Friday 3 November 2006

Both the Rich and Poor got richer - but it's all relative

A study by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling at the University of Canberra has shown that the average Australian was 25 per cent better off in 2006 than in 1996, after adjusting for inflation.

While the rich did get richer over the past decade, so did nearly everyone else. Both the richest 10% and poorest 10% of Australians increased their real incomes by about a quarter. However, for the poorest this meant $29 more per week, after inflation, compared to $256 more per week, after inflation, for the rich. The group that made the biggest gains was actually the "middle income" group which gained about 30% in real terms over the decade.

One group that did fall behind the rest was second poorest 10% of the Australian population, mainly age pensioners, who failed to keep pace with everyone else, but still managed a real gain of 14%. This is likely to be a persistant trend as the government struggles to fund aged pensions as the ratio of taxpayers to aged pensions drops with the aging population - the number of Australians aged oved 60 is projected to double by 2040.

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