New Figures Show Bottom 40% Going Backwards

The release of ABS Household Income and Wealth figures confirm that the bottom 40% of Australians are going backwards. Wealth of the bottom 40% has decreased

Not only has the average wealth of the bottom 40% fallen, the total wealth of the bottom 40% has also fallen. Meanwhile, the top 20% saw their total wealth increase by $600 billion to a staggering $6 trillion dollars.

Key findings:

  • Bottom 20% (lowest quintile)
    • Average fell from $37,900 in 2015-16 to $35,200 in 2017-18.
    • Total wealth for the quintile fell from $67.9 billion to $65.3 billion (fall of $2.7 billion)
  • Next lowest 20% (second lowest quintile)
    • Average fell from $243,800 in 2015-16 to $231,100 in 2017-18.
    • Total wealth fell from $437.1 billion to $428.5 billion (fall of $8.6 billion)
  • By comparison, the Top 20% (top quintile)
    • Average wealth increased from $3 million to $3.2 million
    • total wealth in the quintile increasing from $5.4 trillion to $6 trillion (increase of $600 billion)

“It really is the case that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. This data shows large gains in the wealth of the top 20% of households and a fall in the wealth of the bottom 40%,” said Matt Grudnoff, senior economist at the Australia Institute.

“Higher rates of inequality lead to a more sluggish economy and in Australia today we’re seeing inequality rise. 

“The wealth being created today is increasingly flowing to the wealthiest Australians. Meanwhile, those at the bottom are not just missing out on Australia’s growing wealth, they’re seeing their own wealth actually decline.

“Flat or falling real wages are having a real impact on those who are already doing it tough. Are we as a nation really saying that it is okay for the bottom 40% of Australian households to be going backwards?

“Inequality is increasingly becoming a problem in Australia and the Government needs to take action. Rather than tackle rising inequality the Government’s recent tax cuts will only make inequality even worse by giving the overwhelming majority of the tax cut to high income earners.

“Many are having a go but not getting a go.”

  

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