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Personal Income in Australia

Regional data on the number of income earners, amounts received, and the distribution of income for the 2011-12 to 2017-18 financial years

Reference period
2011-12 to 2017-18

Key statistics

During 2017-18:

  • Total personal income was $903.9 billion
  • Median personal income was $49,805, up 3.0% on 2016-17
  • The largest income category was employee income, at 87.1% of total personal income

Sources of personal income

  • Most persons (77.7%) received employee income as their main source (up from 76.9% in the previous year)
  • Employee income was also the source with the highest median income. Median employee income was $50,861, an increase of 3.6% on the previous year
  • Superannuation income was the source with the second highest median income. Median superannuation income was $21,738, an increase of 5.2% on the previous year
  • Only 1.6% of persons received superannuation income as their main source of income (down from 1.7% in the previous year)
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State comparison

  • The Australian Capital Territory continues to record the highest median total income, but the second slowest growth rate since 2011-12
  • Western Australia had the third highest median total income, but the slowest overall growth rate since 2011-12
  • New South Wales had the fourth highest median total income but the fastest growth rate since 2011-12
     

A selection of income indicators are presented in the table below, providing an overview of the distribution of income across Australia.

Table 1. Distribution indicators for total personal income
 Median total incomeMedian total income growth rate Income Share 
 2017-18Last yearSince
2011-12
Top 1% earnersTop 5% earnersTop 10% earners
Australia$49,8053.0%15.9%9.6%22.6%33.6%
New South Wales$50,1533.0%17.1%11.2%24.5%35.5%
Victoria$49,2663.3%16.3%9.6%22.6%33.6%
Queensland$48,8263.0%14.8%8.2%20.7%31.7%
South Australia$48,3543.0%15.6%7.8%20.1%30.8%
Western Australia$52,6712.4%9.5%9.2%22.2%33.4%
Tasmania$45,5462.5%16.0%7.4%19.4%30.0%
Northern Territory$60,6363.4%16.1%6.6%18.4%29.0%
Australian Capital Territory$64,3322.1%12.7%6.6%18.4%28.8%

Local government area median total income

In 2017-18, the three local government areas with the highest median total income in Australia were:

  • Ashburton in Western Australia,
  • Roxby Downs in South Australia, and
  • Peppermint Grove in Western Australia

The following median personal incomes are for areas with more than 1,000 earners.

Table 2. Local government areas with the highest median total income
New South WalesVictoriaQueenslandSouth Australia
LGA$LGA$LGA$LGA$
Woollahra77,159Stonnington64,514Weipa82,098Roxby Downs92,398
North Sydney76,063Yarra63,503Isaac70,645Walkerville60,803
Mosman75,311Port Phillip62,315Mount Isa68,623Unley57,925
Lane Cove70,686Bayside61,075Cloncurry61,057Burnside56,765
Hunters Hill70,458Boroondara58,284Central Highlands58,694Prospect55,600
 
Western AustraliaTasmaniaNorthern TerritoryAustralia Capital Territory (a)
LGA$LGA$LGA$SA3$
Ashburton97,862Clarence49,355Palmerston66,804South Canberra79,591
Peppermint Grove90,486Kingborough48,608Litchfield64,406Molonglo75,143
Port Hedland83,516Hobart48,119Darwin61,643Woden Valley66,458
Karratha78,594Brighton47,345Katherine59,992North Canberra65,565
East Pilbara78,327West Coast47,304Alice Springs58,323Weston Creek65,194
a. The Australian Capital Territory does not have local government areas, so information is presented at the Statistical Area 3 level.

Income inequality - Gini coefficient

The Gini coefficient is a summary indicator between 0 and 1 that indicates the degree of inequality among total incomes within a region. A value of 0 indicates that all earners reported the same amount of income in that region. Higher values represent relatively higher levels of income inequality. The following Gini coefficients are for areas with more than 1,000 earners living within them and excludes the Australian Capital Territory, which does not have local government areas.

In 2017-18,

the following local government areas had the least income inequality (the lowest Gini coefficients) in Australia:

  • Roxby Downs in South Australia
  • Brighton in Tasmania
  • Playford in South Australia, Palmerston in Northern Territory and Katherine in Northern Territory

the following local government areas had the most income inequality (the highest Gini coefficients) in Australia:

  • Peppermint Grove in Western Australia
  • Cottesloe in Western Australia
  • Walgett in New South Wales

Data from the Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) provides the most comprehensive source of information for calculating Gini coefficients and measuring income inequality. As such, estimates from Household Income and Wealth, Australia should be used wherever possible, particularly at the Australia, State and Territory, and Greater Capital City Statistical Area levels. Gini coefficients from Personal Income in Australia should be considered complementary information, which provide insights for lower geographic levels. For more information about Gini coefficient, please see Explanatory notes

Table 3. Local government areas with the lowest Gini coefficients, 2017-18
LGAState/TerritoryGini coefficientProportion of high earners (top quartile)Income share received by top 10% of earnersMedian incomeMean income
Roxby DownsSouth Australia0.35755.2%21.9%$92,398$95,721
BrightonTasmania0.37115.0%24.1%$47,345$50,613
PlayfordSouth Australia0.38013.7%24.8%$46,239$49,532
PalmerstonNorthern Territory0.38034.8%26.3%$66,804$75,182
KatherineNorthern Territory0.38028.6%24.5%$59,992$63,934
   
Table 4. Local government areas with the highest Gini coefficients, 2017-18
LGAState/TerritoryGini coefficientProportion of high earners (top quartile)Income share received by top 10% of earnersMedian incomeMean income
Peppermint GroveWestern Australia0.75453.5%65.4%$90,486$288,603
CottesloeWestern Australia0.74946.3%65.8%$74,918$213,501
WalgettNew South Wales0.69416.6%40.3%$38,447$46,106
WoollahraNew South Wales0.68046.9%57.3%$77,159$172,621
Mosman ParkWestern Australia0.67540.1%55.7%$61,500$135,286
   

Data downloads

Table 1 - Total income 2011-12 to 2017-18

Table 2a - Total income distribution 2011-12

Table 2b - Total income distribution 2012-13

Table 2c - Total income distribution 2013-14

Table 2d - Total income distribution 2014-15

Table 2e - Total income distribution 2015-16

Table 2f - Total income distribution 2016-17

Table 2g - Total income distribution 2017-18

Table 3 - Employee income 2011-12 to 2017-18

Table 4 - Employee income by age and sex 2011-12 to 2017-18

Table 5 - Investment income 2011-12 to 2017-18

Table 6 - Own unincorporated business income 2011-12 to 2017-18

Table 7 - Superannuation income 2011-12 to 2017-18

All data cubes

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 6524.0.55.002.

Post-release changes

22 January 2021:

Table 1.4: The median age of earners in Queensland in 2017-18 was corrected.

Table 3.4:

  • Misaligned mean employee income numbers in 2017-18 were corrected for Queensland, South Australia, and all SA2s in Queensland
  • Misaligned median age of employee income earners numbers in 2017-18 were corrected for New South Wales and all SA2s in New South Wales
  • Proportion of earners with employee income as their main source of income in Victoria in 2017-18 was corrected
  • SA2 Namadgi in ACT cells were updated.

Table 6.5: Misaligned median own unincorporated business income numbers in 2016-17 were corrected.

Table 7.1: Median and mean superannuation income numbers in 2017-18 were corrected for Greater Melbourne and Rest of Victoria.

Table 7.5: Proportion of earners with superannuation income as their main source of income in Tasmanian in 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16 were corrected.