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There is considerable variation in the net worth of Australian households. In 2003–04, mean household net worth ranged from $68,000 for the youngest households up to $740,000 for 'pre-retirement' households. This article discusses how household wealth is distributed across selected life cycle groups as well as between Australian capital cities. It examines the relationship between income and wealth as well as the characteristics of low, middle and high wealth households.
In 2003–04, high wealth households had a mean net worth of $1.4 million, middle wealth households $296,000 and low wealth households $24,000. In many households the family home is a significant asset. The mean net value of owner occupied homes accounted for 39% of the net worth of high wealth households, 57% of the net worth of middle wealth households and 3% of the net worth of low wealth households. This article discusses the types of assets and liabilities accumulated by households with different levels of wealth.
Decisions about how to divide up household budgets are generally based on the amount of income available and the needs of the household. In 2003–04, households spent, on average, just under half (49%) of their total weekly expenditure on food, housing and transport. This article describes the average expenditure patterns of Australian households in 2003–04. It also examines trends in household spending by examining proportional change in household expenditure on broad groups of goods and services over the past 20 years.
In 2003–04, Australian households spent $893 per week on average on goods and services. Spending varied according to the number of people in the household, and with other factors such as the income of the household and the age and life cycle stage of its members. This article explores the different spending patterns associated with four types of households considered representative of particular stages in the life cycle of couple families. The different spending patterns of these households provide some insight into the impact on the household budget of changes such as having children, paying off a home mortgage, children growing older then leaving home, and retiring from work.