Older people asset rich, income poor - latest ABS stats on household income

Older, low-income Australian households are asset-rich and income-poor, the latest ABS data shows. 

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released its latest numbers, which indicate that 54 per cent of older, low-income households had wealth in the top 40 per cent of Australian households, with 'wealth' being calculated based on the value of a household's assets, less the value of its liabilities. 

Many of these households have a variable set of circumstances applying to them: bank accounts and shares come in all shapes and sizes, with a third of Australians with over $50,000 in liquid assets compared to a third of older, low-income households with less than $5,000 in cash assets. 

The numbers overview:

  • The average cost of housing for older, low-income households is $106 per week; younger people on low incomes pay $216 per week. 
  • Almost 75 per cent of these households own their home outright; eight per cent are renting.
  • Younger people on low incomes were less likely to own their own home (18 per cent), with two-thirds having a mortgage or renting. 
  • A fifth of younger, low-income households have wealth in the top 40 per cent of Australian households, with half of these having less than $1,000 in liquid assets, and two-thirds having liquid assets of $5,000 or less. 

All data used was from the Survey of Income and Housing 2013-14.