Regional residents earn less than city dwellers

PEOPLE living in regional areas are earning 21% less than those living in cities in 2011-12, figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show.

The average Australian household has weekly disposable income of $918, the ABS Survey of Income and Housing found, but the difference between cities and regional areas was profound.

The survey showed people in the capital cities earned $978 on average per week compared to $809 outside metropolitan areas.

While a majority of households derived their main income from salaries and wages (61%), a quarter relied on welfare in the form of government pensions and allowances.

Income in low and middle income households grew by more than 4% between 2009-10 and 2011-12, the survey found.

Average incomes in the Australian Capital Territory ($1144), Western Australia ($1017) and the Northern Territory ($1012) were well above the national average, while Victoria ($884), South Australia ($841) and Tasmania ($784) were below.

The average household income in New South Wales and Queensland was $937 and $899 respectively per week.

Stephanie Cornes, director of household economic resource surveys at the ABS, said the survey contained encouraging signs in terms of average incomes.

"Growth in household income stalled after the global financial crisis, but figures from 2011-12 released today show that household incomes are recovering," Ms Cornes said.

"Low income households have seen an increase of 5% from 2009-10, and middle income households have seen an increase of 4%. High income households have been fairly stable, with no significant growth."

 

MONEY MATTERS

  • Low income households had an average weekly household income of $475 in 2011/12 and their main source of income was government pensions and allowances.
  • Middle income households had an average weekly household income of $793 and their main source of income was wages and salaries.
  • High income households had an average weekly household income of $1814 and their main source of income was wages and salaries.

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