Social-demographic indicators, cognitive ability, personality traits, and region as independent predictors of income: findings from the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS)

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

Journal of Intelligence


Adrian Furnham and Helen Cheng

Publication date


This paper reports on a longitudinal study of over 12,000 people based on the UK Household Longitudinal Study data. We were interested in their monthly income (as the criterion variable) as it related to their gender, age, education, occupation, personality, intelligence, and region where they lived (as the predictor variables). Correlations showed that, after occupation and education, gender and cognitive ability (particularly numeric ability) were the strongest correlates of income. Hierarchical regressions showed that age and gender accounted for 9% of the variance, intelligence and personality added another 5%, and education and occupation added a further 15%, while region added a further 1%. All four models were statistically significant (p < 0.001). The study suggests that, in future research of this kind on the personal correlates of income, social-demographic, psychological, and regional factors all need to be considered. Limitations are acknowledged.







Area Effects, Psychology, Geography, Demography, Income Dynamics, Wages And Earnings, Finance and Social Stratification


Open Access; This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Sign up to our newsletter