6524.0.55.002 - Estimates of Personal Income for Small Areas, 2011-2016 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/06/2018   
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KEY FINDINGS

Estimates of Personal Income for Small Areas uses tax data to describe personal income and its distribution across Australia. A comprehensive range of income indicators can be compared across relatively small regional areas (including the Local Government Area level and Greater Capital City Statistical Area level in this summary, and Statistical Area levels 2, 3 and 4, which are also available in the datacubes).

It should be noted that some income earners are not represented in these statistics because they did not submit a tax return. This coverage gap is likely to include many individuals who earned below the tax-free threshold and many Government benefit recipients, therefore providing an incomplete picture of low income earners. This is important to consider when comparing estimates in this release with distribution-based measures from other statistical collections (for example the Gini coefficients, which will be higher in this release).

The Australian Bureau of Statistics acknowledges the invaluable support of the Australian Tax Office in compiling these statistics.


OVERVIEW OF PERSONAL INCOME IN AUSTRALIA

  • In 2015-16, the total personal income of the 13.4 million persons who submitted a tax return was $827.9 billion.
  • Median income was $47,692, an increase of 1.8 per cent on the previous financial year and an increase of 17 per cent since 2010-11.
  • The Australian Capital Territory continued to record the highest mean income, although it also recorded one of the slowest growth rates over the six year period.
  • South Australia had the slowest overall growth rate over the six year period.
  • Western Australian growth has also slowed markedly in recent years. Over the six year period, 2015-16 saw Western Australia record its first year of negative year-on-year growth.
  • The Northern Territory recorded the highest growth rate over the six year period, driven by very strong growth in the Greater Darwin area.
  • Income inequality indicated by the Gini coefficient was highest in New South Wales and lowest in the Northern Territory.

A selection of income indicators are presented in Table 1, providing an overview of the distribution of income across Australia.

TABLE 1. SELECTED PERSONAL INCOME DISTRIBUTION INDICATORS, Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, 2015-16

Median total income
Median income growth rate 2010-11 to 2015-16
Median income growth rate 2014-15 to 2015-16
INCOME SHARE
Gini coefficient
Top 1% of earners
Top 5% of earners
Top 10% of earners
$
%
%
%
%
%

Greater Sydney
50 724
17.4
2.3
11.9
25.7
36.6
0.503
Rest of New South Wales
43 557
17.8
2.6
7.3
19.9
31.2
0.471
New South Wales
48 085
17.9
2.6
10.9
24.3
35.3
0.496
Greater Melbourne
48 572
15.3
2.2
10.0
23.2
34.1
0.481
Rest of Victoria
42 019
15.6
1.5
7.0
19.6
30.7
0.467
Victoria
46 984
15.9
2.3
9.5
22.6
33.6
0.479
Greater Brisbane
49 482
16.9
1.8
8.7
21.6
32.5
0.464
Rest of Queensland
44 468
18.0
1.8
7.4
20.3
31.7
0.471
Queensland
46 869
17.5
1.8
8.2
21.1
32.1
0.468
Greater Adelaide
47 307
15.7
1.6
8.2
20.7
31.2
0.452
Rest of South Australia
41 778
14.4
1.0
6.4
19.0
30.3
0.463
South Australia
46 110
15.6
1.5
7.9
20.4
31.1
0.455
Greater Perth
53 200
17.2
-0.8
9.0
22.4
33.8
0.484
Rest of Western Australia
49 634
18.9
-1.3
6.4
19.1
30.9
0.479
Western Australia
52 504
17.6
-0.9
8.6
21.8
33.3
0.483
Greater Hobart
46 411
16.1
2.2
7.6
19.6
30.0
0.441
Rest of Tasmania
41 790
15.1
1.4
7.1
19.2
29.9
0.454
Tasmania
43 833
15.9
1.8
7.3
19.4
30.0
0.448
Greater Darwin
62 211
23.3
2.7
6.8
18.5
29.2
0.420
Rest of Northern Territory
54 315
18.8
4.9
5.2
16.0
26.3
0.406
Northern Territory
59 466
21.1
2.5
6.5
18.2
28.8
0.420
Australian Capital Territory
63 061
15.7
2.6
6.5
18.3
28.7
0.421
Australia
47 692
17.0
1.8
9.5
22.7
33.8
0.484



SOURCES OF PERSONAL INCOME

Overall, employee income continues to make the highest contribution to total personal income in Australia, at 77 per cent.

