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Statistics and Mapping
The latest Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in
Australia (HILDA) Statistical Report 2019 shows earnings from work in Australia
for men have virtually plateaued in real terms since 2011, while earnings for
women have increased slightly. The report also shows median household incomes
have fallen slightly in real terms since 2009, and income inequality is largely
unchanged over the whole length of the period that the survey has been
conducted (from 2001 to 2017).
Commuting times are now longer, households are less reliant
on welfare payments, new retirees aged 65 years and over are less likely to be
on the Age Pension, and workers are more likely to be engaged in non-standard
Men are more likely to be spending a bit more time on house
work and child care than they did in the early 2000s while women are spending a
bit less time on house work than they did but more time on child care. Men are
more likely to experience conflict between work and spending time with family than
women but the rate of conflict is falling over time—perhaps due to them being
less likely to work very long hours. Young Australians are much more likely to
be living in the parental home for longer, which is partially driven by higher
rates of participation in education.
Increasing use of paid child care for
children under the age of five
Slowing growth of household incomes
Little change in income inequality
Contrasting growth and decline in
household incomes in regional areas
Evidence of intergenerational income
Declining relative income poverty
Declining welfare reliance
Labour market earnings
Use of salary sacrificing
Increasing prevalence of non-standard
Increased time spent commuting
Earning characteristics of couple
Time use by men and women in couple
Conflict between time spent at work
and being with your family
Family formation and labour market
performance of young adults
Prevalence of serious illness
Illicit drug use
The results of the 14th Household,
Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Annual Statistical Report 2019
were released on 30 July 2019. The survey is a nationally representative
longitudinal study of over 17,000 Australian individuals residing in
approximately 9,500 households that has been undertaken since 2001. The release
of 2017 data makes this the seventeenth wave of data releases. The survey is
funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services and managed
by the Melbourne Institute at the University of Melbourne.
The HILDA survey enables analysis of a range of social,
demographic and economic issues but perhaps its most distinctive feature is its
longitudinal nature. Questions are asked of the same individuals and households
year every year which allows researchers to examine how aspects of their lives
change and transition over time. This enables the observation of the dynamics
of health and education of individuals, their labour market experiences and the
income they receive. In particular it allows researchers and policy makers to
observe whether some individuals experience persistent relative income poverty
and reliance on welfare. HILDA data also enables analysis of labour market
transitions, income mobility and earnings.
The survey sample has been supplemented at various times due
to attrition of respondents (i.e. the survey is topped up to make up for those
who no longer wish to be interviewed). The survey has also been topped up to
include more migrants to make the sample and survey results more representative
of the changing nature of the Australian population. Due to logistical issues
the survey sample does not include Indigenous and Non Indigenous Australians
living in very remote communities.
use of paid child care for children under the age of five
The use of child care is much higher for children not at
school compared with school children aged five to 14 years. Over half of
couples with children not yet at school used paid child care compared with just
under a fifth of couples with children at school.
Between 2011 and 2017 the use of paid child care by couple
parents for children not yet at school increased by 10.1 percentage points to
53 per cent. The use of child care by single parents with children not yet at
school showed similar trends between 2011 and 2016 but fell markedly in 2017.
of household incomes
Between 2001 and 2009 median household annual disposable
income grew by $19,432 or 31.7 per cent in real terms
but between 2009 and 2017 median household annual disposable income fell
slightly by $542 or 0.7 per cent.
change in income inequality
The HILDA Survey indicates there has been little net change
in income inequality between 2001 and 2017.
The Gini coefficient—which is a common measure of overall
inequality—has remained between 0.29 and 0.31 over the entire 17 years of the
HILDA Survey. There has been a very slight increase in inequality more
recently using the Gini coefficient measure—from 0.294 in 2015 to 0.302 in
growth and decline in household incomes in regional areas
Median household equivalised income for Perth residents
outstripped other capital cities between 2010-11 and 2014-15 but contracted
sharply in 2016-17 to be just above Brisbane and Melbourne.
