Australian households are stuck in a rut, and young people are confronting the double-whammy of stagnating incomes and surging home prices, ABC News reports.
Those are the key financial concerns that arise out of Australia’s most comprehensive household survey.
Known as HILDA — the survey of Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia — it has been tracking the economic and social situation of more than 17,000 people since 2001.
The key concern in the latest HILDA report is an alarming, persistent income stagnation.
“Household incomes have stopped growing — since 2012 we’ve actually had a slight decline in average household income,” said the report’s author, Professor Roger Wilkins from the Melbourne Institute.
Earnings inequality also increased, there has been a marked shift to part-time work and underemployment has surged.
But Professor Wilkins said inequality had remained relatively steady despite those forces, due to progressive taxation and more low income people gaining employment.
“Since the GFC that hasn’t translated into increased inequality in incomes and that’s very much because we’ve done a very good job of keeping employment-to-population rates quite high,” he observed.
“We saw a rise in wealth inequality up to the GFC, but since the GFC there’s been very little change in measures of wealth inequality.”
However, while the gap between the rich and poor has not widened markedly in recent times, Professor Wilkins said the same cannot be said of the old and young.
“One of the more concerning trends is a growing wealth divide by age group,” he said.
“The difference in wealth between the older generations and the younger generations has been growing over time.
“It’s very much connected to what’s going on in the housing market.”