Australian Salaries Are Up, But It Still Helps To Be Male

Survey results from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey show that we’re earning more on a household basis, but we’re still very lopsided when it comes to gender income equality.

Money picture from Shutterstock

The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey tracks around 17,000 Australians annually to report on everything from finances to fitness.

Household incomes have been on the rise in the ten year period between 2001 and 2011, when the mean and median jumped from $61,600/$53,316 to $79,763/$66,580. Young couples without children leading the way in income terms. It’s also found that households where both partners work contribute around 70 hours per week of combined paid and unpaid labour, dubbing them the nation’s “economic powerhouses”.

One interesting statistic in household income terms is that both private income and government benefits have remained relatively stable across the current ten year period of the figures, with wage and salary income still making up more than 60 per cent of household incomes.

At the older end of the spectrum, Australians are relying slightly less on the pension as their main source of income when retiring, down to 61.1 per cent from 64.3 per cent in 2003. Significantly fewer people are retiring before the age of 55, dropping proportionally for men from 2003 to 2011 by 11 per cent, and by 12 per cent for women.

There has also been a small rise in the number of households where the woman of the house earns more than the man, although the figures are still significantly lopsided, having increased from 23.5 per cent to 24.5 per cent. In those households where the woman was the larger earner, it was more likely that both partners worked full time, whereas in households where the man was the higher earner it was more likely that the woman worked part-time.

The picture around poverty rates is complicated, because while in absolute terms (using the same indexed rate for defining poverty from 2001) the percentage of the population in income poverty has tumbled from 12.8 per cent in 2001 to 5.7 per cent in 2011, when applied relative to actual household income growth it’s bounced around the 13 per cent mark. Alarmingly, sole parent child poverty appears to be on the rise.

Lifehacker’s weekly Loaded column looks at better ways to manage (and stop worrying about) your money.

A Statistical Report on Waves 1 to 11 of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey [University Of Melbourne]

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