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1380.0.55.003 - Perspectives on Regional Australia: Household Expenditure throughout Australia, 2003-04  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/07/2006  First Issue
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INTRODUCTION
KEY POINTS
OVERVIEW
HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE ON TOTAL GOODS AND SERVICES
HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE BY SELECTED BROAD EXPENDITURE GROUP

Current housing costs
Domestic fuel and power
Food and non-alcoholic beverages
Alcoholic beverages
Tobacco products
Medical care and health expenses
Transport
Recreation


INTRODUCTION

This publication presents a regional perspective on average weekly household expenditure on goods and services from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Household Expenditure Survey (HES) 2003-04. This contributes towards the information need, detailed in the ABS Information Development Plan for regional statistics:


"(4) Improve the availability of data on regional economic wellbeing, by investigating opportunities for further development of estimates of income, including:
- personal and household income and expenses
- reliance on income support
- economic wellbeing of farm families, including the contribution to income of off-farm work."


This and other high priority regional research information needs are detailed in 'Information Paper: Regional Research in Australia - the Statistical Dimension: an Information Development Plan for Rural and Regional Statistics, 2005' (cat. no. 1362.0).

The 2003-04 HES was conducted for the period July 2003 to June 2004, and collected information on the income, expenditure, net worth and other characteristics of households resident in private dwellings throughout Australia. For further information on the HES refer to the Explanatory Notes available through the 'Explanatory Notes' tab on the ABS product page for this publication.

The regional dimension in this publication is based on the Section of State (SOS) structure outlined within the Australian Standard Geographical Classification, Volume 1, 2001 (cat. no. 1216.0) which uses population counts from the 2001 Census of Population and Housing to classify Census Collection Districts (the smallest spatial unit in the Australian Standard Geographical Classification). This structure has been designed to provide an alternative geographic classification for the dissemination of statistics to enable comparisons across areas of Australia. Aggregated non-contiguous geographical areas are classified as Urban or Rural according to the population of these areas as follows:

Major Urban Urban areas with populations of 100,000 persons or more.
Other UrbanUrban areas with populations of 1,000 to 99,999 persons.
Bounded LocalityRural areas with populations of 200 to 999 persons.
Rural Balance The remainder of the state/territory.
MigratoryAreas comprised of off-shore, shipping and migratory Collection Districts.

Note: The SOS structure covers all of Australia, but not all Sections of State are represented in each state/territory. Examples of inclusions in each Section of State are provided in the Explanatory Notes available through the 'Explanatory Notes' tab on the ABS product page for this publication.

Off-shore, shipping and migratory Collection Districts are not spatial units in the usual sense. They are designed to facilitate the recording of people on census night who are: off-shore on oil rigs, drilling platforms and other structures; on board vessels in and between Australian ports; or are in transit on board long distance trains, buses and aircraft.

Analysis in this publication uses the Major Urban and Other Urban categories from the SOS structure, but combines the Bounded Locality and Rural Balance categories into a single category referred to as 'Rural areas'. Data for Migratory areas by state/territory are not available and are therefore not included in the analysis that follows.

Data for the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory Section of State categories have not been included in this publication due to the small sample sizes associated with these estimates.

The Household Expenditure Survey was designed to produce reliable estimates for broad aggregates for households resident in private dwellings aggregated for Australia, for each state and for the capital cities in each state and territory. The more detailed estimates included in this publication should be used with caution due to the higher Relative Standard Errors (RSEs) associated with the smaller sample sizes on which these estimates are based.

As the estimates in this publication are based on information obtained from the occupants of a sample of dwellings, the estimates are subject to sampling variability and may differ from the figures that would have been produced if information had been collected for all dwellings. The RSE is a measure of this likely difference. Estimates with RSEs of 25% or less are considered reliable for many purposes. Estimates with RSEs greater than 25% but less than or equal to 50% should be used with caution.

The data presented in this publication and the associated RSEs for these estimates are available through the 'Details' tab on the ABS product page for this publication.

