Households Spend Most On The Basics

20:05' 13-09-2017
Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that close to 60% of weekly household spending is on basic essentials such as housing, food, energy, health care and transport.

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    On average, this is $846 out of $1,425 spent, according to the 2015-16 Household Expenditure Survey (HES). This amounts to 59% of the weekly outlay, an increase from 56% in 1984.

    Basics refers to essentials such as housing, food, energy, health care and transport. ABS Chief Economist, Bruce Hockman, said the survey also shows that since 1984, the pattern of household spending has changed considerably.

    “In 1984, the largest contributors to household spending were food (20%), then transport (16%) and housing (13%),” Mr Hockman said. “Jump forward to 2015-16, and housing is now the largest contributor (20%), followed by food (17%), and transport costs (15%).”

    Compared to the last survey, held in 2009-10, the biggest increases in spending on goods and services by households have been in education (44%), household services such as cleaning products and pest control (30%), energy (26%), health care (26%) and housing (25%).

    Mortgage payments and income tax have gone up by nearly half, respectively 43.5% and 47.5%.

    Spending on alcohol, tobacco, clothing and footwear, and household furnishings have not changed significantly in that time.

    The HES also shows that the number of Australian households reporting four or more markers of financial stress fell from 16% to 15% in the last six years. Financial stress markers include a range of circumstances, such as inability to pay power or vehicle registration bills on time, seeking assistance from family, friends or community organisations, going without meals, or unable to raise funds in an emergency.

    The full survey results can be viewed at

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Keywords: australian bureau of statisticshousehold expenditure surveyhousehold spending

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