Median household income in the Australian Capital Territory
fell dramatically between 2012‑13 and 2014-15 and has not recovered
since. Median household income in the Australian Capital Territory was the
equal of the Northern Territory in 2016-17 and was around $20,000 more than the
median for the next highest jurisdiction which is Western Australia. The rest
of the states have experienced relatively stable household incomes between
2008-09 and 2016-17 after recording steady growth in the previous seven years.
intergenerational income mobility
The Melbourne Institute undertook some analysis of the
economic fortunes of people who were aged 15 to 17 years of age in 2001 and
aged 32 to 34 years in 2017 to establish whether there is some link between
their eventual financial outcomes and the economic circumstances of their
The researchers examined the outcomes for children whose
parents were in the bottom 20 per cent of the one year parental income
distribution in 2001 (when the children were aged 15 to 17 years) and found
that 34.4 per cent were in the bottom 20 per cent of the income distribution
for their age in 2017 (when they were aged 32 to 34 years) but just under a
quarter (23.8 per cent) were in the top 40 per cent of the income distribution.
In other words over a third of this group were in the bottom 20 per cent of the
income distribution in 2017 but just under a quarter had progressed to be in
the top 40 per cent.
For those children whose parents were in the top 20 per cent
of the parental income distribution when they were aged 15 to 17 years, less
than ten per cent were in the bottom fifth of the income distribution for their
age group when they were aged 32 to34 years in 2017, And just under a third
(32.6 per cent) of this group were in the top 20 per cent of the income
distribution. These outcomes provide evidence of the link between parental
income and the income of children later in life but also some evidence of
income progression for those at the bottom of the income distribution.
relative income poverty
The proportion of the population experiencing relative
has fallen from 12.4 per cent in 2007 to 10.4 per cent in 2017. This outcome is
partly due to the clustering of many welfare recipients close to the relative
income poverty line. Small movements in government allowances can move
recipients above the line.
Poverty rates are much higher for single elderly persons. Poverty
rates for this group declined steadily between 2009 and 2015 but started rising
again in 2016 and 2017. It should be noted that these poverty measures do not
account for housing costs. Elderly people are more likely to own their house
than younger people, and the income poverty measure does not account for
in-kind income provided by owner occupied housing or the rent that home owners
would have to pay for their housing if they did not own it.
In 2017 the child poverty rate for dependent children under
the age of 18 years was 8.2 per cent.
In 2017 the poverty rate for children in single parent
households was almost four times the poverty rate of children in couple parent
households at 19.2 per cent compared with 5.3 per cent.
Just over 2 per cent of men and women aged between 18 and 55
years had experienced poverty for seven or more years between 2008 and 2017. A
quarter of men and 27 per cent of women in this age group had experienced
poverty for at least one year between 2008 and 2017.
For persons aged 65 years just under, two thirds of men and
three quarters of women experienced at least one year in relative income
poverty between 2008 and 2017. Further, over18.2 per cent of men in this age
group and 22.3 per cent of women experienced relative income poverty for seven
years or more between 2008 and 2017. As noted above these results are
influenced by housing costs not being taken into account.
Single parents have much higher reliance on welfare than
other household types but their rates of reliance fell considerably from 45.3
per cent in 2002 to 29.7 per cent in 2014 but the proportion that are welfare
reliant has risen since to 33.5 per cent in 2017.
The proportion of couples with dependent children who were
welfare-reliant fell from 8.7 per cent in 2002 to 4.2 per cent in 2017, while
welfare reliance for couples without dependent children fell from 11.1 per cent
in 2002 to 5.5 per cent in 2017.
In contrast, welfare reliance among single women increased
from 14.6 per cent in 2008 to 16.6 per cent in 2017 while for single men it
rose from 12.0 per cent to 16.3 per cent.
Of those people aged 18 to 55 years who received income
support in 2008 around 8.6 per cent of men and 10.7 per cent of women in this
age group received income support each year for the next ten years through to
In 2003, 60 per cent of people aged 65 years and over were
reliant on income support but by 2017 this proportion had fallen to 51 per
The proportion of men aged 65 years and over that were new
retirees and on the Age Pension has fallen from 75.7 per cent in 2001-03 to
60.0 per cent in 2016-2017. For women in this age group the proportion that
were new retirees fell from 73.8 per cent in 2001-03 to 54.9 per cent in
Between 2001 and 2017 average weekly earnings of men working
full-time increased by 20.9 per cent which compares with growth of 24.0 per
cent for women working full-time.
