Workers must earn $3,000 a week, or about $156,000 a year, to be considered one of the country’s million wealthiest people, the 2021 Census has revealed.

That figure is well above the national middle income of $805-a-week or $41,860 a year.

With 13million people holding a job on Census night in August last year, that meant one out of every 13 workers or entrepreneurs earned at least $3,000 a week.

Australia’s richest income earners, deriving money from wages or investments, made up 7.7 per cent of the labour force. 

More than half of Australia’s 25,422,788 people weren’t working, with the total population count including children, the elderly or those on welfare.

The most common income in the country was $1,000 to $1,249 a week, the Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed, which meant 1,866,801 people earned between $52,000 and $64,948 a year – putting them in the top half of the pay scale.

The most common income in the country was $1,000 to $1,249 a week, the Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed, which meant 1,866,801 people earned between $52,000 and $64,948 a year (pictured is a Sydney waitress)

Middle-income workers were among the 1,680,606 individuals earning $800 to $999 a week or $41,600 to $51,948 a year, with the median pay level of $41,860 falling into this category.

What Australians really earned individually

RICHEST: 1,029,073 earned $3,000 or more a week ($156,000 a year)

COMMON : 1,866,801 earned $1,000 to $1,249 a week ($52,000 to $64,948 a year)

MIDDLE:  1,680,606 earned $800 to $999 a week ($41,600 to $51,948 a year)

LOWEST: 1,669,570 earned no weekly income

By comparison, the minimum weekly wage is $772.60 or $40,175 a year, with a further 5.2 per cent Fair Work Commission increase kicking on July 1.

A similar number – 1,669,570 – earned no income at all on Census night in August last year.

A much smaller number, or 146,805 people, had a negative weekly income.

At the other end of the scale, 1,029,073 Australians are in the rich category, earning at least $3,000 a week or $156,000 a year.

They would fall under the top two tax brackets for those earning between $90,000 and $180,000 and more than $180,000. 

The Census was taken in August last year when residents of Sydney and Melbourne were living through long lockdowns.

This meant many hospitality and service workers were relying on government subsidies to pay their bills.

Richest part of Australia 

The Australian Capital Territory covering Canberra has the highest median weekly household income of $2,373, new Census data for 2021 has revealed. 

There, a couple who earn less than $123,000 a year between them would be considered among the poorer half. 

Public servants in the national capital and their spouses typically have a middle combined pay of $123,396.

An Australian couple earning less than $123,000 between them would be considered among the poorer half in one part of the country

An Australian couple earning less than $123,000 between them would be considered among the poorer half in one part of the country

This is well above the national median of $90,792 with Australians typically living in a home where $1,746 poured into the bank every week in August last year.

State of YOUR wealth

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY: $123,396

NORTHERN TERRITORY: $107,172 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: $94,380

NEW SOUTH WALES: $95,108 

VICTORIA: $91,468

QUEENSLAND: $87,100

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: $75,660 

TASMANIA: $70,616 

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics Census data, August 2021 on median household incomes 

The Northern Territory, where most of the population lives in Darwin, is next with a middle household income of $107,172, based on a median weekly pay of $2,061.

They are even richer than residents of NSW, where $95,108 is the middle annual combined income, based on a typical combined weekly pay of $1,829.

The premier state is even wealthier than mining rich Western Australia where $94,380 is the middle household salary and $1,815 is the median weekly income.

Victoria is fourth on the list with a median household income of $91,468 a year or $1,759 a week. 

Australia’s provincial states had typical pay levels below the national middle of $90,792 or $1,746 a week.

Queensland’s median annual household income was $87,100, or $1,675 a week.

South Australia was near the bottom of the league table with yearly income of $75,660 based on median household pay of $1,455.

Tasmania came last a middle household income of just $70,616 or just $1,358 a week. 

Across Australia, the median pay for individuals was $805, or $41,860.

This was only marginally above the minimum wage of $772.60 a week or $40,175 a year.

But it also represented a huge $143 or 21.6 per cent increase compared with the 2016 Census. 

The ACT had the highest personal median income of $1,203 a week, or $62,556 a year.

Tasmania was last on $701 a week, or just $36,556 annually which is well below the minimum wage.

The wage rankings didn’t reflect the population changes.

Queensland last year had the strongest population growth of 1.42 per cent, followed by Western Australia (1.12 per cent), Tasmania (0.76 per cent), South Australia (0.54 per cent), the ACT (0.42 per cent), NSW (0.14 per cent) and the Northern Territory (0.07 per cent). 

But the population declined in Victoria by 0.05 per cent as Melbourne became Australia’s most locked down city in the world.

The Australian Capital Territory covering Canberra has the highest median weekly household income of $2,373, new Census data for 2021 has revealed

The Australian Capital Territory covering Canberra has the highest median weekly household income of $2,373, new Census data for 2021 has revealed

What Australians earned last year

Median weekly income: $805 or $41,860 which is barely more than the minimum wage’s $772.60 a week or $40,175 a year until July 1

Negative income: 146,805 people

Nil income:  1,669,570 people

$1 to $149 a week ($52 to $7,748 a year): 679,812 people

$150 to $299 a week ($7,800 to $15,548 a year): 1,005,072 people

$300 to $399 a week ($15,600 to $20,748 a year): 1,573,594 people

$400 to $499 a week ($20,800 to $25,948 a year): 1,581,612 people

$500 to $649 a week ($26,000 to $33,748 a year):  1,511,161 people

$650 to $799  a week ($33,800 to $41,548) a year: 1,438,936 people

$800 to $999 a week ($41,600 to $51,948 a year): 1,680,606 people

$1,000 to $1,249 a week ($52,000 to $64,948 a year): 1,866,801 people

$1,250 to $1,499 a week ($65,000 to $77,948 a year): 1,402,863 people

$1,500 to $1,749 a week ($78,000 to $90,948 a year): 1,229,021 people

$1,750 to $1,999 a week ($91,000 to $103,948 a year): 908,593 people

$2,000 to $2,999 a week ($104,000 to $155,948 a year):  1,575,067 people

$3,000 or more a week ($156,000 or more  a year): 1,029,073 people

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics Census 2021 data on income and work 

 



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