Change in number of workers employed by occupation (000s)

This graph shows that, from August 2020 to August 2021 (centre bars): * The number of people employed in lower-paid occupations rose by 71,000; * The number in middle-paid occupations fell by 5,000; * The number in higher-paid occupations rose by 251,000.

Impact of past recessions on household after-tax incomes

This figure shows changes in household after-tax incomes brought about by the recessions of the early 1980s and 1990s (left and right-hand clusters).

Changes in average before-tax income of households ranked by private income March-December 2020

This graph shows that, from March 2020 to December 2020: * The average incomes of the lowest 20% income group (who mainly relied on pensions) rose by 8% ($56pw); * Those of the next 20% (mainly low-paid workers and families on income support) rose by 11% ($144pw); * The average incomes of the middle 20% rose by 3% ($53pw) and those of the next 20% rose by 2% ($67pw); * In contrast, the average incomes of the highest 20% fell by 4% ($230pw).

Change in household income (as a % of after-tax income in June 2019)

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian National Accounts. Note: Shows growth in different components of household income from June 2019 (before COVID) to June 2020 (recession), and from June 2020 to June 2021 (recovery), as a percentage of average after-tax household income in June 2019. Income tax is expressed in negative values (so a positive value means a reduction in tax). Note that the value of some components fell. Yellow = an increase would be expected to reduce inequality (more so if darker); Blue = an increase would be expected to increase inequality (more so if darker). Grey = an increase has an indeterminant impact on inequality. This graph compares changes in the main components of household incomes in the financial year of the recession (from June quarter 2019 to June quarter 2020), and the first year of recovery (from June 2020 to June 2021). Changes in the overall value of each income component through each of these years are expressed as a proportion of…

Distribution of income by source (percentage of all income in 2017)

Of the main parts of income, social security skews towards low-income households, investment income to high-income households, and earnings from employment to middle-income households. This chart compares the degree to which each income component is skewed towards higher- or lower-income households. In 2017-18, before the recession: * 65% of investment income went to the highest 20% income group, who paid 58% of personal income tax; * 89% of labour earnings and 79% of self-employment earnings went to the highest 60%. * 72% of social security payments went to the lowest 40% of households by income

Average before-tax household income ($pw)

This chart shows trends in before-tax incomes for households ranked by private income from March 2020 (just prior to the COVID recession) to June 2020 (when Australia was locked down, and effective unemployment reached 17%) and December 2020 (when most lockdowns had eased and effective unemployment had declined to 7%). It shows that, from March to December 2020, average before tax incomes: * Rose from $685pw to $741pw for the lowest 20% of households ranked by income; * Rose from $2,005pw to $2,058pw for the middle 20%; * Fell from $5,182 pw to $4,952pw for the highest 20%. These figures indicate that income inequality declined despite the recession, an extraordinary result given past experience

Changes in employment, hours and wages by percentage from March to June 2020

The spread of COVID-19 and the government-ordered lockdowns to contain it had a sudden and profound impact on employment and earnings in Australia.  This graph shows that, in just the three months from March to May 2020, paid hours worked declined by 10% and employment fell by 6%, whilst wages paid were reduced by 8.3%. In June, there was a modest recovery in paid working hours and wages as lockdowns easied, but unemployment and underemployment continued to rise. The unemployment rate stood at 7.4% in June 2020.

New report shows who is most impacted by inequality in Australia

A new report by ACOSS and UNSW Sydney shows that, pre-COVID, single people on JobSeeker, even those with some paid work, and single parents on JobSeeker, have been struggling on the lowest rung of the household income scale. Over half are in the lowest 10% of incomes nationally. Half of people on age pensions are in the lowest 20% of incomes nationally, though widespread home ownership among this group provides a significant degree of protection from poverty. The 10% of older people who rent their homes are in a much more financially distressed position. The report – Inequality in Australia 2020: Part 2, Who is Affected and Why – sets a base-line of data against which to assess the impact that COVID-19 is having on inequality in Australia. It reveals where different groups fit in the income and wealth scales, and the direct causes of inequality from the latest data available, 2017-18. Professor Carla Treloar, Director of the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney, said: “Even…

Inequality in Australia 2020, Part 2: Who is affected and why

Read the report: Inequality in Australia 2020, Part 2: Who is affected and why Where do you stand in Australia's income distribution? Find out now with our income calculator!