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4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 1996  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/06/1996   
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Contents >> Income >> Expenditure: State differences in household expenditure

Expenditure: State differences in household expenditure

In 1993-94 households in New South Wales had the highest weekly expenditure on commodities and services ($624) while households in Tasmania had the lowest ($535).

Household income is one of the main factors affecting household expenditure. However, household income and expenditure are also related to the geographic and demographic characteristics of households. For example, capital city households typically have higher income and expenditure levels than rural households. Household income and expenditure are also influenced by such factors as the household size, the age of the household members and their sources of income.


Household expenditure

The 1993-94 Household Expenditure Survey (HES) collected data on the expenditure patterns of Australian households. Information was collected on a household, rather than individual basis as many items of expenditure such as food, accommodation, household goods and appliances, fuel and power are shared by household members. In the HES a household is defined as a group of people who usually reside and eat together.

To calculate average weekly expenditure, expenditure was divided by the number of weeks in the reporting period over which it was collected. Estimates therefore do not refer to a given week.


State expenditure patterns
In 1993-94 Australian households spent an average of $602 per week on commodities and services. For all states the item accounting for the largest proportion of household expenditure was food and non-alcoholic beverages (18%). This was followed by transport (16%), housing costs (14%) and recreation (13%).

Levels of household expenditure varied considerably across states. In 1993-94 New South Wales had the highest average weekly household expenditure ($624) while Tasmania had the lowest ($535). Households in New South Wales also had the highest average weekly income ($754) while households in Tasmania had the lowest ($621).

As well as differences in income, differences in the geographic and demographic characteristics of households help to explain the differences in household expenditure. For example, Tasmania had the lowest proportion of households living in the metropolitan area (41%), the lowest proportion of household income from employee income (67%), the second lowest average number of people per household (2.5), and the highest proportion of household income from government pensions and allowances (17%).

Patterns of household expenditure differed between states. For example, in 1993-94 households in New South Wales had the highest average weekly expenditure on housing costs, $95 (15% of total expenditure) compared to households in Tasmania, $63 (12% of total expenditure). This is mainly due to the high proportion of Tasmanian households who were home owners, 47% compared to 42% in New South Wales. Home owners generally have lower housing costs than renters or purchasers (see Home ownership). In contrast, households in Tasmania had the highest proportion of average weekly household expenditure on recreation (15%) while those in New South Wales had the lowest proportion (13%).

Households in Queensland had the highest proportion of average weekly expenditure on transport (17%) while households in Tasmania had the lowest (14%). Households in Tasmania had the highest proportion of average weekly expenditure on fuel and power (4%), largely on cooking and heating. In contrast, because of the generally warmer climate, households in Queensland had the lowest proportion of average weekly expenditure on fuel and power (2%).

HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE ON COMMODITIES AND SERVICES, 1993-94

NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
Australia(a)
Commodity or service
%
%
%
%
%
%
%

Food and non-alcoholic beverages
18.9
18.5
17.9
18.0
18.1
19.1
18.4
Transport
15.1
15.6
16.6
15.2
15.4
14.3
15.5
Current housing costs
15.3
13.8
14.1
12.8
13.1
11.8
14.2
Recreation
12.5
13.4
13.0
13.9
13.1
14.6
13.2
Miscellaneous commodities and services
7.2
7.7
8.1
8.4
7.8
7.4
7.6
Household furnishings and equipment
6.8
5.7
6.4
6.8
8.1
6.5
6.6
Clothing and footwear
5.7
6.2
5.0
5.3
5.3
5.6
5.6
Household services and operation
5.3
5.1
5.5
4.9
5.4
5.5
5.2
Medical care and health expenses
4.6
4.4
4.5
5.2
4.4
4.6
4.5
Alcoholic beverages
2.9
2.7
3.1
3.0
3.1
2.9
2.9
Fuel and power
2.5
3.5
2.1
2.9
2.8
4.2
2.8
Personal care
1.8
1.9
2.0
2.0
1.9
1.8
1.9
Tobacco
1.5
1.4
1.5
1.7
1.6
1.9
1.5
Total
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
Average weekly expenditure
624
602
576
551
596
535
602
Average weekly income
754
712
704
681
681
621
723

(a) Includes the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.

Source: 1993-94 Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: States and Territories (cat. no. 6533.0)


Regional differences
Household expenditure varies across geographic areas within states. Overall, capital city households had higher average weekly household expenditure than households in other urban areas, which in turn had higher average weekly household expenditure than households in rural areas. In 1993-94 average weekly expenditure on commodities and services for capital city households was $634 compared to the $549 spent by households in other urban areas and the $531 spent by households in rural areas. Exceptions to this pattern were Victorian, South Australian and Tasmanian households where average weekly expenditure was higher in rural areas than in other urban areas.

