The State of the Australian Middle Class

by Clive Hamilton, Christian Downie and Yi-Hua Lu

There is a widespread view that the middle class in Australia is doing it tough, that they are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain a decent standard of living and are suffering from mortgage stress. Indeed, some media reports have announced the end of the middle class dream. This paper tests a number of these popular views against the statistical data. It asks whether the typical Australian family can be said to be struggling? Are mortgages creating severe problems for middle-class families? Is the middle class shrinking? Are families coping financially only because wives are going out to work?

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