by Alan Thornhill
The gap between the rich and the poor in Australia is widening.
This is shown in figures published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The Bureau used a range of figures to explain this situation.
It notes for example that the richest 20 per cent of Australian families saw their net worth rise by 15 per cent in the four years to 2009-10.
However the bureau’s latest Household Wealth and Wealth Distribution report also shows that the poorest 20 per cent had to make do with just a 4 per cent rise over the same time.
The Bureau also had much to say about life in the poorest 20 per cent sector.
It reported, for example, that missing out is a common experience for the poor.
The Bureau calls these people “low economic resource households.”
That is families with both low income and low assets.
It said almost 70 per cent of these families reported that they had missed out on one or more common pleasures over the past year.
They had not been able to take a week’s holiday, in that time, or have an outing, at least once a fortnight.
That missing out rate was twice as high as that of the general population.
Who, though, is missing out this way?
“One parent families, with dependent children, are significantly over-represented in all of the low resource groups, compared with the population as a whole,” the Bureau reported.
The poor don’t eat as well as the rest of us, either.
As a group, they spent just $89 a week on food and non-alcoholic drink,” the Bureau said.
That compares with a broad community spend of $122 a week.
The Bureau also that poor families spend an average of just $16 a week on clothes and shoes.
That compares with an average of $27 a week, for the community as a whole.
Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.
Saturday May 25
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