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This Productivity Commission research paper's purpose is to contribute to an informed discussion in Australia by bringing together and taking stock of the latest and most complete evidence measuring the prevalence of, and trends in, inequality, economic mobility and disadvantage across Australian society.

The paper uses an array of indicators that examine the distributions of household incomes, consumption and wealth, their composition and importantly, movement within the distributions over time, and in response to life events, such as transitions to work, divorce and retirement. For poverty and disadvantage the approach goes beyond the standard metrics, giving weight to measures that capture the experience of those households in the bottom part of the distribution.

The broader context for this study has been an evident reduction in global income inequality and poverty since the late 1980s, the time-frame it most often applies. At the same time, however, there has been rising inequality within many developed countries. This study reviews the Australian experience, which it concludes "is less dire than some would have it, but not exemplary".

More information and paper download

Related item:

Number of Australians living below poverty line has not declined since 1980s - The Guardian

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