The Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) collects data from households across Australia to measure levels of income and wealth and how these change over time.
In real terms, the average equivalised disposable household income in 2013–14 was $998 per week, this increased from $964 per week in 2011–12. This has increased over the last decade from $746 per week in 2003–04. The median weekly equivalised disposable household income was $844 per week, similar to 2011–12 ($830 per week). Equivalisation accounts for increased consumption needs as household size increases. For more information, see the 'Key Concepts' section of this publication.
The average weekly equivalised disposable household income for high income households rose from $1,903 to $2,037 between 2011–12 and 2013–14. The income share of high income households was 41% in 2013–14, similar to 2011–12. For low income households, their average weekly equivalised income rose from $395 to $407 between 2011–12 and 2013–14.
The average net worth for all Australian households was $809,900 in 2013–14, remaining relatively stable compared with $764,500 in 2011–12. The spread of wealth across Australia is more unequal than for income mainly due to home ownership rates. This is partly because people build up wealth over their working life. Australia has a long history of home ownership in comparison to many other countries. Two thirds of Australian households owned or partly owned their home in 2013–14. As a result, rising house prices also contributed to an increase in total average household wealth. Average household wealth for those households who were renting was about 21% ($183,000) of the average wealth of owner occupied households with a mortgage ($857,900) and 13% of owner occupiers who owned their home outright ($1.4 million).
Average household wealth for low wealth households in 2013–14 was $35,600, for middle wealth households was $462,500 and for high wealth households was $2.5 million. There was little change in wealth in each of these groups between 2011–12 and 2013–14.
Over 70% of households had some level of debt in 2013–14. Of these, 26% were servicing a total debt that was three or more times their annualised disposable income. This increased from 24% of households with this level of indebtedness in 2011–12. These households are considered to be at higher risk of experiencing economic hardship if they were to experience a financial shock, such as a sudden reduction in their income or if interest rates were to rise.
This publication presents the main findings from the 2013–14 SIH. More detailed data is available in the data cubes, available from the ‘Downloads’ tab of this publication, and information about the survey itself is available in the Survey of Income and Housing, User Guide, Australia, 2013–14 (cat. no. 6553.0).