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4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 2005  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/07/2005   
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Contents >> Economic resources >> Sources of personal income across Australia

Sources of Personal Income Across Australia

In 2000-01, wages and salaries accounted for 73% of total gross income in metropolitan areas, and 65% in non-metropolitan areas. Government cash benefits were 10% of income in metropolitan areas, and 15% in non-metropolitan areas.

Regional areas across Australia have undergone considerable change during the last decade, and the impacts of change have been geographically diverse. Processes such as industry restructuring, for example, have resulted in regions experiencing different rates of economic and employment growth. Some regions have experienced changes in access to services and movements of people between rural areas, larger regional centres and metropolitan areas. (endnote 1)

The value and sources of personal income in regions can often indicate differences in opportunities or population characteristics, especially when compared over time for an individual region or between regions. As the economic wellbeing of most individuals is largely determined by the amount of income they and their families receive, analysing income data can assist in understanding the geographical diversity of regional socioeconomic wellbeing and the factors influencing these differences.

Income data

The income data used in this article are a combination of data on the taxable income reported by individuals to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and data on income received by individuals from government pensions, benefits and allowances. These data are available at a finer geographic level than is possible with data from a sample survey (such as the ABS Survey of Income and Housing). The data have been provided in aggregate form from the ATO and from the Department of Family and Community Services. All ATO data are for persons aged 15 years and over. The government pensions, benefits and allowance data do not include all benefits paid. Exclusions include: Family Tax Benefits when it is the only payment received; pensions and allowances paid by the Department of Veterans' Affairs and Community Development Employment Project payments administered by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.

Administrative data may have some limitations for statistical purposes, as they are designed for the management of particular government affairs. For example, address data may not be accurate because people may move address during the year and some data recorded against the current address (and region) may be for income received while at another address in another region. Similarly, income support recipients may move during any given year.

Income data are presented in original rather than real dollar terms. That is, data are not adjusted to remove the effects of price change.

For further information see Information Paper: Experimental Estimates of Personal Income for Small Areas, Taxation and Income Support Data, 1995-96 to 2000-01 (ABS cat. no. 6524.0).


METROPOLITAN AND NON-METROPOLITAN AREAS

In 2000-01, 73% of total gross income received by people living in metropolitan areas was from wages and salaries, and a further 10% was from government cash benefits. In the same period, 65% of income received by people living in non-metropolitan areas was from wages and salaries and 15% was from government cash benefits.


PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL GROSS PERSONAL INCOME BY SOURCE - 1996-97 and 2000-01

Wages
and salaries
Government
cash benefits
Investment
Own
unincorporated
business
Superannuation
and annuities
Other income

%
%
%
%
%
%

1996-97
Metropolitan
73.4
10.0
7.8
6.0
2.1
0.7
Non-metropolitan
66.7
14.5
6.4
9.9
2.0
0.4
Australia
71.7
11.2
7.5
7.0
2.1
0.6
2000-01
Metropolitan
73.0
9.6
8.7
5.5
2.3
0.8
Non-metropolitan
65.2
15.2
7.0
9.9
2.3
0.5
Australia
71.1
11.0
8.3
6.6
2.3
0.8

Source: Information Paper: Experimental Estimates of Personal Income for Small Areas, Taxation and Income Support Data 1995-96 to 2000-01 (ABS cat. no. 6524.0).


Between 1996-97 and 2000-01, the proportions for the different sources of income in metropolitan areas changed very little. The largest change was in investment, which rose from 8% of total income to 9%. In non-metropolitan areas, the contribution of wages and salaries to total income fell from 67% in 1996-97 to 65% in 2000-01, while the contribution from government cash benefits rose less than 1% in the same period.

In both 1996-97 and 2000-01, mean income per recipient was higher in metropolitan areas than in non-metropolitan areas for all sources of income except government cash benefits. The difference in mean income from wages and salaries widened significantly between metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas during this period. The mean income per recipient in metropolitan areas rose from $28,700 in 1996-97 to $34,400 in 2000-01, while the mean income in non-metropolitan areas rose from $24,000 to $27,900. Mean income per recipient from investment also rose more in metropolitan areas during this period. Mean investment income in metropolitan areas rose from $4,200 in 1996-97 to $6,300 in 2000-01, and from $3,000 to $4,300 in non-metropolitan areas.


SELECTED REGIONAL AREAS

This diversity in income is further illustrated with examples of four Statistical Local Areas (SLA), which have been selected to represent a range of changes in income and population.


WHYALLA, SA - TOTAL PERSONAL INCOME STEADY, POPULATION DOWN

Whyalla is located on the upper western shore of the Spencer Gulf in South Australia. In the 1970s, Whyalla's economic base was in ship building and steel production. (endnote 2) While closure of the shipyards in 1978 began a period of industrial diversification, manufacturing remains the largest industry in which people are employed.

From 1996-97 to 2000-01, total personal income from all sources in Whyalla rose slightly (less than 1%), but there were changes in the value and relative contribution to total income of some income sources. The value of wages and salaries fell by 4% and its contribution to total income fell from 77% to 74%. The value of government cash benefits rose by 23%, while its contribution to total income rose from 16% to 20%.

