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The Wealth of the Nation

Current data on the distribution of wealth in Australia

Evatt's new report, The Wealth of the Nation, shows that inequality continues to increase. The share of Australia's household wealth owned by the richest 20% has increased by at least 1.3 per cent since 2012.

If 1.3 per cent sounds small; this rise represented more than the entire share of the nation's wealth owned by the poorest 20% of households.

Further up the scale, new figures reveal that the Top 10% now own at least 50 per cent of Australia's total household wealth, and by some estimates up to 53 per cent, or even more. The Top 1% of households, the super-rich, own at least 15 per cent of the total wealth, and probably somewhere up to 20 per cent.

At the other end of the range, the poorest 40% of households have virtually no share in the nation's wealth. The bottom 20% effectively have negative net worth. For 40 per cent of households, inequality is increasing absolutely.

A key feature of the current upward redistribution is that the concentration of wealth in the top decile is occurring in an inverse relationship with the next 50% of households. For Australia's middle class, wealth inequality is rapidly increasing relative to the Top 10%. The Wealth of the Nation compares wealth inequality in 17 OECD countries and finds -- contrary to national mythology -- that Australia is no more egalitarian than the average rich country, and it could be more inegalitarian.

The report also finds that the quality of Australia's official statistics on wealth inequality have fallen behind international best practice and are in serious need of reform.

The Wealth of the Nation builds on and is the result of three years work on inequality by the Evatt Foundation.

Title: Sheil, C. and Stilwell, F. (2016), The Wealth of the Nation: Current Data on the Distribution of Wealth in Australia, Sydney: Evatt Foundation, June.


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