Trends in Income and Consumption Inequality in Australia

Ann Harding, Harry Greenwell

Research output: Contribution to conference (non-published works)Paper


There has been much debate in Australia about whether income inequality is increasing. This study uses the various unit record files of national sample surveys undertaken by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to look at this issue. Section 2 briefly summarises the methodology of this study. Section 3 looks at trends in income inequality, first analysing results from the ABS Household Expenditure Surveys and then contrasting these with outcomes from the ABS income surveys (initially named the Income Distribution Surveys but replaced in 1994-95 by the Surveys of Income and Housing Costs).
Arguably, spending is a better measure of economic resources than income and so section 4 examines trends in expenditure inequality in Australia. One of the key findings of this study is that, while income inequality has apparently been increasing, current expenditure inequality has remained stable.
Consequently, section 5 explores the relationship between the income and expenditure patterns of Australian households, ranked by their income.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2002
EventInternational Association for Research in Income and Wealth 27th General Conference - , Sweden
Duration: 18 Aug 200224 Aug 2002


ConferenceInternational Association for Research in Income and Wealth 27th General Conference


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