Aussies much better off now: report
Many Australian families may be struggling to make ends meet in the current economic environment but a new report says that we are still much better off than in previous decades.
The latest AMP.NATSEM Income and Wealth Report shows Australian household income is outpacing the cost of living over the longer term, with disposable incomes increasing 20 per cent over the last 27 years.
It says the average family is better off by $224 per week in real terms.
But the report points out that since 1984 the cost of living has skyrocketed with everyday essentials such as electricity (up 253 per cent), petrol (208 per cent) and public transport costs (287 per cent) all soaring.
But those rises have been partially offset by dramatic drops in audio visual and computing, which now cost one tenth what they did in 1984, while average prices for clothing, footwear and major household appliances have changed little, and are often lower today than 27 years ago.
AMP Financial Services managing director Craig Meller said the report shows households today are more focused on lifestyles and aspirations than they were in the 80s.
"Many Australians are leading busier lives and facing greater demands on their time, which means we're now paying for things we may not have previously, such as childcare, gardening and housekeeping," Mr Meller said.
"We've also seen a noticeable shift in spending habits with people spending more on education, holidays and eating out.
"Essentially we seem to be leading bigger lifestyles, all of which can add to perceived cost of living pressures."
The report says incomes have outpaced the cost of living across the board since 1984 and couples with children have seen their income grow by 37 per cent, single parent incomes have grown 34 per cent, and working families 22 per cent.
Expenses for secondary students have grown by 264 per cent, mostly attributed to higher private school fees.
Maintaining good health has not come cheap either - medical, dental and insurance costs have increased at even greater rates, jumping 560 per cent, 356 per cent and 346 per cent respectively.
And if think petrol prices are outrageous, think again because we are amongst the lowest in the developed world.
Only Canada, the United States and Mexico have cheaper petrol prices.
Australia's average unleaded petrol price of around $1.40 per litre is significantly cheaper than most European countries where petrol can cost more than $A2 per litre.
Unsurprisingly, Sydney is the most expensive city in Australia, and Adelaide is the cheapest.
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