Measures of earnings inequality also show a convergence
between full-time employee male and female earnings distributions in recent
Long term trend findings mask more recent events which show
average weekly earnings for male employees working full-time have been stable
or fallen slightly in real terms in succeeding years between 2011 and 2017. In
contrast earnings for women working full-time have continued to grow.
Salary sacrificing can be used for increasing superannuation
balances (59 per cent of all salary sacrificing in 2017), purchasing a motor
vehicle (15 per cent), housing (19 per cent), household and personal bills (11
per cent) and other purposes (16 per cent). A slightly higher proportion of
employees salary sacrificed in 2017 (15.9 per cent) compared with 2010 (14.4
per cent), but the mean value that they have salary sacrificed has fallen in
real terms from $8,440 to $6,787. This finding suggests that households and
individuals are deciding to invest less in items such as superannuation perhaps
as a result of slowing growth in personal and household incomes.
prevalence of non-standard employment
The prevalence of non-standard employment (which includes
people on fixed-term contracts, casual employment, labour hire employment and
permanent part-time employment) increased for men from 31 per cent in 2008 to
37 per cent in 2017, while increasing from 57 per cent to 61 per cent for
Much of the increase for men was driven by an increase in
prevalence of casual employment while the increase for women was mainly driven
by an increase in the prevalence of permanent part-time work and to a lesser an
extent an increased prevalence of casual employment.
In terms of age there has been a notable increase in
non-standard employment among people aged 15 to 24 years between 2008 and 2017
and a corresponding decline in prevalence of non-standard employment for those
aged 65 years and over. Prevalence is much more stable for other age groups.
There has been a notable increase in the time spent
commuting in Australia from an average of 48.8 minutes per day in 2002 to 59.9
minutes per day in 2017. Of the major capital cities Sydney has the highest
average commuting time at 71.1 minutes in 2017 which compares with 60.6 minutes
characteristics of couple households
Dual earner couple households have grown as a share of all working
age couple households from 56 per cent in 2001 to 66 per cent in 2017. In 2017
around 18 per cent of working age couple households were characterised by only
the male partner being employed (compared with 22 per cent in 2001), 9 per cent
of couple households were characterised by only the female partner being
employed and 8 per cent were households where neither partner was employed.
The proportion of dual earner working age couples where the
female partner earns more than the male partner has increased from 22 per cent
in 2001 to 25 per cent in 2017.
Time use by
men and women in couple households
There has been a slight increase in house work undertaken by
men in 2015 to 2017 compared with 2002 to 2004 in households with dependent
children where there is a male breadwinner, households where there is a female
breadwinner and households where the paid work undertaken is approximately evenly
shared. The data also shows a commensurate small decline in house work
undertaken by women in these households.
In couple households with dependent children where earnings
were approximately even women spent on average 23.1 hours on housework in
2015-17 compared with 16.1 hours for men. Women in these households spent on
average 18.2 hours looking after children compared with 11.1 hours for men.
Women spent a lot more time engaged in these activities than men in households
where the male was the breadwinner (14 more hours doing housework and 15 more
hours looking after children) in 2005 and 2017. Women in households where they
were the breadwinner also spent more time than men on these activities (five
more hours on housework and eight more hours on child care).
Both men and women spent more time looking after children in
2015 to 2017 compared with 2002 to 2004 in households where there was a female
breadwinner or they both worked. Men in households where they were the only
bread winner show only a very slight increase in time spent looking after
between time spent at work and being with your family
Men tend to report higher average scores for work-family
conflict than women. But interestingly the average work-family conflict score
for men has been trending down since 2001 while scores for women have been
trending upwards so that by 2017 there was a much smaller gap between the two.