The total population of Whyalla fell by 8% from 24,000 in 1997 to 22,100 in 2001, one of the largest falls in population in an SLA in that period. Over half of the population decline in Whyalla was in the 25-44 year age group.

According to census data, the number of people employed in Whyalla (full-time or part-time) fell by 12% from 1996 to 2001. In 1996, 30% of employed people were in Manufacturing, falling to 25% in 2001, while the proportion employed in Retail trade increased from 14% to 16%. In 1996, the occupations that were held by the largest proportions of people were Tradespersons and related workers (18%), Intermediate production and transport workers (16%) and Professionals (15%). In 2001, these proportions had fallen to 16%, 14% and 14% respectively.

Changes in employment opportunities in Whyalla and the decline in the prime working aged population (25-44 years) is reflected in the fall in the contribution to total income from wages and salaries, and the increase in the contribution from government cash benefits.


Income and population data

Income data are presented in six categories:
  • Wages and salaries
  • Government cash benefits (income support including pensions, benefits and allowances such as Age Pension and Newstart allowance)
  • Investment income
  • Own unincorporated business income (business profit or loss)
  • Superannuation and annuities
  • Other income (such as attributed foreign income)

The mean income per recipient is calculated by dividing the value of an income type (e.g. wages and salaries) by the number of people who receive that type of income. An individual may receive more than one type of income during any year.

Metropolitan areas in each state and territory have been defined as the Capital City Statistical Divisions with the following Statistical Subdivisions included: Newcastle and Wollongong (NSW); Greater Geelong City Part A (Vic); Gold Coast City Part B and Sunshine Coast (Qld); Darwin City and Palmerston-East Arm (NT). All other areas are non-metropolitan areas. For further information see Statistical Geography: Volume 1 - Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) 2001 (ABS cat. no. 1216.0).

Total population data refer to the Estimated Resident Population (ERP), which is the official measure of the population of Australia at 30 June each year. ERP is based on the concept of residence. It refers to all people, regardless of nationality or citizenship, who usually live in Australia. For further information, see Regional Population Growth, Australia and New Zealand 2001-02, (ABS cat. no. 3218.0) and Population Estimates by Age and Sex, Australia and States 2001 (ABS cat. no. 3235.0.55.001).

MEAN INCOME PER RECIPIENT - 2000-01

Wages
and salaries
Government
cash benefits
Investment
Own
unincorporated
business
Superannuation
and annuities
Other income

$
$
$
$
$
$

Metropolitan
34,400
7,900
6,300
18,600
17,400
3,900
Non-metropolitan
27,900
8,200
4,300
16,600
14,900
2,000

Number of recipients

million
million
million
million
million
million

Metropolitan
6.2
3.5
4.0
0.9
0.4
0.6
Non-metropolitan
2.1
1.7
1.5
0.5
0.1
0.2

Source: Information Paper: Experimental Estimates of Personal Income for Small Areas, Taxation and Income Support Data 1995 96 2000 01 (ABS 6524 0)


PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL GROSS PERSONAL INCOME BY SOURCE FOR SELECTED STATISTICAL LOCAL AREAS - 1996-97 and 2000-01

Wages and salaries
Government cash benefits
Investment
Own unincorporated business
Superannuation
and annuities
Other income
Total income
from all
sources

SLA
%
%
%
%
%
%
$m

1996-97
Whyalla (SA)
77.0
16.4
3.0
2.5
0.7
0.4
357.9
Clarence (Tas)
70.2
12.3
5.8
6.8
4.4
0.4
754.9
Griffith (NSW)
60.7
9.8
7.3
21.1
0.7
0.4
384.2
Burleigh Waters (Qld)
60.4
18.6
8.5
8.2
3.2
1.0
172.2
2000-01
Whyalla (SA)
73.7
20.1
2.6
2.1
1.1
0.5
359.3
Clarence (Tas)
68.4
13.7
6.2
6.0
5.0
0.5
873.8
Griffith (NSW)
66.1
10.9
9.0
12.7
1.1
0.3
436.9
Burleigh Waters (Qld)
63.0
15.9
9.2
7.6
3.4
0.9
248.5

Source: Information Paper: Experimental Estimates of Personal Income for Small Areas, Taxation and Income Support Data 1995-96 to 2000-01 (ABS cat. no. 6524.0).

Percentage employed in selected industries, Whyalla - 1996 and 2001

Graph: Percentage employed in selected industries, Whyalla - 1996 and 2001



CLARENCE, TAS - TOTAL PERSONAL INCOME UP, POPULATION STEADY

Clarence is located on the eastern shore of the Derwent River across from the city of Hobart. From 1996-97 to 2000-01, the value of total personal income from all sources rose by 16% in this region. While all sources of income rose in value, their relative contribution to total income changed. In particular, there were falls in the proportion of income from wages and salaries (70% to 68%), and from own unincorporated business (7% to 6%), while the contributions from other sources increased.

