Bulletin – March Quarter 2014 The Distribution of Household Spending in Australia Abstract

This article uses household-level data to examine the distribution of spending and saving in Australia and how that has changed over time. The distribution of spending and saving is important as, among other things, it can affect the way that the household sector responds to economic shocks. The data indicate that households headed by older people have increased their share of total spending over the past two decades, reflecting both an ageing population and an increase in the average spending of older households compared with other households. The household survey data also indicate that spending is more equally distributed than income across households due to their ability to borrow and save. Moreover, consumption inequality has been little changed, despite an increase in income inequality over recent decades.

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