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How wealthy is the average Australian?

Have you ever wondered how wealthy the average Australian is?

If you’ve been following my blogs for a while you’ll know I don’t measure true wealth by how much money you’ve got or how many investment properties you own.

Your true wealth is what you’re left with when they take all your money away – it’s your health, your family, your friends, your contributions to this world.

But having said that; let’s look at how much money does the average Australian have?

According to the ABS the average wealth of Australian households in 2011-12 was $728,000.Moneyy

Of course the level of wealth varied greatly between households with the average wealth for the wealthiest 20 per cent of households at $2.2 million, while the average wealth for households in the lowest 20 per cent was $31,000.

Interestingly these latest  figures (released last year) show that the level of wealth for Australian households hasn’t changed since 2009-10.

Wealth varied greatly across the states and territories.

The ACT had the highest level of wealth at $930,000 which was around 28 per cent higher than the Australian average.

Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and the Northern Territory all had levels of wealth close to the Australian average.

South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania had levels of wealth less than the Australian average, with Tasmanian households having the lowest level of average wealth at around $600,000.

Household wealth was more concentrated in capital cities, where the average net worth of households was $781,000 compared to $637,000 outside of capital city areas.

Looking at their Superannuation balance the average super balance for men was $82,000 and women  only had a balance of 44,000.

The Distribution Of Wealth

While the mean household net worth of all households in Australia in 2011-12 was $728,000, the median (i.e. the mid-point when all households are ranked in ascending order of net worth) was substantially lower at $434,000.

This difference reflects the asymmetric distribution of wealth between households, where a relatively small number of households had high net worth and a relatively large number of households had low net worth, as illustrated in the following  graph:

Wealth

What this shows is that over 1.2 million households (14%) had net worth less than $50,000, with 114,000 of these households having negative net worth (1% of all households).

By the way…

When you dig deeper into the stats you’ll find that 1 in 10 households has a net worth exceeding $1.6 million, and 1% of households have wealth above $5 million. 

Property is the way to go!

Owner occupied homes were the largest asset held by Australians and the mortgages on owner occupied property was also the largest liability.

Over two-thirds of Australian households own their own home outright or with a mortgage.

Households that owned their home outright (2.7 million households) had an average net worth of $1,237,000. Households with a mortgage on their home (3.1 million households) had an average net worth of $790,000, and the average net worth for households that rent their home was $160,000.

The ABS Survey of Income and Housing showed that in 2011-12, superannuation was the main financial asset held by households, with 80 per cent of all households having some superannuation assets. The average value of superannuation for Australian households was $132,000.

More information can be found in Household Wealth and Wealth Distribution, Australia, 2010-12 



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About

Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and his opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit Metropole.com.au


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