Millions of Australians facing income decline

by Rachel Ranosa23 Oct 2018

A third of Australians are finding it difficult to live on their current income, a survey on economic mobility in the country showed.

The study examined the income of Australians and found a downward trend. Almost six million households faced a decline in their household income from 2011 to 2016, according to a report from the Australian Population Research Institute.

More than three million individual earners, on the other hand, witnessed spiralling income over the same five-year period, the report found. The figure represents 20% of personal income earners.

Despite Australia’s sustained economic growth in the past 27 years – which raised the living standards for the average citizen – there was a “disconnect” between this period of growth and people’s perceptions of how wealthy they were. The Committee for the Economic Development of Australia reported:

  • Only 5% of respondents believe they benefited greatly from the country’s economic growth
  • 31% find it difficult to survive on their present income.

Western Australia, Queensland, and the Northern Territory have been affected by income decline the most. In terms of industries where income has been falling, mining has registered the highest percentage (35%) of people experiencing an income decline. The data showed the decline occurred around the time the mining boom had ended. This may be the reason WA and Queensland, which rely on mining, have had a higher incidence of an income decline among residents.

Moreover, data on income decline by occupation revealed farmers and farm managers have been grappling with falling income in the same five years.



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