6523.0 - Household Income and Wealth, Australia, 2013-14 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/11/2015   
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Over one quarter of Australian households are couple families with dependent children. Dependent children are those aged between 0 and 14 years of age or between 15 and 24 years of age in full time study. The adults within the couple relationship are often of labour force participation age with the potential to boost income and wealth through employment. Income tends to grow until the middle age group range, so couple families are often at a time of increasing income compared to other stages during their life time. However, due to the extra costs associated with dependent children, the increased income supports the consumption needs of the households that are greater than most other household types.

In 2013–14, on average couple families with dependent children received an equivalised disposable household income of $1,011 per week and had $857,500 of net worth, which was similar to all households ($998 per week and $809,900 respectively).

Nearly three quarters (73%) of couple families with dependent children were homeowners, and the main asset for this household type was their owner occupied dwelling at an average value of $502,900. This was also their largest liability, with the average amount outstanding on the loan for their owner occupied dwelling being $164,400. These figures are both higher than the average values for all households, $399,300 and $81,600 respectively.

As a result, for one in three couple families with dependent children who had debt, their total debt was three or more times their income. This level of indebtedness puts them at risk of financial hardship if their situation was to change, such as a sudden reduction in their income or if interest rates were to rise.

On average, couple families with dependent children had assets worth about four times their debts. Their median level of debt, however, was about twice their annual income. For 83% of couple families with dependent children, their main source of income was from an employer and 71% of these households had two or more people employed in the labour force, which reduces the risk of economic hardship.

Graph Image for Graph 1 Household characteristics by couple families with dependants and all households, 2013-14

Footnote(s): (a) Main source of income

Source(s): Graph data SIH

Almost half (47%) of couple families with dependent children received a government pension or allowance, with 18% depending on government payments for over 20% of the household income. Only 7.3% of couple families with dependent children households relied on government pensions and allowances as their main source of income. For all couple families with dependent children, the average weekly value of government pensions and allowances was $159. However, households also received government benefits in kind such as health care and education, which on average total a value of $626 per week for couple families with dependent children. This compares to $414 per week for all households.