Age, income, wealth and inequality in Australia

Centre PersonnelHa Nguyen
External PersonnelHelen Hodgson, Alan Tapper, Alan Fenna
Project FundingBankwest Curtin Economics Centre
Project StatusComplete (March 2015 to April 2016)

Project Summary

It is generally understood that income and wealth are each related to age. Income generally peaks in mid-life and falls in later life. Wealth rises with age and levels off or falls in later life. The aim of this project is to identify whether there is an increase in inequality among older Australians as a result of the superannuation system; using both income and wealth as the basis for analysis.

The project examined income and wealth data from the ABS and HILDA surveys in relation to Australians over the age of 55 to identify changes in inequality between 2002 and 2014, and the effect that the current superannuation system has on inequality.

Our findings show that inequality among older Australians is a function of a number of factors, including superannuation, housing, the age pension and health expenditures. The evidence shows that superannuation currently has less effect on levels of inequality among older Australians than housing and the age pension.