Friday, October 14, 2011

Surprise, surprise ... the rich have got richer

Today the ABS reported that
Richest households 15% richer
The wealthiest 20% of households have increased their average net worth 15% since 2005-06 (CPI adjusted), while the poorest 20% of households saw only a 4% rise, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
These wealthy households had an average net worth of $2.2 million per household, and accounted for around two-thirds of total household wealth. The poorest 20% of households had an average net worth of $32,000 per household, which accounted for 1% of total household wealth.
The average wealth of an Australian household in 2009-10 was $720,000, up 14% (CPI adjusted) since 2005-06.
There were differences in the average levels of wealth between the states and territories. Average net worth in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania were below the national average.
Household wealth was more concentrated in metropolitan areas. The average net worth of households located in capital cities was $772,000 as compared with $629,000 in areas outside of capital cities.
Owner-occupied homes were the main asset held by Australians. Mortgages on them were the main liability, with over two-thirds of Australian households owning their own home either outright or with a mortgage.
For households who owned their home outright (2.7 million households), the average value of the home was $541,000. For those households with a mortgage on their home (3 million households), the average value of the home was $521,000, and the average mortgage outstanding was $188,000, giving a net home equity of $333,000.
One in five households owned property other than their own home, including holiday homes and rental properties.
Superannuation was the main financial asset held by households, with three-quarters of all households having some superannuation assets.
For households with superannuation, the average value of their superannuation was $154,000, but for half of these, the value was less than $60,000.

More information can be found in Household Wealth and Wealth Distribution, Australia, 2005-06 (cat. no. 6554.0).
Other interesting stats

"Sixty-nine percent of households own their own home either outright or with a mortgage"

It also notes the important distinction between means and medians

While the mean household net worth of all households in Australia in 2009-10 was $720,000, the median (i.e. the mid-point when all households are ranked in ascending order of net worth) was substantially lower at $426,000 (table 7). This difference reflects the asymmetric distribution of wealth between households, where a relatively small proportion of households had high net worth and a relatively large number of households had low net worth, as illustrated in the following frequency distribution graph (S1).

As shown in table 2, over 1.2 million households (16%) had net worth less than $50,000, with 77,000 of these households having negative net worth (1% of all households).



Another measure of wealth distribution is provided by the net worth shares of groups of households at different points in the wealth distribution. The following graph (S2) shows that, in 2009-10, households in the highest net worth quintile held 62% of the total net worth of all households, while a further 20% was held by households in the 4th quintile. By comparison, the lowest three quintiles held, in total, 18% of total net worth.
S2. Net worth, Percentage share of total
Graph: S2. Net worth, Percentage share of total

It also notes the distinctions between WEALTH and INCOME [for example while I might have a reasonable income, I have no wealth :-( ]
Wealth is distributed between households somewhat differently to income. While the 20% of households comprising the lowest net worth quintile accounted for only 1% of total household net worth, they accounted for 12% of total gross household income. The 20% of households comprising the lowest gross household income quintile accounted for 4% of total gross household income but 13% of total net worth (table S4).
The differences in the distribution of wealth and income partly reflect the common pattern of wealth being accumulated during a person's working life and then being utilised during retirement. Therefore many households with relatively low wealth have relatively high income, especially if they are younger households. Conversely older households may have accumulated relatively high net worth over their lifetimes, but have relatively low income in their retirement.
In addition, some households have low or even negative incomes due to business or investment losses, but still have relatively high levels of net worth. ...
The lowest equivalised income decile had a higher mean equivalised net worth ($309,000) than the second to fifth equivalised income deciles. Average equivalised net worth of households in the highest (tenth) income decile was more than double that of households in the ninth income decile ($1,158,000 and $477,000 respectively).
Of course the stage of life you are in matters considerably as well
Life cycle stages

A typical life cycle includes childhood, early adulthood and the forming and maturing of families. ...
Of the selected life cycle groups, the group with the highest mean household net worth was couple only, reference person aged 55 to 64 ($1,317,000). Many of these people are either nearing the end of their time in the labour force or have recently retired, that is, they are at the end of the main wealth accumulation period. People over 65 had lower net worth on average ($1,111,000 for couples and $572,000 for lone persons), at least partly reflecting a run-down of assets to support consumption in retirement. These older cohorts may also have had less opportunity for capital accumulation in earlier decades, for example, because women had lower participation rates in the paid work force. 
Lone persons aged under 35 had the lowest mean household net worth, at $151,000. The mean household net worth of couple only households with a reference person aged under 35 was $237,000 (or $119,000 per person). These couple only households had almost twice the level of mean gross household income of the young lone person household ($2,128 per week compared with $1,152 per week). The mean age of the household reference person in both household types was 28, that is, they had had the same amount of time on average to accumulate wealth.
One parent, one family households with dependent children had a mean net worth of $276,000, compared to $827,000 for couple family households with dependent children. Differences in relative age did not contribute significantly to this substantial difference in net worth, since the average age of parent was 41 years for the one parent families and 42 years for couple families. Home ownership for the one parent family households was about half that of the couple family households (40% and 77% respectively)
Interesting stuff.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be civil ...