Context statement: Indicator of ability to purchase goods and services such as food, clothing, housing, transport and medical care. A lower household income results in a lower material standard of living and greater risk of experiencing economic hardship.
For most Australians, income is the most important resource they have to meet their living costs (ABS 2019).
Mean equivalised disposable household income in 2017–18 was $1,062 per week. After adjusting to 2017–18 dollars, this has not changed significantly from 2015–16 ($1,046 per week). Mean equivalised disposable household income increased in real terms from 1995–96 to 2007–08. A decline in average income followed the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008. However, average equivalised disposable household income has since recovered and is now higher than before the GFC (ABS 2019).
In 2017–18, the equivalised household income for the highest income quintile households ($2,142 per week) was more than 5 times that of the lowest income quintile households ($399 per week) (ABS 2019).
These data precede the COVID-19 pandemic. Preliminary data from the 2020–21 Survey of Income and Housing showed that total household income remained stable in the December 2020 quarter at $2,349 per week, compared to the December 2019 quarter (see ABS 2021).
For more information, see Income and income support.
ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2019. Household income and wealth, Australia; Reference period: 2017–18 financial year. Canberra: ABS.
ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2021. Household financial resources; Reference period: December 2020. Canberra: ABS.