KEY POINTS

In 2003-04:
  • In Urban Australia the three expenditure groups with the highest average weekly expenditure levels were (in ranked order): Current housing costs; Food and non-alcoholic beverages; and Transport. In contrast, Recreation was one of the three highest expenditure groups in Rural Australia, together with Transport and Food and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Rural households had the highest levels of expenditure on Transport in all states. Of the Rural households, those in Tasmania had the highest expenditure on Transport, accounting for nearly a quarter of total expenditure on goods and services by these households.
  • At the Australia level, as remoteness increased, so did the levels of average weekly household expenditure on Tobacco products. This is likely to be influenced by the higher proportion of males in the Other Urban and Rural areas, as results from the 2004-05 ABS National Health Survey showed that males are more likely than females to be smokers.
  • Households in Rural and Major Urban Tasmania and Other Urban Western Australia had the highest levels of average weekly expenditure on Alcoholic beverages. These households had average expenditure on Alcoholic beverages of around $30 a week.
  • Households in Rural Tasmania recorded the highest average weekly expenditure on both Alcoholic beverages and Tobacco products.
  • Households in Major Urban and Rural Australia tended to have higher average weekly expenditure on Medical care and health expenses than households in Other Urban Australia. This difference may be influenced by expenditure on private health insurance, as results from the 2004-05 ABS National Health Survey showed the incidence of private health insurance (which forms part of this expenditure category) was also higher in Major Urban and Rural areas.
  • While at the Australia level there was very little difference in the average weekly household expenditure on Domestic fuel and power across the Section of State categories, this was not the case when looking at expenditure by state. Rural households in Victoria and South Australia, for example, recorded much higher average expenditure on Domestic fuel and power than those households in the Urban areas of these states.
  • Households in Major Urban Australia had the highest average weekly expenditure on goods and services and households in Other Urban Australia had the lowest. This pattern was reflected at the state level for all states with the exception of Queensland and Western Australia. In Queensland, households in Other Urban areas had the highest expenditure on goods and services and households in Rural areas had the lowest. In Western Australia, Major Urban households had the highest expenditure followed by households in Other Urban areas with households in Rural areas having the lowest expenditure.


OVERVIEW

In Australia in 2003-04, average weekly household expenditure on goods and services varied between Urban and Rural areas. Households in Major Urban areas had the highest average weekly expenditure on goods and services at $930, followed by households in Rural areas ($851). Households in Other Urban areas had the lowest average weekly expenditure on goods and services at $809.

The following graph illustrates the breakdowns of these average values by broad expenditure group by Section of State.


AVERAGE WEEKLY HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE BY BROAD EXPENDITURE GROUP,
by Section of State, Australia, 2003-04

Graph: Average weekly household expenditure by broad expenditure group by section of state, 2003-04
Source: Household Expenditure Survey, 2003-04, data available on request.

While average weekly expenditure on all goods and services varied, there were a number of broad expenditure groups for which households in Urban and Rural areas had relatively similar levels of average weekly expenditure. This was the case with expenditure on Domestic fuel and power, Alcoholic beverages, Tobacco products and Household furnishings and equipment. On average, household weekly expenditure on Domestic fuel and power was around $24, on Alcoholic beverages around $23, on Tobacco products around $12 and on Household furnishings and equipment around $52.

The broad expenditure groups with the biggest difference between the Urban and Rural areas were Current housing costs, Transport, Miscellaneous goods and services, Food and non-alcoholic beverages and Recreation. These were also the groups that accounted for the largest proportions of total expenditure. Across all Sections of State, expenditure on these five groups accounted for around 70% of total household expenditure on goods and services.

While these groups accounted for the largest proportions of total expenditure in each Section of State, their relative importance varied across the different regions. As seen in the following table, the relative importance of Current housing costs tended to decrease as remoteness increased with this broad expenditure group accounting for the highest proportion of total household expenditure in Major Urban areas, but decreasing to the third highest expenditure group for households in Other Urban areas and the fourth highest for households in Rural areas. In contrast, the relative importance of Transport increased as remoteness increased with Transport accounting for the highest proportion of total expenditure in Rural households, falling to the second highest in Other Urban households and third highest in Major Urban households.


TOP FIVE BROAD EXPENDITURE GROUPS RANKED BY LEVELS OF HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE, by Section of State, Australia, 2003-04

Broad Expenditure Group
Major Urban
Other Urban
Rural
Current housing costs
1
3
4
Food and non-alcoholic beverages
2
1
2
Transport
3
2
1
Recreation
4
4
3
Misc. goods and services
5
5
5
Source: Household Expenditure Survey, 2003-04, data available on request.

While in both Major Urban and Other Urban households the three highest expenditure groups were Current housing costs, Food and non-alcoholic beverages and Transport, this was not the case in Rural households. In Rural areas, Recreation accounted for the third highest level of household expenditure following Transport and Food and non-alcoholic beverages with Current housing costs the fourth highest expenditure group.

