1383.0.55.001 - Measures of Australia's Progress: Summary Indicators, 2009  
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Real net national disposable income per person
Line graph: Real net  national disposable income per person, 1998 - 2008

For technical information see Endnote 1.
Source: Australian System of National Accounts, 2007-08 (cat. no. 5204.0).

Australia experienced significant real income growth during the past decade. Between 1997-98 and 2007-08, real net national disposable income per person grew by 2.8% a year on average, appreciably faster than during the preceding 20-year period. In the 10 years to 2007-08, GDP per person grew by 2.2% on average. Growth in the terms of trade contributed to the stronger growth in income compared with GDP. Despite the impacts of the global financial downturn on the Australian economy, national income continued to increase in trend terms during the last two quarters of 2008 (Endnote 2).


National income is a measure of Australia's capacity to acquire goods and services for consumption. It is a determinant of material living standards and is also important for other aspects of progress. There are many different ways of measuring income. The headline measure - real net national disposable income per person - has a variety of features that make it an informative indicator of national progress.
  • It is a per person measure. Total income could rise during periods of population growth, even though there may have been no improvement in the average incomes of Australians. This measure excludes the impact of population changes.
  • It is a real measure - it is adjusted to remove the effects of price change. Nominal or current price income could rise during periods of inflation, even though there may have been no increase in Australians' real capacity to buy goods and services.
  • It takes account of income flows between Australia and overseas, and is adjusted for changes in the relative prices of our exports and imports (our 'terms of trade'). These international influences on Australia's income can increase or decrease Australians' capacity to buy goods and services.
  • It is a net measure - it takes account of the depreciation of machinery, buildings and other produced capital used in the production process. Hence, it reflects the income Australia can derive today while keeping intact the fixed capital needed to generate future income.


State and territory spreadsheets
National income - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2006
Themes - National Accounts


1. Real net national disposable income is based on a volume measure with reference year of 2006-07.
2. Australian Bureau of statistics, 2009, Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, Dec 2008 (cat. no. 5206.0).