Distribution of household income: A 2016 snapshot

It is estimated that in 2016, 5.7 per cent of the population lived in households with very low incomes after allowance for household size. We identify poor households as those with incomes below the 10th percentile. Judged by the proportion of households with incomes at this level, the poorest regions were either remote or urban. Two remote regions matched this profile: NT Lingiari and SA Far North and West. Other remote and resource-based regions reported proportions around the national average. Among metropolitan regions, Sydney Mid-West stood out as particularly disadvantaged. The only other metropolitan region remotely like it was Adelaide North. There were no equivalents in the other metropolitan areas. No ex-urban or lifestyle regions stood out. However, the proportion of poor households was above the national average in several rural regions. Insofar as high income supports a high standard of living, the most prosperous regions were the ACT, Darwin, the Sydney metropolitan core, the central regions of Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane, and the WA Pilbara Kimberley.

Note: Equivalised income applies to households living in private dwellings which reported their incomes. Between 2011 and 2016 the household consumption price index as recorded in the National Accounts rose by approximately 6 per cent, hence after adjustment for inflation overall median income rose by approximately 9 per cent or 1.6 per cent a year.

For more details, please refer to the State of Regions 2019-2020 report.