How has Australia’s life changed over the last 20 years?


NS Household Income and Labor Dynamics (HILDA) Survey According to the University of Melbourne, it provides insights into how Australia’s lives and attitudes have changed over the last two decades.

The study tracks the lives of nearly the same 17,000 Australians, and the latest statistical reports reveal different trends that emerged between 2001 and 2019.

Professor Roger Wilkins of the University of Melbourne, Deputy Director of the HILDA Survey, told the Epoch Times that the project could provide a much richer situation than regular surveys.

“”[In other surveys, for example,] There is a certain number of poor people, but I don’t know if they are temporarily in poverty, the same poor every year, or new people, so I can answer that question, “Wilkins said.

HILDA also collects a comprehensive amount of data covering a wide range of aspects of people’s lives.

Research challenges the myth of income inequality

Wilkins, contrary to the popular story, Income inequality is becoming more and more established, Very stable.

“I think there is a lot of fiction that Australia is becoming a more unequal society,” he said. “When it comes to income distribution, that’s what people usually think about when they think about inequality … the gap hasn’t changed at all for 20 years.”

The Gini coefficient is often used as a measure of income and wealth inequality. The range is 0 to 1, with smaller numbers indicating higher equivalence. Australia’s Gini coefficient has remained between 0.293 and 0.309 since 2001.

However, the data revealed a decline in social mobility. Poor one-year people are more likely to stay the next year, a reflection of high-income Australians.

“Therefore, there is no more inequality within a particular year, but I think people are a little more stuck in the ranks of distribution,” Wilkins said, raising the question of whether Australia had lost entrepreneurship. I added that I did.

Labor force in and out

The study showed that young Australians now live longer with their parents, compared to 41% in 2001, and about half of people aged 18-29 still live with their families.

The percentage of new graduates who secure a job within a year of receiving a full-time education has also decreased from 52% to 45%.

Older Australians, on the other hand, have been working longer, and the retirement age for men has risen from 62 to 67. For women, the average retirement age increased from 61 to 65.

With this change, Professor Wilkins noted the relative increase in wealth of the elderly and the relative decrease in wealth of the young.

“The access to their home ownership has declined, and their ability to get full-time employment and climb the career ladder has declined, especially compared to previous generations,” Wilkins said. “So it will really stand out to me.”

Epoch Times Photo
People will have breakfast on May 15, 2020 at a cafe in Sydney, Australia. (CameronSpencer / Getty Images)

Discrimination in the workplace

More Australians also reported feeling discriminated against in the workplace. HILDA only considers discrimination based on gender, age, ethnicity, religion, and parental status.

Wilkins said the data does not mean that more people are being discriminated against, but that more people are aware of the problem and are moving forward to report it. I emphasized.

“What we’re talking about here is perceived as perception, not reality,” he said. “The more accustomed the community is to the issue of discrimination, the more it may see more than they saw before you knew it, because it gets more attention.”

“I think this is a function of society. I’m actually aware of the problem and I’m trying to work on it to improve awareness of the problem.”

Australians become more health conscious

Fewer Australians are currently smoking, and the percentage of daily smokers has dropped from 19% to 11% since 2001.

Alcohol consumption is also low, with the number of people drinking more than five days a week dropping from 15% in 2002 to 11%.

However, obesity is on the rise, with 59% now being overweight or obese, up from 54% in 2006.

In the meantime, the amount of exercise we are doing has not changed over the last 20 years. More than one-third of Australians exercise at least three times a week for at least 30 minutes.

The number of Australians exposed to psychological distress has also increased since 2007, with 23% and 19% of women and men suffering, respectively.

The average distress score was also high among divorced and relatively low among married. It was also relatively high among people who had never been married and had no de facto relationship.

However, the latter is partly due to the fact that the demographics are young on average and young Australians report higher levels of psychological distress compared to the elderly.

HILDA also collects comprehensive data on household financial well-being, household chores, time stress, self-control, attitudes towards marriage, parenting, work and more. The next report, scheduled around August 2022, provides insights into how COVID-19 affected Australian life.

Rebecca Chu


Rebecca Zhu is an Australian reporter based in Sydney. She focuses on Australia’s economy, property and education. Contact her at [email protected].