6523.0 - Household Income and Income Distribution, Australia, 2002-03  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/12/2004   
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December 6, 2004
Embargoed 11:30am (AEST)

Latest household income statistics: ABS

Average household incomes (after tax and adjusting for household size and composition) were 15% higher in 2002-03 than 1994-95, and 2% higher than in 2000-01, according to the latest survey results released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The real incomes of high income people rose 16% over the eight years to 2002-03. This compares to a rise of 14% for middle income earners and a rise of 12% for people with low incomes.

The changing structure of the ageing population was reflected in the changing composition of households, which shrank from an average of 2.69 people in 1994-95 to 2.53 people in 2002-03.

Low income households were smaller than middle or high income households, and on average had fewer employed per household (0.5 employed people per household) than did middle (1.4) or high income households (1.9).

For households with middle and high income levels in 2002-03, wages and salaries were the main source of income, while for low income households government pensions and allowances were the main income source.

People aged 65 and over had the lowest mean incomes in 2002-03, while elderly lone people were more likely than elderly couples to have government pensions and allowances as their principal source of income (80% compared to 66%), and less likely than elderly couples to own their own home without a mortgage (72% compared to 89%).

There were considerable differences in the average levels of income between the states and territories. Average incomes in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory were well above the national average and incomes in Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland were at least 5% below the national average.

Further information is available in Household Income and Income Distribution, Australia, 2002-03 (cat. no. 6523.0). The publication and more detailed tables are available from the main features page on the ABS web site or upon request.

Media note: High income people are considered those in the top 20% of the income distribution. Middle income people are those in the middle 20% of the income distribution. Low income people are those between the bottom 10% and 30% of the income distribution.