Annual HILDA Survey – Families, Incomes & Jobs
Monday, 22nd June 2009 at 5:20 pm
A new study into changes in the wealth of Australian households has found household wealth grew strongly between 2002 and 2006 but many individuals experienced substantial declines in real wealth.
The estimated mean net wealth of Australian households (at September 2006 prices) increased from $494,279 in 2002 to $664,867 in 2006 — a 35 per cent increase.
Growth in owner-occupied house prices was the most important contributor to growth in average household net wealth (partly offset by an increase in home debt), followed by the growth in superannuation.
The findings are from the Annual Statistical Report of the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, Families, Incomes and Jobs which released by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research.
The survey, also known as the ‘Living in Australia study’, is commissioned and funded by the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and is managed by the Melbourne Institute at the University of Melbourne.
Dr Roger Wilkins, the Deputy Director of the HILDA project, examined the levels and changes in individuals’ household wealth (assets and debts) between 2002 and 2006, using data from the HILDA Survey.
The data provided insights into the financial progress of Australians over the middle years of this decade, prior to the recent downturn in share and house prices. Dr Wilkins found that the growth in wealth between 2002 and 2006 was strong and widely distributed amongst the community, although it is also true that many individuals experienced substantial declines in real wealth, despite the growth in house and share prices.
As has been shown in other studies, wealth is more unequally distributed than is income, something supported by the HILDA data. Dr Wilkins, notes, however, that inequality in wealth between different groups within Australia has been reasonably stable over the period 2002 to 2006.
Nonetheless, the period saw large growth in the number of Australian millionaires (measured at September 2006 prices) — rising from 11.8 percent of the population in 2002, to 17.3 percent in 2006.
The HILDA Survey is Australia’s only large-scale nationally representative longitudinal household panel survey which interviews the same households and individuals each year. In each of the six waves of research, the survey has interviewed over 12,000 individuals.
An online version of the full report is available from the Melbourne Institute website at www.melbourneinstitute.com