Talk:Median household income in Australia and New Zealand

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Opinions of growth such as "good" "satisfactory" or "disappointing" are subjective and reduce the quality of Wikipedia by obviously portraying opinions as fact. They are also original research and probably a simple attempt to persuade others to adopt the standards of an anonymous uncredited author. Unless someone wants to CITE respected sources and make clear that these are opinions, I'd like to remove these comments and leave in only refereanceable facts. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:16, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Notes for contributors[edit]

This article has been structured with the audience in mind:

  • Most people visiting the page will be casual readers who just want a simple overview, whereas most of writers will be really into technical details. A casual reader may lose interest if they have to read through volumes of technical information just to get to the basic facts. Please put the basic facts at the beginning of the article and the really technical sections at the end. If appropiate, place a single sentence summary of your information in the highlights section.
  • Many of the readers will be from Australia and New Zealand (24 million population). However the english version of wikipedia also many readers from the United States (300 million population), so comparisons with the United States may be of interest to them.
  • Please avoid criticising or insulting other countries. If data from another country looks bad then take the time to give a balanced view of their situation.

Badenoch 19:50, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

Mistake in Graph and PPP[edit]

Your graph and text comparing US and Aussie household income is misleading because apparently the methodology has changed to the extent that household income in Australia is more exhaustive now compared to 2000. So incomes before 2003 are underestimated. Also, it includes noncash payments, which are not included in the US estimate.

Also, your choice of PPPs is not quite correct. It makes sense to use PPPs for Private Consumption, since this is household income, and is based on what people can buy with their own money. PPP for Actual Indv. Consumption is based on that plus what govenment spends for personal services, which has nothing to do with what households spend. In any case, OECD agrees with me, and so does this organization (LIS). Please see chapter 3:



Deletion is not warranted. Firstly your point about the change in methodology was previously noted and already declared in the graph. Secondly, median household income is a gross income which includes tax spending. This allows comparisons between regions with different tax systems, regardless of whether people receive services (e.g. Health) directly or indirectly through government spending. This means that PPP for actual individual consumption is more accurate, though not perfect.

Motivation. lneal001 your motivation appears to avoid comparisons with the United States. However Wikipedias English readership is dominated by Americans, and international comparisons (such as PPP) use the United States as standard for comparison. I understand that Americans are anxious about their lack of income growth and I can sympathize. I remember when my own country (NZ) got badly off track during the 70's and 80's. Comparisons with other countries helped motivate us to reform and set things right. Clearly American voters are not yet motivated. American men haven't had a real pay increase in 36 years [[1]] and still they avoid reform. If the graph made you angry, this was not my intention, but please use your anger to push for reform.

--Badenoch (talk) 00:42, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Actually, I am the only one on wikipedia who has put a comparable template on household income (see International Ranking Of Household Income), using harmonised files from LIS. I have made various lists with the US in it. My list is not yet complete, and more will be added. The good thing about using LIS is that it is after taxes and is made for comparability. I hope you eventually realize that this is the best type of household income data rather than these rediculous graphs of household income from different years, breaks in series, etc.

Your PPP explanation does not make sense, but in any case, I have spoken extensively with OECD, LIS, World Bank, and all say that PPP's for private consumption are the ones to use for personal income comparisons. And if you do not change the calculations, I will.

American men have not had a raise in real terms because women have had very large increases. Overall household income is much higher vs the 70's. In Germany, avg household income has declined since 1991. In the US, at least both mean and median have gone up since then!

Lastly, please note that the Aus figures include noncash income which is NOT included in the US figures. Also realize that there were also changes in 2002-2003 that resulted in more exhaustiveness. If you look at real wages, they grew 3x less than real household income during the period, despite the fact that it represents 70% of household income. What does that tell you? It tells us that much of the increase was due to methodological reasons, which makes the graph misleading. There was still real income growth, but 30% is stretching it when wages (70%) of the aggregate increased much less.

Here is more evidence:$File/65230_detailed_tables_2007-08.xls

Can you explain to me how median Australian income went from $38,000 to $48,000 in one year?! The above link supports $38,000, while you say it's $48,000. Until you explain this to me, this disqualifies the graph, because such an increase in one year is methological, not real.$File/65230_detailed_tables_2007-08.xls

The above says in table 1.2 "(b) Estimates presented for 2007–08 are not directly comparable with estimates for previous cycles due to the improvements made to measuring income introduced in the 2007–08 cycle."

So now that we know it's not comparable, why would we use it in a line graph? Basically what it says is that Aus income was higher all along, and did not surge due only to real income growth.

P.S., I just spoke with Alan Heston, who is one of the pioneers of the PPP program, and he told me that PPPs for private consumption are better whether income is gross or net. To confirm, just email him at He is well known in this literature. Because of this and other confirmations (i.e. OECD, WB, Eurostat), I will now convert figures using PPP for private consumption, which as of 2007 was 1.46.


I don't know how to do this stuff, but there is data for NZ's median income for 2008 here - — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:35, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

I'm just starting to research Australian earnings, so I don't claim any expertise, but based on what I've found so far, the figures in the (local currency) column of the table look wrong, unless some part of your ppp weighting has already been applied, in which case the column heading should say so. The Australia figure is close to recent (Nov 2010) annualised average (mean) weekly earnings rather than median household income. I am also deeply suspicious of the NSW figure being the same as the national figure. ABS publication 6310.0 - Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia, Aug 2010 LATEST ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/05/2011, states "In August 2010, the median weekly earnings in main job for all employees was $870." That's the highest number I can find. That leads to an annualised figure of ~$45,240 - two-thirds of the number in your table. Co-incidentally, it looks like your ppp figures are about 2/3 of the local currency figures, so that would make the externally comparable number 29,490 not 44,820. Can I respectfully suggest that whoever is responsible for this page either clarify it, fix it, or take it away. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:28, 7 December 2011 (UTC)


How could the median income be so high when says the middle quintile earns $721 per week ≈ $37,500 per year?

Crasshopper (talk) 05:47, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

You are confusing a per capita figure and a per household figure. Greglocock (talk) 00:15, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Median household income in Australia and New Zealand/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

This needs a proper lead—the concept of a highlights sections is not envisaged in WP:MOS. Although it is interesting, its tone is unencyclopedic.--Grahame (talk) 14:25, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Last edited at 14:25, 21 May 2008 (UTC). Substituted at 23:35, 29 April 2016 (UTC)