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Low-income before and after housing costs - comparing Australia's regions

  • Year: 2003
  • Author: Siminski, Peter; Saunders, Peter
  • Journal Name: Australian Social Policy Conference
  • Country: Australia

This paper is part of a broader project on household inequality and living standards being conducted by the Social Policy Research Centre in partnership with the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The main purpose of the paper is to discuss methodological issues in assessing geographical differences in the propensity of households to be relatively poor, and to make a broad assessment of such geographical differences. The major issues regarding comparisons of household income between regions are discussed; a new framework for addressing differences in housing costs is presented; a comparison of the 'after housing' and 'imputed rent' approaches to accounting for housing is made; and it is argued that, while the 'imputed rent' approach does not resolve the issue of regional price differences, of the available methods of income distribution analysis, the 'after housing' measure is the most appropriate for such regional analysis. The main empirical finding reported in this paper suggests that there is only a small difference between major cities and the rest of Australia in the percentage of people living in low-income households after housing.

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