website includes detailed financial accounts by country. Financial accounts are published in consolidated and non-consolidated forms; within this article, the former are presented. As a rule, the accounting entries in ESA 2010 are non-consolidated, as a consolidated financial account requires information on the counterpart grouping of institutional units. Note that data for the EU and EA aggregates are calculated as a sum of data for EU Member States; no adjustment is made for flows between Member States.
The household sector
Data for 2012 and more recent years are available separately for the household sector and for the NPISH sector. For data before 2012, these sectors were combined under a single heading. As such, any time series analyses are based on this combined aggregate to maintain comparability. The NPISH sector is relatively small.
In general, sole proprietorships and most partnerships that do not have an independent legal status are considered to be part of the household sector, rather than as corporations (financial or non-financial). However, there are sometimes practical difficulties in delineating ‘quasi-corporations’ (unincorporated businesses with the characteristics of companies) between corporations on one hand and the household sector on the other, which may influence the scope and comparability of the data presented as well as the internal consistency of the full set of accounts.
Financial accounts form part of the national accounting framework and are compiled in the EU in accordance with ESA 2010. They are a significant tool for analysing financial developments and policy decisions, and provide key statistical information on financial transactions, other financial flows, and financial balance sheets by institutional sector, including the household sector. Particular issues relating to the household sector include the growth and level of indebtedness, one of the main impulses for the global financial and economic crisis.
Financial accounts show how borrowers obtain resources by incurring liabilities or reducing assets, and how lenders allocate their surpluses by acquiring assets or reducing liabilities. Financial assets held by households form an important part of overall wealth and are also an important source of revenue or property income (such as interest payments and dividends). The structure of financial assets held by households may be used in economic analyses to study issues such as asset bubbles, or to assess financial risk, vulnerability and welfare.
Direct access to
- Financial flows and stocks (nasa_10_f)
- Financial balance sheets (nasa_10_f_bs)