South Australia recorded the lowest relative contribution of employee income, at 74 per cent of total income recorded for South Australia in 2015-16. This pattern is consistent over time, and is countered by the relatively high contributions of all other income types to South Australia's total income levels.

In 2015-16, Own unincorporated business income contributed more to South Australia's total personal income than in any other state (8.5%, compared to 7.8% Australia-wide). Australian Capital Territory continued to record the lowest Own unincorporated business income contribution, at only 3.9 per cent of its total income.

Table 2 details the median income by source from 2010-11 to 2015-16.

TABLE 2. SOURCES OF PERSONAL INCOME, Australia, 2010-11 to 2015-16
MEDIAN INCOME
2010-11
2011-12
2012-13
2013-14
2014-15
2015-16
$
$
$
$
$
$

Employee
41 181
43 173
44 644
45 725
46 999
48 413
Own unincorporated business
10 064
10 303
10 171
10 953
11 581
11 669
Investment
407
392
360
337
293
242
Superannuation & annuities
17 169
18 184
18 003
18 857
19 736
19 933
Total Income1
40 770
42 987
44 778
45 828
46 854
47 692

1 Total income from all sources excluding Government pensions and allowances, and including Other income.


REGIONAL TOTAL MEDIAN PERSONAL INCOME

The Local Government Area (LGA) with the highest median total income was Ashburton within the Pilbara region of Western Australia ($100,665). Since the previous year, the top five highest median income areas in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia have remained stable.

Woden Valley rose from fifth to third in the Australian Capital Territory rankings, and Alice Springs nudged West Arnhem out of the Northern Territory's top five. Queensland and Tasmania's top five were shuffled around by Bulloo and King Island which both entered the top five in 2015-16, while Gladstone (Queensland) and West Coast (Tasmania) both dropped out of the top ranks from fourth and second place, respectively.

Table 3 lists the five LGAs within each state and territory with the highest median total income in 2015-16. Map 1 illustrates the distribution of median income throughout LGAs across the country.

TABLE 3. HIGHEST MEDIAN TOTAL PERSONAL INCOME LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS, for each state and territory, 2015-16
New South Wales
Victoria
Queensland
South Australia

Woollahra (A) $74 076
Stonnington (C) $60 483
Weipa (T) $81 123
Roxby Downs (M) $82 195
Mosman (A) $74 068
Port Phillip (C) $60 274
Mount Isa (C) $68 995
Walkerville (M) $60 198
North Sydney (A) $72 915
Yarra (C) $59 284
Isaac (R) $68 564
Unley (C) $55 452
Hunters Hill (A) $69 912
Bayside (C) $58 909
Bulloo (S) $61 568
Burnside (C) $55 059
Lane Cove (A) $67 210
Boroondara (C) $57 306
Cloncurry (S) $59 778
Whyalla (C) $52 980

Western Australia
Tasmania
Northern Territory
Australian Capital Territory1

Ashburton (S) $100 665
Hobart (C) $48 253
Palmerston (C) $66 171
South Canberra $78 357
Peppermint Grove (S) $89 795
Clarence (C) $47 210
Litchfield (M) $62 218
Molonglo $74 863
Port Hedland (T) $82 349
Kingborough (M) $47 116
Darwin (C) $60 354
Woden Valley $64 254
Karratha (C) $81 933
King Island (M) $45 322
Wagait (S) $60 000
North Canberra $63 962
East Pilbara (S) $76 575
Brighton (M) $45 158
Alice Springs (T) $55 962
Gungahlin $63 906

1The Australian Capital Territory does not have Local Government Areas, so information is presented at the Statistical Area 3 level of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard

MAP 1. MEDIAN TOTAL PERSONAL INCOME, Local Government Areas, 2015-16
Map 1: Median total personal income by Local Government Areas for 2015-16

REGIONAL TOTAL PERSONAL INCOME GROWTH

Of the regions with more than one thousand earners, the highest income growth since 2010-11 occurred in the Torres region of Queensland, with median total income increasing by 25 per cent. This region also demonstrated the highest year-on-year growth at 30 per cent. Tables 4 and 5 provide further details of the highest growing regions. Income growth by LGAs is shown in Map 2.