The population of Clarence remained relatively steady between 1997 and 2001 (rising less than 1% to 49,600 at the end of June 2001), although the population aged 25-44 years fell by 6%. Between the 1996 Census and the 2001 Census, the number of people employed in Clarence (full-time or part-time) fell by less than 1%. Of all people employed, 65% were employed full-time in 1996, falling to 63% in 2001.

According to census data in 1996, the three industries in which the largest proportion of people were employed were Retail (15%), Health and community Services (12%), and Government administration and defence (11%). In 2001, the proportions in Retail and Health and community services had risen (to 16% and 13% respectively), while Government administration and defence fell to 8%, slipping from the third largest employing industry to the sixth largest in 2001.

The change in the relative contribution of wages and salaries to total income in Clarence is consistent with the fall in the population aged 25-44 years and the decrease in the proportion of people working full-time, and may also have been contributed to by changes in the industry base.



GRIFFITH, NSW - WAGES/SALARIES UP, OWN UNINCORPORATED BUSINESS DOWN

Griffith, New South Wales is located in the Riverina region and is known particularly as a citrus fruit and wine producing area. From 1996-97 to 2000-01, the value of total personal income from all sources rose by 14%. The largest contribution was from wages and salaries, which rose 24% (from $233.1 million to $288.6 million).

The relative contribution of each source of income to total income changed during this period. In particular, the share of income from wages and salaries rose from 61% to 66%, while own unincorporated business fell from 21% to 13% of total income. The number of people receiving income from own unincorporated business fell by 12% between 1996-97 and 2000-01. The mean income per recipient from own unincorporated business also fell (from $22,900 to $17,800 per recipient), contributing to the fall in the relative contribution to total income from this source.

During this period, there was strong population growth and changes to the patterns of employment. The population of Griffith grew by 9% between 1997 and 2001, reaching 24,600 at 30 June 2001. While the greatest contribution to total growth occurred in the 0-14 year age group, the working age population (aged 15-64) years also grew strongly.

From 1996 to 2001, according to census data, the number of people employed in Griffith (full-time or part-time) rose 11% and the number of people in high/medium skill level occupations grew by 13%. In 1996, the highest proportions of employed people were Labourers and related workers (17%), Managers and administrators (16%) and Tradespersons and related workers (14%). In 2001, Managers and administrators was the largest group (16%), followed by Labourers and related workers (16%) and Tradespersons and related workers (13%).

The increase in the share of income from wages and salaries in Griffith is consistent with strong population growth and changes in employment patterns.


Census data

The employment, industry and occupation data used in this article are from the five yearly ABS Census of Population and Housing. All Census data are based on place of enumeration. Occupation and industry are based on the main job held in the week prior to census night. All percentages shown exclude people for whom occupation/industry was not stated, or was inadequately described.
High/medium skill occupations are:
  • Managers and administrators;
  • Professionals;
  • Associate professionals;
  • Tradespersons and related workers; and
  • Advanced clerical and service workers.
For further information see Census of Population and Housing: Australia in Profile - a regional analysis, 2001 (ABS cat. no. 2032.0). See also Australian Standard Classification of Occupations, Second Edition 1997 (ABS cat. no. 1220.0).


BURLEIGH WATERS, QLD - GOVERNMENT CASH BENEFITS DOWN, WAGES AND SALARIES UP

Burleigh Waters is in the Gold Coast area of Queensland, known for its surf and beaches. From 1996-97 to 2000-01, the value of total personal income from all sources rose by 44% in this region.

While the value of income from each source rose during that period, the relative contributions to total income changed. In particular, the contribution from government cash benefits fell from 19% in 1996-97 to 16% in 2000-01, and the contribution from wages and salaries rose from 60% to 63%.

During this period, there was strong population growth in Burleigh Waters, up 16% between 1997 and 2001, reaching 12,800 people at 30 June 2001. While it is often perceived that older people retiring to the coast are a dominant source of population growth in those areas, this is not generally the case (see Australian Social Trends 2004, Seachange - new coastal residents). In Burleigh Waters, the greatest contribution to total growth from 1997-2001 came from mature aged persons (i.e. those in the 45-64 year age group).

Total employed by selected age groups, Burleigh Waters -
1996 and 2001
Graph: Total employed by selected age groups, Burleigh Waters - 1996 and 2001



From 1996-2001, according to census data, the number of people employed increased by 31%. The increase in the number of people in part-time employment over this period (39%) was greater than the increase in full-time employment (24%). For men, the total number employed increased particularly in the 35-39 year and 40-44 year age groups, while for women, the greatest increase was in the 50-54 year age group.

Increased opportunities for work in Burleigh Waters were reflected in the rise in income from wages and salaries and decreased contribution of government cash benefits to total income.


ENDNOTES

1 Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics 2003, Government Interventions in Pursuit of Regional Development: Learning from Experience, Working paper 55, Department of Transport and Regional Services, Canberra.

2 City of Whyalla<http://www.whyalla.com/site/ page. cfm?=44>, accessed 25 February 2005.


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