It’s one of the hardest questions to answer and often people judge their wealth by comparing themselves to others around them.
But new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shed some light on how much Australians are really earning and how your income compares to others.
According to the 2017-18 Survey of Income and Housing, Australian households that earned $4275 a week (before tax) were in the 90th percentile, which means they are in the top 10 per cent of income earners in the country.
In NSW you need to earn $4493 to be in the top 10 per cent of earners and in Victoria you need $4097.
Average household wealth also passed the $1 million mark in 2017/18, a rise of 37 per cent compared to just over a decade ago.
ABS chief economist Bruce Hockman said average household wealth in 2017/18 was $1.02 million compared to nearly $749,000 in 2005/06.
Household wealth continues to grow thanks to rising property prices and superannuation is also increasingly a factor, as the average household super balance has nearly doubled over the past 12 years.
It seems Australia’s richest households have been getting richer over the past decade while middle and low-income earners have barely seen an increase their earnings.
The wealthiest 20 per cent now control 60 per cent of all household wealth.
In the four years leading up to the global financial crisis, average household weekly incomes grew by $220 in real terms.
In the 10 years since then they have only increased an average of $44 a week.
Households earned an average of $798 in 2004, this jumped to $1018 by 2008, but a decade on they’ve only increased to $1062.
“For low income households there has been an increase of $28 in average weekly household income over the past decade, while for high income households there was an increase of $57,” Mr Hockman said.
The middle 20 per cent held 11 per cent of all household wealth, averaging $564,500 per household in 2017/18.
The lowest 20 per cent controlled less than one per cent of all household wealth, with average wealth currently at $35,200 — less than $1000 higher than where it was in 2003/04.
“The wealth which is generated by working people in Australia should benefit all Australians, not be concentrated more and more in the hands of the wealthy few,” Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus said.
“Disposable income has only increased a measly $44 over the past decade — working people simply have no money to spend.”
Rising property prices are the main contributor to the increase in household wealth. From 2015/16, average property values rose by almost 5 per cent across two years from $649,800 to $680,900 in 2017/18.
“While ABS data has shown that there is a recent downturn in the property market, over the longer term there has been sustained growth (of) 37 per cent since 2005/06,” Mr Hockman said on Friday.
“Over the same time, the average household superannuation balance has almost doubled from $112,500 in 2005/06 to $213,700 in 2017/18.” But income growth has been weak.
Close to three in four (73 per cent) households were also in debt in 2017—18.
Of these households, 28 per cent were servicing a total debt that was three or more times their annualised disposable income. Similar levels of debt were reported in 2015—16 (74 per cent and 27 per cent respectively).
The ABS calculates household net worth by balancing land, vehicles, businesses, savings and superannuation, with mortgages, investment loans, and credit card and other forms of debt.