Australian Median Income 2006 and 2010



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Comparing average or median incomes can often be a bit confusing, if we don’t know exactly what the figures actually represent. Causes of confusion can be down to specific areas.

An example of this is when looking at figures relating to Local Government Areas (LGA).
This can be explained very easily by comparing the populations of two or three of these LGA’s:

  • Sydney LGA has a population of 156,571 (2.4% of the NSW population)
  • Melbourne LGA has a population of 71,380 (1.4% of the VIC population)
  • Brisbane LGA has a population of 956,129 (24.5% of the QLD Population)

To compare Brisbane to either of those larger Cities, using the LGA figures could give nonsensical results, as the Brisbane LGA covers a very different area.

To get around this, I have calculated the following median wages for Australian capital cities, by using areas that have a similar population percentage in relation to the total population.

Median Weekly Incomes from the 2006 Australian Census.


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    Location Population Median Weekly
    Family Income
    Perth, WA 11,573 $1,837
    Sydney, NSW 156,571 $1,819
    Brisbane **, QLD 55,145 $1,796
    Adelaide, SA 16,660 $1,727
    Melbourne, Vic 71,380 $1,627
    Darwin, NT 66,291 $1,524
    Hobart, TAS 47,700 $1,380

** All the above used LGA’s, except Brisbane, which used the Brisbane Central SED, to try to get a closer comparison due to a different LGA calculation method in Brisbane.

LGA = Local Government Area 2006 census
SED = State Electoral Division 2006 census

Another comparison, using each Cities Urban Centre Locality is:

    Location Population Median Weekly
    Family Income
    Darwin, NT 66,291 $1,524.00
    Sydney, NSW 3,641,422 $1,386.00
    Perth, WA 1,256,035 $1,313.00
    Brisbane, QLD 1,676,389 $1,265.00
    Melbourne, Vic 3,371,888 $1,246.00
    Adelaide, SA 1,040,719 $1,133.00
    Hobart, TAS 128,577 $1,112.00

By comparing the above two sets of figures, you can see how easy it could be to misconstrue some of them.
eg:

Brisbane median family income of $1,265 compared to the Sydney median income of $1,819.
But these figures, even though they can both be found under the names Brisbane and Sydney, are not really comparable, one being for an Urban centre, and the other for a local government area.
ie: The Sydney figure is the median from a 156,000 population in the City centre, whilst the Brisbane figure is the median from a 1.67 million population in South East Queensland, not being just a City centre.

The following figures show the same as above but with an estimated 2010 Median Incomes.
The figures are calculated with the 2006 Census figures being increased by the same percentage that the ABS reported average wages have increased from 2006 to 2010.

Local Government Areas

    Location 2006 Population Est. 2010
    Family Median
    Weekly Income
    Perth, WA 11,573 $2,478
    Sydney, NSW 156,571 $2,066
    Brisbane **, QLD 55,145 $2,179
    Adelaide, SA 16,660 $2,029
    Melbourne, Vic 71,380 $1,931
    Darwin, NT 66,291 $1,905
    Hobart, TAS 47,700 $1,616

Urban Centre Locality

    Location 2006 Population Est. 2010
    Family Median
    Weekly Income
    Darwin, NT 66,291 $1,905
    Sydney, NSW 3,641,422 $1,574
    Perth, WA 1,256,035 $1,771
    Brisbane, QLD 1,676,389 $1,534
    Melbourne, Vic 3,371,888 $1,479
    Adelaide, SA 1,040,719 $1,331
    Hobart, TAS 128,577 $1,302

Average Wages

Changes in Male Full time average earnings are shown at the ABS in different spreadsheets for each State, and these have been grouped together for easy reading here. They show the May 2006 and May 2010 weekly average wages, with the percentage change in those 4 years.

QLD NSW Vic SA WA Tas NT ACT
May-2006 1112.10 1194.20 1132.20 1057.60 1199.20 979.70 1166.80 1265.30
May-2010 1390.30 1421.00 1370.00 1257.00 1566.90 1178.10 1406.30 1596.20
Change 25.0% 19.0% 21.0% 18.9% 30.7% 20.3% 20.5% 26.2%
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