Monday, 15 September 2008

Forty per cent Aussies saw income fall

Forty per cent of Australians say their income fell between 2001 and 2005, despite the former federal government claiming the period was a golden age.

And for those who did enjoy a rise in income, the median gain was significantly less than the overall growth in the national economy.

For most people, equivalent incomes - adjusted for size of household - did rise between 2001 and 2005, according to a report to be published Monday by the Melbourne Institute for Applied Economic and Social Research.

But fewer than expected were counted among the winners, according to the research based on a longitudinal survey of about 12,000 homes and known as the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA).

"During this period, the national economy grew approximately 10 per cent and GDP per capita grew by close to 7 per cent," the researcher's lead author and HILDA deputy director, Bruce Headey, wrote.

"So it is an interesting and only partly explained puzzle that ... only 58 per cent of Australian residents recorded a gain in equivalent income. Further, the median gain was just 5.2 per cent."

Couples aged 24-54 and with no children, most of whom were double-income earners, fared the best while single mothers also did well, but off a low base, according to the research.

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