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Thursday, 20 April 2017

Inequality in Australia is NOT rising

Despite the oft repeated, and I guess tacitly accepted, claims by Labor and the Greens that inequality in Australia has been rising, fact do not bear this out.

In his "Wages have stalled but inequality is not rising" David Uren explores the recent review by HILDA ( Household Income and Labour Dynamics Survey) noting some unexpected results;-

  • Using the Gini index to measure income distribution, since 2001, income distribution has become marginally more equal with the Gini index dropping from 0.305 to 0.299.
  • There is no significant change in the proportional wealth of the top 10% of income earners , or the bottom 10% of income earners, over the past 15 years.
  • there is no evidence that older generation is gaining income at the expense of the young
  • there is no evidence that males are gaining income at the expense of females
  • there has always been inequality between incomes in rural regions as opposed to the citites but there is no evidence that this is becoming worse.
  • rising housing values have seen increases in household wealth for home owners as opposed to renters but this has not generated inequality in household incomes
  • following a steep rise in household incomes between 2002 and 2012, after allowing for inflation there has been no increase since then.
And concluding ;- 
"The evidence from HILDA shows that, contrary to popular opinion, the pain has been evenly shared: the incomes of the top-earning 10 per cent have stagnated just as much as those of the bottom 10 per cent and everyone between." David Uren, The Australian, 20 April 17
While stagnating income can cast gloom over the community, it is good to know that all Australians are sharing the burden equally. In this sense it is welcome news. Welcome news for most of us. But no doubt unwelcome for Labor, the Greens and their various allies, who would like to use inequality as a stick to raise taxes inequitably across our society.

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