Note: Graphs illustrating expenditure and proportions of expenditure by broad expenditure group by Section of State for New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania are available in 'Appendix - State graphs'.


HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE ON TOTAL GOODS AND SERVICES

'Total goods and services' expenditure includes expenditure on goods and services such as current housing costs, domestic fuel and power, food, beverages, tobacco products, clothing, footwear, household furnishings and equipment, household services and operation, medical care, health expenses, transport and recreation.

Levels of household expenditure vary between states and the areas within, influenced by household characteristics such as income, wealth, household size, household composition and location. In 2003-04, households in Major Urban areas generally had the highest levels of average weekly expenditure on goods and services with households in Major Urban New South Wales having the highest average weekly expenditure at $1,005.

Of the Major Urban areas, Queensland had the lowest average weekly expenditure on goods and services at $830. Queensland was the only state where households in Other Urban areas had higher expenditure than households in Major Urban areas ($840 compared with $830 respectively). This difference may be influenced by the greater distribution of Queensland's population within the state. Queensland also had the smallest difference in average household expenditure levels between the Section of State areas.

Households in Tasmanian Other Urban areas had the lowest average weekly household expenditure levels in Australia at $634. This was well below the Australian Other Urban area household average of $809. The expenditure groups driving this difference were Transport, with average weekly expenditure in Other Urban Tasmania households $48 lower than the Australian Other Urban average, expenditure on Food and non-alcoholic beverages ($28 lower), and Current housing costs ($24 lower). In Tasmania in 2003-04, the difference between expenditure on total goods and services by households in Major Urban and Other Urban areas was the greatest of any state at $274 per week.


AVERAGE WEEKLY HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE ON TOTAL GOODS AND SERVICES,
by Section of State, by state, 2003-04

Graph: Average weekly household expenditure on total goods and services, by section of state but state, 2003-04
Source: Household Expenditure Survey, 2003-04, data available on request.


HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE BY SELECTED BROAD EXPENDITURE GROUP


CURRENT HOUSING COSTS

The expenditure group 'Current housing costs' includes expenditure on goods and services such as rent payments, rate payments, house and contents insurance, mortgage interest payments and the cost of repairs and maintenance on the dwelling.

Note: The "principal" components of mortgage repayments are not included in 'Current housing costs' as they are considered to be an investment.

In 2003-04, households in Major Urban areas in all states had the highest average weekly expenditure on Current housing costs, with households in Major Urban New South Wales having the highest expenditure at $189 on average per week. Of the Major Urban areas, households in Tasmania had the lowest average weekly expenditure on housing costs at $119. The Australian Major Urban average was $161.

In Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales, households in Other Urban areas and Rural areas had similar levels of expenditure on Current housing costs within each state. The difference in average weekly expenditure on Current housing costs between the Other Urban and Rural areas in each of these states was less than $5 a week. In contrast, households in Western Australian Other Urban areas and Rural areas had the largest difference in average weekly expenditure on Current housing costs of around $60.

All Sections of State in Tasmania and South Australia recorded levels of average weekly expenditure on Current housing costs that were lower than the respective averages at the all Australia level.


AVERAGE WEEKLY HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE ON CURRENT HOUSING COSTS,
by Section of State, by state, 2003-04

Graph: Average weekly household expenditure on current housing costs by section of state by state, 2003-04
Source: Household Expenditure Survey, 2003-04, data available on request.

DOMESTIC FUEL AND POWER

The expenditure group 'Domestic fuel and power' includes expenditure on electricity, gas, heating oil and wood.

While at the Australia level there was very little difference in the average weekly household expenditure on Domestic fuel and power across the Section of State categories, this was not the case when looking at expenditure by state. Rural households in Victoria and South Australia, for example, recorded much higher average expenditure on Domestic fuel and power than those households in the Urban areas of these states.

Throughout Australia, households in Rural Victoria and Rural South Australia had the highest average expenditure on Domestic fuel and power, at $33 and $32 per week respectively, well above the Australian Rural average of $26. Households in Major Urban and Other Urban areas of these states also had expenditure levels amongst the highest in the country.

In contrast, the lowest average weekly expenditure on Domestic fuel and power was by households throughout Queensland. Major Urban households in Queensland had the lowest average weekly expenditure on Domestic fuel and power at $17, followed by households in Rural areas ($19) and households in Other Urban areas ($19).

