Income distribution stable: Top 1% haven’t had a pay rise in nearly a decade

There are lots of anecdotal references to the gap between the richest and poorest Australians widening, but the top 1% of Australian earners have not seen an increase in income for nearly a decade, according to tax data analysed by the Melbourne Institute at the University of Melbourne. In 2011-12 the income for the nation’s top 1% of earners was 7.7% of total income, staying relatively stable from 2006 levels where it was 7.8%. Based on taxation data, the analysis shows that the 180,000 Australians in the top 1% earned an average income of just under $400,000 per year. To be a member of this elite group, an individual required an income of at least $211,000.

“From the early 1980s to the early 2000s, there was a clear upward trend in the income share of the top 1%,” said Associate Professor Roger Wilkins, who produced these estimates.

“The available evidence shows that since 2006 there has been an end to this upward trend, or at the very least a significant pause in the growth.”

Associate Professor Roger Wilkins joined Mitchell’s Front Page to explain.

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