6530.0 - Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: Summary of Results, 2015-16 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/09/2017   
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SPENDING AROUND THE COUNTRY


STATE AND TERRITORY COMPARISONS

Household spending varies across Australian states and territories. In 2015-16, households in the Northern Territory (excluding those in very remote areas) and the Australian Capital Territory reported the highest average weekly spending on goods and services, at $1,700 and $1,670 respectively. In contrast, households in Tasmania and South Australia reported the lowest weekly household spending, at $1,141 and $1,192 respectively.

Income is the main economic resource households use to support their spending on goods and services such as food, clothing, housing and leisure activities. Disposable income is the remaining income after taxes are deducted, which is available to support consumption and/or saving. Differences in household spending reflect similar income profiles across the states and territories. Considering average weekly spending as a proportion of disposable income, Tasmanian households spent the highest proportion of their disposable income on goods and services per week (88%), while households in Western Australian spent the lowest (79%).

Households may draw on their reserves of wealth to support their current and future spending, therefore some of the differences in household spending may relate to the net wealth of households. Households in Tasmania had the lowest average net worth ($549,800). Households in New South Wales typically had the highest net worth ($1,091,200), followed by Victoria ($868,600) and Western Australia ($841,600).

Graph 1 - AVERAGE WEEKLY HOUSEHOLD DISPOSABLE INCOME AND SPENDING ON GOODS AND SERVICES, States and territories, 2015-16
Graph - Average weekly household disposable income and spending on goods and services by state and territory in 2015-16
Footnote(s): (a) Households in areas defined as very remote were excluded, accounting for about 22% of the population in the NT
Source(s): Household Expenditure Survey, 2015-16


CAPITAL CITY AND BALANCE OF STATE

The average Australian household living in a greater capital city area spent $321 more per week on goods and services than households in non-capital city areas, $1,537 as opposed to $1,216. Households in capital city areas spent more than other households across 13 of the 15 broad spending categories. In dollar terms, the largest differences in spending by capital cities were for current housing costs ($75 more per week), food and non-alcoholic beverages ($52 more per week), recreation ($41 more per week) and education ($33 more per week).

The demographic characteristics of non-capital city areas might help explain some of this difference in average expenditure. Compared with households in greater capital city areas, households in non-capital city areas tended to have slightly older household reference persons (53 years versus 51 years) and have fewer persons aged between 18 and 64 years (1.5 versus 1.7). Households in non-capital city areas were also:
  • less likely to be renter households (28% versus 31%)
  • less likely to have employee income as their main source of income (55% versus 65%)
  • more likely to have government pensions and allowances as their main source of income (30% versus 21%)
  • more likely to have no persons in the labour force (31% versus 23%)
  • less likely to be couple families with dependent children (25% versus 29%)
  • more likely to be either couple only (29% versus 24%) or lone person households (27% versus 23%)


Graph 2 - AVERAGE WEEKLY HOUSEHOLD SPENDING ON GOODS AND SERVICES, by Greater Capital City/Rest of State, 2015-16
Graph - Average weekly household spending on goods and services by Greater Capital City or Rest of state area in 2015-16
Footnote(s): (a) Capital city estimates for the ACT relate to total ACT (b) Households in SA1s defined as Very Remote were excluded, accounting for about 22% of the population of NT
Source(s): Household Expenditure Survey, 2015-16


The difference between capital city areas and rest of state spending was greatest in New South Wales, with households in Sydney and surrounds spending on average $478 more per week than households in other parts of New South Wales. Higher spending in capital city areas was also seen in South Australia ($354 more), Victoria ($326 more), and Tasmania ($262 more).

Considering spending relative to income, Tasmanian households in rest of state areas spent the highest proportion of their average disposable income on goods and services per week (88%), whilst households in South Australian rest of state areas spent the lowest (77%). The difference in the proportion spent between greater capital city and rest of state areas was largest in South Australia, with households in the greater Adelaide area spending 6% more of their disposable income on goods and services than their rest of state counterparts.

With an average net worth of $1.3 million, households in greater Sydney had the highest net worth of any capital city, significantly above the national average $892,000. The greatest differences in the net wealth of households in capital city areas compared to the remainder of their state were seen in New South Wales and Victoria. Households in the greater Sydney area had an average net worth $574,500 higher than households in the rest of New South Wales ($737,300). Similarly, households in greater Melbourne had an average net worth $311,100 higher than those in the remainder of Victoria ($639,200).

The capital city areas where households had the lowest net worth included South Australia ($666,200) and Tasmania ($638,500). Tasmanian households in rest of state areas also had the lowest net worth out of all states and territories ($495,400).