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The Earnings Distribution: the bottom, the middle, the top and the very top

Posted on September 09, 2014 by Micheál Collins

There has been lots of talk in recent months about ‘middle-earners’ – almost all of it without any basis in the various numbers available on the income and earnings distribution. Indicator 4.5a in the latest edition of the NERI’s Quarterly Economic Facts (p75-76) provides a basis for a more informed understanding.

The indicator uses the latest earnings data from the Revenue Commissioners’ Statistical Report to profile the distribution of earnings. Dealing only with taxable income the data details the distribution of tax cases (individuals or couples who are jointly assessed) by total gross income for the 2011 tax year – the latest available.

Summarising the data, it is possible to set-out those at the bottom, in the middle, at the top and at the very top of the earnings distribution:

  • Bottom: incomes between €0 and €15,000 = 26% of earners (539,702 tax cases)
  • Middle: incomes between €15,000 and €50,000 = 52% of earners (1,056,216  tax cases)
  • Top: incomes between €50,000 and €100,000 = 17% of earners (354,570 tax cases)
  • Very Top: incomes above €100,000 = 5% of earners (99,129 tax cases)

The full breakdown of the earnings data is included as part of indicator 4.5a in the latest edition of the NERI's Quarterly Economic Facts.

Posted in: IncomeInequalityWages

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