Households in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia had levels of average expenditure on Domestic fuel and power of $25 a week or less. In contrast, households in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania had average expenditure levels of more than $25 a week.


AVERAGE WEEKLY HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE ON DOMESTIC FUEL AND POWER,
by Section of State, by state, 2003-04

Graph: Average weekly household expenditure on domestic fuel and power by section of state by state, 2003-04
Source: Household Expenditure Survey, 2003-04, data available on request.

FOOD AND NON-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

The expenditure group 'Food and non-alcoholic beverages' includes expenditure on goods and services such as meat, fruit and vegetables, bakery products, meals out and fast foods, fruit juice and soft drinks.

Households in Major Urban New South Wales had the highest average weekly expenditure of any region on Food and non-alcoholic beverages at $173, followed by households in Major Urban Victoria ($162) and Major Urban Tasmania ($153).

In the geographically larger states of Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, expenditure on Food and non-alcoholic beverages was highest by households in Rural areas. This may be influenced by higher transportation and storage costs involved in supplying food and non-alcoholic beverages to these areas.

Average weekly expenditure on Food and non-alcoholic beverages was generally lowest in Other Urban areas throughout Australia. Households in Other Urban Tasmania had the lowest average weekly expenditure at $112, well below the Australian Other Urban average expenditure of $140 per week.


AVERAGE WEEKLY HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE ON FOOD AND NON-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES,
by Section of State, by state, 2003-04

Graph: Average weekly household expenditure on Food and non-alcoholic beverages, by Section of State, by state, 2003-04
Source: Household Expenditure Survey, 2003-04, data available on request.

ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES
The expenditure group 'Alcoholic beverages' includes expenditure on goods such as beer, wine and spirits.

Tasmanian Rural and Major Urban households and Western Australian Other Urban households recorded the highest average weekly expenditure on Alcoholic beverages in 2003-04. At the other end of the scale, Rural households in New South Wales and South Australia recorded averages over 40% lower than that of their Rural Tasmanian counterparts.

Households in all Western Australian Sections of State recorded higher levels of average expenditure on Alcoholic beverages than the respective averages at the all Australia level. Interestingly, the opposite situation was evident for Queensland and South Australia.

The greatest difference in expenditure between the different Sections of State was seen in Tasmania, with households in Major Urban and Rural Tasmania both having average weekly expenditure of around $32 compared to households in Other Urban Tasmania at $20 on average per week.


AVERAGE WEEKLY HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE ON ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES,
by Section of State, by state, 2003-04

Graph: Average weekly expenditure on Alcoholic beverages by section of state by state, 2003-04
Source: Household Expenditure Survey, 2003-04, data available on request.

TOBACCO PRODUCTS

The expenditure group 'Tobacco products' includes expenditure on goods such as cigarettes, cigars and tobacco.

As was the case with average expenditure on Alcoholic beverages, Tasmania's Rural households recorded the highest average expenditure on Tobacco products. Households in Other Urban Western Australia had the next highest average weekly expenditure on Tobacco products, and like Tasmanian Rural households, also had one of the highest levels of average weekly expenditure on Alcoholic beverages.

The relatively higher proportion of males living in outer Urban and Rural Australia may have influenced the higher levels of expenditure on Tobacco products in these areas, as results from the 2004-05 ABS National Health Survey found that males are more likely than females to be smokers.

Households in Major Urban areas generally had the lowest average weekly expenditure on Tobacco products, although this was not the case in South Australia and Victoria. In these two states, households in Other Urban areas had the lowest expenditure on this category.

Interestingly, South Australia was the only state where households in Major Urban areas had the highest average weekly expenditure estimate on Tobacco.


AVERAGE WEEKLY HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE ON TOBACCO PRODUCTS,
by Section of State, by state, 2003-04

Graph: Average weekly household expenditure on Tobacco products, by section of state by state, 2003-04
Source: Household Expenditure Survey, 2003-04, data available on request.

Note: The estimates of average weekly household expenditure on Tobacco products for households in Rural South Australia and Rural Tasmania have Relative Standard Errors (RSEs) above 25% at 25.6% and 28.1% respectively, and should be used with caution. RSEs for the other estimates are available through the 'Details' tab on the ABS product page for this publication.

MEDICAL CARE AND HEALTH EXPENSES

The expenditure group 'Medical care and health expenses' includes expenditure on goods and services such as accident and health insurance, medicines, pharmaceutical products and therapeutic appliances and health practitioner's fees.