In 1993-94, the average weekly household expenditure on housing in capital city areas was $96, almost twice as much as in rural areas ($49). These housing costs represented 15% of total household expenditure on commodities and services for capital city households and 9% of total household expenditure for rural households. The differences are partly due to differences in housing tenure and income between capital city and rural households.

AVERAGE WEEKLY HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE, 1993-94

Capital cities
Other urban areas
Rural areas
Total
State
$
$
$
$

New South Wales
669
562
493
624
Victoria
634
507
555
602
Queensland
595
559
558
576
South Australia
577
440
529
551
Western Australia
608
590
475
596
Tasmania
555
488
572
535
Northern Territory(a)
685
-
-
-
Australian Capital Territory(a)
749
-
-
-
Australia
634
549
531
602

(a) Data only available for capital city areas.

Source: 1993-94 Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: States and Territories (cat. no. 6533.0)


Capital city expenditure patterns
In 1993-94 average weekly household expenditure was highest in Canberra and Darwin, $749 and $685 respectively, followed by Sydney ($669) and Melbourne ($634). Hobart ($555) and Adelaide ($577) had the lowest average weekly household expenditures. These average weekly expenditures are related to the average weekly incomes of capital city households. For example, Canberra ($1,037) and Darwin ($864) had the highest average weekly household incomes and Hobart ($687) had the lowest.

The difference in household expenditure patterns between capital cities is bigger than the difference in household expenditure patterns between states. This is because the capital cities generally have very different demographic characteristics from each other (see Capital city growth and development). Darwin (85%) and Canberra (79%) had the highest proportions of people receiving employee income, the lowest proportions receiving income from government pensions and allowances (8% and 6% respectively), and the lowest proportions of people aged 65 and over. Because of its older age structure, Hobart's population had the highest proportion of people with income from government pensions and allowances.

There was considerable variation in housing costs between capital cities. In 1993-94 households in Darwin and Canberra had the highest average weekly housing costs ($116 and $112 respectively). Hobart ($73) and Adelaide ($75) had the lowest. The differences in housing costs between capital cities were also evident when expressed as a proportion of total household expenditure. In 1993-94 the lowest were Adelaide and Hobart (13%) and the highest were Darwin and Sydney (17%). As well as differences in housing prices and rents, differences between capital cities in expenditure on housing costs reflect different levels of income and types of dwelling tenure.

Households in Canberra had the highest proportion of average weekly expenditure on transport (17%) and Hobart and Darwin had the lowest (14%). However, households in Canberra had the lowest proportion of average weekly expenditure on food (17%) and Sydney had the highest (19%).

HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE ON COMMODITIES AND SERVICES, 1993-94

Sydney
Melbourne
Brisbane
Adelaide
Perth
Hobart
Darwin
Canberra
All capitals
Commodity or service
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%

Food and non-alcoholic beverages
18.8
18.2
18.0
17.6
18.0
18.7
18.5
16.9
18.3
Transport
14.4
15.1
16.6
14.8
15.5
13.7
13.6
17.0
15.1
Current housing costs
16.6
14.7
14.6
13.0
14.1
13.1
17.0
15.0
15.1
Recreation
12.9
13.6
13.0
14.4
12.6
13.9
14.3
13.7
13.2
Miscellaneous commodities and services
7.2
7.9
8.6
8.7
7.6
7.0
7.5
8.0
7.8
Household furnishings and equipment
6.6
5.6
5.6
6.6
7.8
7.0
5.9
6.2
6.3
Clothing and footwear
5.8
6.4
5.4
5.5
5.5
5.7
3.6
5.9
5.8
Household services and operation
5.1
4.9
5.4
4.9
5.2
5.2
6.1
5.3
5.1
Medical care and health expenses
4.5
4.4
4.3
5.2
4.2
5.0
3.6
3.8
4.5
Fuel and power
2.3
3.4
2.0
2.9
2.8
4.1
2.5
2.7
2.7
Alcoholic beverages
2.6
2.6
2.9
2.7
3.0
2.9
3.8
2.5
2.7
Personal care
1.8
1.9
2.0
2.1
2.0
1.8
1.5
1.9
1.9
Tobacco
1.4
1.3
1.6
1.7
1.7
1.8
2.2
1.1
1.5
Total
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
Average weekly expenditure
669
634
595
577
608
555
685
749
634
Average weekly income
834
766
765
721
708
687
864
1,037
783

Source: 1993-94 Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: States and Territories (cat. no. 6533.0).



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