Here's what people earn across Australia

The Wolf of Wall Street / Paramount Pictures via IMDb
  • In the 2015-16 financial year, the median personal income in Australia was $47,692.
  • Western Australia had four of the top five local government areas with the highest median incomes during that year.
  • The ACT has the highest median income in Australia. Tasmania has the lowest.

If you’ve ever wondered what people earn across Australia, look no further.

Thanks to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), with a bit of help from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), we now know.

In the 2015-16 financial year — the latest data available — the median personal income in Australia was $47,692, an increase of 1.8% from the previous year.

The median is the middle income earner in Australia – 50% are lower and 50% higher.

The modest increase reflects soft wage growth and fewer hours being worked, on average, by individual Australians.

However, while the median national income level sits at just $48,000, as seen in the map below supplied by the ABS, the median level varies significantly across the country.


As it was the 2014-15 financial year, Ashburton in Western Australia had the highest median personal income across the country at $100,665.

This was the highest of 544 local government areas, and more than $10,000 above Peppermint Grove, also in Western Australia, which had the second highest median income.

“Western Australia had four of the top five local government areas with the highest median income,” said Bjorn Jarvis, ABS Head of Labour statistics.

“However, despite four of the five highest median income regions being in Western Australia, it was also the only state to experience a decrease in the overall median income.

“These figures are important to understanding changes in income in Western Australia, following the mining boom.”

The decline in the median income in these levels reflects slower wage growth and declining employment in Australia’s mining sector following the completion of several large-scale projects.

While parts of Western Australia dominated the list of highest median incomes nationwide, from a broader perspective, the ABS said the ACT had the highest median income of all states and territories at $63,084.

The Northern Territory was in second spot with a median income of $59,466, followed by Western Australia at $52,504.

Tasmania, at $43,833, had the lowest median income level in Australia over the year.

This table from the ABS breaks down that list further, looking at median income levels by state capital and regional areas. As an entire nation, the total personal income of the 13.4 million persons who submitted a tax return in the 2015-16 financial year was $827.9 billion

It also shows the income share earned by the top 1%, 5% and 10% of earners in each location, as well as the Gini coefficient, a measure of income equality.

The higher the number, the less equal income equality is deemed to be.


The ABS said employee income continued to make the highest contribution to total personal income at 77%.

Other sources were derived from unincorporated business income, investment returns and superannuation.

While the data provides a comprehensive set of indicators as to what’s happening with income levels across Australia, it should be noted that not all income earners are represented because they did not submit a tax return.

“This coverage gap is likely to include many individuals who earned below the tax-free threshold and many Government benefit recipients, therefore providing an incomplete picture of low income earners,” the ABS said.

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