There is a clear positive relationship between working
longer hours and work-family conflict. Those working 55 hours per week report a
2 point higher work-family conflict score than those working 15 hours per week
or less. And those working night or irregular shifts of work report much higher
scores. Perhaps a reason for the decline in the work-family conflict score for
men is related to the decline in prevalence of longer working hours for men
over the past two decades. According to ABS Labour Force survey data the
proportion of employed men working 60 hours or more per week has fallen from
12.7 per cent in June 2000 to 8.1 per cent in June 2019.
formation and labour market performance of young adults
There is an increasing incidence of young adults living in
the parental home. In 2017 around 56.4 per cent of young men aged 18 to 29
years lived with their parents compared with 47.2 per cent in 2001. A more
significant shift is observed for women in this age group with 53.9 per cent
living with their parents in 2017 compared with 36.5 per cent in 2001.
The biggest shift has been in the 22 to 25 years age group
with around 59 per cent of women in this group living with their parents in
2017 compared to around 31 per cent in 2001. Similarly around 57 per cent of
men aged 22 to 25 years were living with their parents in 2017 compared with
around 41 per cent in 2001. Young adult women were leaving home on average at
24.2 years of age in 2017 which compares with 22.1 years in 2001.
Young adults aged 18 to 29 years living at home were
slightly more likely to be unemployed than all young adults—8.3 per cent versus
6.6 per cent.
Part of the reason for the delay in departure from the
family home is participation in education. For example, around 24.6 per cent of
young women aged 22 to 25 years were participating in education in 2017
compared with 13.8 per cent in 2001.
of serious illness
There are some gender differences in terms of reported
prevalence of particular types of diseases. Men aged 55 years and over were
more likely to report Type 2 diabetes than women in this age group in 2017
(15.2 per cent versus 10.3 per cent), heart disease (16.6 per cent versus 10.0
per cent) and any type of cancer (9.1 per cent versus 5.6 per cent). Women in
this age group were more likely than men to report arthritis or osteoporosis
(45.9 per cent versus 27.6 per cent) and depression or anxiety (16.5 per cent
versus 11.5 per cent). Young women aged 15 to 34 years were the group most likely
to report depression or anxiety (at 20.1 per cent).
Over an eight year period the illnesses that have the
highest chances of mortality for people aged 55 years and over were Type 1
diabetes (36.8 per cent mortality rate), a serious circulatory condition such
as a stroke (33.5 per cent), chronic bronchitis or emphysema (31.7 per cent),
heart disease (30.3 per cent) and any type of cancer (29.4 per cent). Males
aged 15 to 34 years recorded over a five percentage point increase in
prevalence of depression to 11.2 per cent between 2009 and 2017. Women in the
same age group recorded just over a seven percentage point increase to 20.1 per
cent for the same illness condition. Similar increases in prevalence of
depression or anxiety were recorded for men and women aged 35-54 years and
those aged 55 years and over.
The HILDA survey included a new set of question on illegal
drug use in 2017. The data shows around 12.0 per cent of the Australian
population aged 15 years plus had used an illicit drug in the past 12 months
with approximately 10.6 per cent using marijuana, 3.1 per cent using ecstasy,
2.9 per cent using cocaine, 1.5 per cent using hallucinogens and 1.2 per cent
using meth/amphetamines. The rate of illicit drug use is much higher among younger
age groups with almost a quarter of those in their 20s reporting they had used
an illicit drug in the past year.
Usage rates decline significantly with age. Around 35 per
cent of Australians aged 15 years plus reported they had used marijuana at least
once in their lifetime compared with 11 per cent who reported they had used
ecstasy, nine per cent who reported they had used cocaine and less than six per
cent who had used meth/amphetamine at least once. While marijuana is the most
common drug used around 64 per cent of marijuana users in the past year in 2017
did not use any other types of illicit drugs.
The sample for single parents with children under five years is very small
(less than 200) which may have affected the results.
In December 2017 prices.
A Gini coefficient that is closer to one implies that the distribution of
income is becoming less equal.
As measured by household income being below 50 per cent of median equivalised
Welfare reliance is defined as having more than 50 per cent of annual household
income sourced from welfare payments.
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