5204.0.55.009 - Information Paper: Australian National Accounts, Distribution of Household Income, Consumption and Wealth, 2009-10  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/08/2013  First Issue
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The distribution by household groups of the national accounts household income, consumption and wealth estimates presented in this information paper provides a bridge between the macroeconomic aggregate household estimates produced within the Australian System of National Accounts and the ABS household economic resource surveys distributional analysis of household income, consumption and wealth. The methodology used to integrate the distributional information from the micro surveys on different household groups consistent with System of National Accounts (SNA) concepts and aggregates were based on the work undertaken by ABS with the OECD-Eurostat Expert Group on measuring disparities in a national accounts framework.

The household distributional results presented in this paper complement the aggregate estimates for household income, consumption and wealth for 2009-10 published in the household sectoral accounts in the 2011-12 issue of the Australian System of National Accounts (cat. no. 5204.0). The distributional results derived in the paper show income inequalities across households classified according to income and wealth quintiles for income components such as compensation of employees and property income. However, the results show a reversal of the inequality when the impact of the distributional policies of government through transfer payments in cash and in kind (i.e. social assistance benefits and health social transfers in kind), and income tax are analysed on the income quintiles, this impact is illustrated to a lesser extent on the wealth quintiles. The value of the ratios of highest to lowest income quintile for total gross disposable income and household final consumption, indicate income inequalities are higher than consumption inequalities, with further proof provided by the inequality across household income quintiles for gross saving. Inequalities in wealth are illustrated by income and wealth quintile distribution of ownership of residential dwelling and land, and superannuation and insurance reserves.

With the 2013 release of data from the 2011-12 Survey of Income and Housing, it may be possible to repeat the distribution of the ASNA household income and wealth for the year 2011-12 in the next 12 months. To enable the distribution of household consumption and therefore gross saving, the HES 2009-10 data would need to be extrapolated to distribute 2011-12 ASNA consumption estimates by assuming that the household distribution pattern would not have changed significantly in the interim two years. Undertaking the analysis for 2011-12 may begin the production of a time series of household distributional indicators, and in turn enable the analysis of estimates such as change in gross saving.

The results produced makes a start in addressing recommendation 16 of G-20 Data Gaps Initiative and the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission recommendation of compiling household distributional information alongside the aggregate measures to enable the measurement of material living standards of households. The ABS would like to obtain feedback from users regarding the usefulness of the data set presented in the information paper and user appetite for another iteration of the household distributional analysis for 2011-12 in the short term. Users' views of the long term usefulness of such a data set are also sought and discussed in Chapter 6.