CHARTS: Despite All The Talk About Saving More, Australians Are Still In World-Beating Levels Of Debt

Getty/Justin Sullivan

Despite a preference to paying down debt since the GFC hit, the amount of household debt in Australia per person is higher than at any time in the last 25 years. .

The level at the end of 2013 was $1.8 trillion, equivalent to $79,000 per person, according to the latest Australian Social Trends report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

David Skutenko, ABS Director of Social and Progress Reporting, said the relative size of household debt can be considered against the value of household assets and household income.

“Household debt has increased nearly twice as fast as the value of household assets over the last 25 years,” he says.

“However, the rate of increase in household debt per person in Australia has slowed since the Global Financial Crisis, from an average 10% per year between 2001 and 2007, to 2% per year between 2007 and 2013.”

Another aspect of household debt is the amount of interest which is paid on that debt.

“Although the amount paid by households in interest compared with household income is higher than at most other times in the last 50 years, it was lower than its highest point in 2008,” Mr Skutenko says.

We’re also not that good when compared to other developed countries.

For example, in 2012, Australia’s household debt level was equivalent to 1.73 times Australia’s 2012 gross disposable household income, whereas household debt in both Italy and Germany was less than a year’s worth of gross disposable household income (at 82% and 93% respectively).

As this chart demonstrates:

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