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1-in-5 UK graduates become millionaires, ONS study shows

1-in-5 UK graduates become millionaires, ONS study shows

Around a fifth of everyone who receives university education become millionaires, according to new figures.

When students decide to go to university, the chance to earn a higher salary thanks to their qualifications is often a big part of the appeal. But over the course of post-university life, the wealth earned from a degree might be more than they had expected.

New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that one in every five adults with at least one university degree now have wealth that totals at least £1 million.

That’s including property, pension pots and savings as well as other physical possessions like cars and other assets, so it may be that many of these graduates don’t feel particularly wealthy. But the earnings gap between them and people without a degree is striking – nearly a tenth of British adults overall are now asset millionaires, while the same can be said of just three per cent of those without any formal qualifications.

The figures have gone up noticeably in the past few years – the Telegraph notes that in 2006-7, 16 per cent of graduates were asset millionaires, compared to just two per cent of those with no qualifications whatsoever. But as Tim Worstall writes for Forbes, this does suggest that the wealth gap between those with and without qualifications is actually narrowing – the number of millionaires is growing proportionally faster among people without qualifications than among those who went to university.

Over two million millionaires are now living in the UK – a 50 per cent rise in four years – and wealth has actually risen overall in the past few years in spite of economic difficulties. The total wealth amassed by UK households in the two-year period from 2010 to 2012 stood at a total of £9.5 trillion, six times the value of all the goods and services produced in a year.

It may take a few years for the figures to reflect the impact of higher tuition fees and a competitive graduate job market. Still, with auto-enrolment increasing access to workplace pensions and house prices continuing to rise, those who manage to purchase a property and save for retirement are particularly likely to see their overall asset wealth grow. But for graduates and students pursuing all kinds of careers, it is encouraging to know a degree can still offer a real boost to their prospects.


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