TABLE 4. HIGHEST GROWING TOTAL MEDIAN PERSONAL INCOME LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS (for areas with more than 1,000 earners), 2010-11 to 2015-16
Median Total Income
2010-11
Median Total Income
2015-16
Change from 2010-11
$
$
%

Torres (S)
Queensland
40 196
53 597
25.0
Murrumbidgee (A)
New South Wales
32 430
43 211
24.9
Ashburton (S)
Western Australia
77 310
100 665
23.2
Cottesloe (T)
Western Australia
56 699
73 724
23.1
Gunnedah (A)
New South Wales
35 267
45 455
22.4



TABLE 5. HIGHEST GROWING TOTAL MEDIAN PERSONAL INCOME LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS (for areas with more than 1,000 earners), 2014-15 to 2015-16
Median Total Income
2014-15
Median Total Income
2015-16
Change from 2014-15
$
$
%

Gwydir (A)
New South Wales
34 193
38 152
10.4
Walgett (A)
New South Wales
32 219
35 739
9.8
North Burnett (R)
Queensland
29 964
32 949
9.1
Balonne (S)
Queensland
39 330
43 037
8.6
Glen Innes Severn (A)
New South Wales
31 261
34 058
8.2


MAP 2. MEDIAN TOTAL PERSONAL INCOME GROWTH RATES, Local Government Area, 2010-11 to 2015-16
Map 2: Median total personal income growth rates by Local Government Area for 2010-11 to 2015-16

INCOME INEQUALITY - GINI COEFFICIENT

The Gini coefficient is a summary indicator between 0 and 1 which measures the degree of inequality of total income within a region. A value of 0 indicates that all earners reported the same amount of income in that region, and higher values represent relatively higher income inequality.

Underlying data limitations mean that the Gini coefficients in this publication can't be compared with the Gini coefficients produced in other publications. The measures in this release provide a useful view of change in income inequality in a region over time, and they also provide an informative comparison of income inequality across regions, which are frequent and detailed. The coefficients are calculated from gross personal income and not from equivalised disposable income, and are drawn from data with coverage limitations (approximately 10% of employees don’t need to submit a tax return, and persons aged 60 years and over are generally under-represented in tax data). For national and state and territory estimates, users are encouraged to refer to Household Income and Wealth, Australia, 2015-16 (cat. no. 6523.0). Gini coefficients in this publication are based on data from the ABS Survey of Income and Housing (SIH), which includes estimates of current income as well as estimates of annual income with respect to the previous financial year.

In 2015-16, Australia had a Gini coefficient of 0.484, with values for the states and territories ranging from 0.496 in New South Wales to 0.420 in the Northern Territory. Of the areas with greater than one thousand earners, Table 6 shows the five LGAs with the lowest income inequality in Australia. In addition to relatively low inequality, Molonglo and Palmerston have a high proportion of earners in the top quartile.

TABLE 6. LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS WITH THE LOWEST GINI COEFFICIENT (for areas with more than 1,000 earners), 2015-16
Gini coefficient
Proportion of high earners
Proportion of region's income held by the top 10% of earners
Mean income
%
%
$

Molonglo
Australian Capital Territory2
0.339
44.1
23.7
78 284
Brighton (M)
Tasmania
0.364
14.1
23.7
48 241
Glenorchy (C)
Tasmania
0.378
13.8
24.2
47 233
Palmerston (C)
Northern Territory
0.378
36.5
26.2
74 275
Playford (C)
South Australia
0.379
12.9
24.6
46 780

1Proportion of earners in the top quartile (with income of $79,760 or more)
2The Australian Capital Territory does not have Local Government Areas. For the ACT, information at the Statistical Area 3 level of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard is included in LGA analysis


Table 7 shows the five LGAs with the highest Gini coefficients. Mosman and Woollahra have the highest mean incomes in Australia, with most of the region's income held by the top ten per cent of earners. Map 3 shows the distribution of Gini coefficient values by LGA.

TABLE 7. LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS WITH THE HIGHEST GINI COEFFICIENT (for areas with more than 1,000 earners), 2015-16
Gini coefficient
Proportion of high earners
Proportion of region's income held by the top 10% of earners
Mean income
%
%
$

York (S)
Western Australia
0.664
22.3
45.7
56 516
Mosman (A)
New South Wales
0.664
46.9
55.0
162 272
Woollahra (A)
New South Wales
0.659
46.9
55.1
159 580
Mosman Park (T)
Western Australia
0.649
40.7
52.3
126 597
Buloke (S)
Victoria
0.639
10.8
34.3
34 346


MAP 3. GINI COEFFICIENT, Local Government Areas, 2015-16
Map 3: Gini coefficient by Local Government Areas for 2015-16

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