One of the factors influencing average weekly expenditure on Medical care and health expenses is the level of private health cover in an area. Results from the National Health Survey indicated that residents of Major Urban and Rural areas were more likely to have private health cover than residents of Other Urban areas. Across Australia, in 2004-05, 53.8% of Major Urban area residents and 48.7% of Rural area residents aged 15 years and over had private health insurance. In contrast, 42.1% of Other Urban residents had private health insurance.

In the twelve months to June 2004, households in Other Urban Tasmania had the lowest average weekly expenditure on Medical care and health expenses, followed by households in Other Urban South Australia and Other Urban Victoria. In contrast, the highest average weekly expenditure on Medical care and health expenses was by households in New South Wales Rural and Major Urban areas.


AVERAGE WEEKLY HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE ON MEDICAL CARE AND HEALTH EXPENSES,
by Section of State, by state, 2003-04

Graph: Average weekly household expenditure on medical care and health expenses, by section of state, by state, 2003-04
Source: Household Expenditure Survey, 2003-04, data available on request.

TRANSPORT

The expenditure group 'Transport' includes expenditure on goods and services such as motor vehicle purchases, other vehicle purchases, public transport fares, motor vehicle fuel, lubricant and additives and vehicle registration and insurance.

Average weekly household expenditure on Transport is influenced by a number of factors, including household proximity to shops, schools and services, the availability of public transport and the cost of fuel. Reflecting these factors, households in Rural areas typically had the highest average weekly expenditure on Transport and households in Major Urban and Other Urban areas generally had the lowest average weekly expenditure on Transport.

In 2003-04, expenditure on Transport was highest by households in Rural Tasmania at $181 on average per week, with this expenditure accounting for nearly a quarter of total average weekly expenditure for these households. Rural Western Australian households had the next highest average weekly expenditure on Transport at $177.

The level of expenditure on Transport, relative to expenditure on other broad groups, tended to increase outside of the Urban areas. In Other Urban areas, expenditure on Transport was typically the second highest expenditure group, following expenditure on Food and non-alcoholic beverages, and in Major Urban areas, average weekly expenditure on Transport was generally the third highest broad expenditure group, following expenditure on Current housing costs and Food and non-alcoholic beverages.


AVERAGE WEEKLY HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE ON TRANSPORT,
by Section of State, by state, 2003-04

Graph: Average weekly household expenditure on transport, by section of state, by state, 2003-04
Source: Household Expenditure Survey, 2003-04, data available on request.

RECREATION

The expenditure group 'Recreation' includes expenditure on goods and services such as audio-visual equipment and parts, home computer equipment, books and magazines, sports fees and charges, cultural fees and charges and overseas and local holidays.

In Rural areas, expenditure on Recreation was the third highest expenditure group after Transport and Food and non-alcoholic beverages. This may have been influenced by the relatively lower housing costs in these areas. In contrast, in the Major Urban and Other Urban areas, Recreation was typically the fourth highest average weekly expenditure group, following expenditure on Current housing costs, Food and non-alcoholic beverages and Transport.

In New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, households in Major Urban areas had the highest average weekly expenditure on Recreation. Of these areas, households in New South Wales had the highest expenditure on Recreation at $130 on average per week, followed by households in Victoria ($125) and Tasmania ($119). In Queensland and Western Australia expenditure on Recreation was highest by households in Other Urban areas.

In Tasmania, there was the greatest difference between the levels of expenditure on Recreation by households in the different Sections of State. Households in Rural areas had the lowest average weekly expenditure on Recreation at $81 whereas expenditure on recreation by households in Major Urban Tasmania was $119, a difference of $38 a week. Households in New South Wales Major Urban and Other Urban areas had the next greatest difference, with average expenditure on Recreation $130 a week in Major Urban areas compared to $97 a week in Other Urban areas, a difference of $33. In contrast, households in Western Australia and households in South Australia had the smallest difference in expenditure on Recreation, with the greatest difference between the Sections of State within each state around $13 a week.


AVERAGE WEEKLY HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE ON RECREATION,
by Section of State, by state, 2003-04

Graph: Average weekly household expenditure on recreation, by Section of State, by state, 2003-04
Source: Household Expenditure Survey, 2003-04, data available on request.


Note: Expenditure groups not included in this publication include: Personal care, Household furnishings and equipment, Household services and operation and Clothing and footwear. Data for these expenditure groups are available in the 'Details' tab on the ABS product page for this publication.

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