2020 WBG Briefing: Household debt and gender

Date Posted: Wednesday 26th February 2020

March 2020


View and download our full briefing here.

Key points

  • Household debt levels are at an all-time high. In 2017, UK households saw their outgoings surpass their income for the first time since 1988.
  • In 2019, UK Households collectively owe £1.6 trillion, which is 13% higher than at the time of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, paying an estimated £50 billion per year, or £137 million per day, in interest payments.
  • According to debt advice provider Money Advice Service, in 2018, 1 in 6 individuals in the UK are over-indebted, approximately 8.2 million in total. Compared to the UK as a whole, the over-indebted population is younger and more likely to be female (55%), have children (58%) and live in private-rented accommodation.
  • Since 2014 women have been more likely than men to go insolvent: the insolvency gender gap is particularly pronounced among young women who are a third more likely to go insolvent than their male counterparts.
  • Women are also more likely to incur debt to pay for everyday necessities. According to debt advice provider StepChange, 61% of those getting into debt to purchase everyday necessities are women.
  • For some women, debt can also be the result of economic abuse in a relationship. In a survey of victims of intimate partner abuse, 61% said they were in debt because of financial abuse.

View and download our full briefing here