The Household Incomes Report provides information on the material wellbeing of New Zealanders as indicated by their household incomes from all sources from 1982 to 2018.
The report is published as part of the Ministry of Social Development’s work on monitoring social and economic wellbeing. It is designed as a consolidated and accessible resource for use by a wide range of individuals and groups (policy advisors, researchers, students, academics, community groups, commentators and citizens more generally), to inform policy development and public debate around poverty alleviation and redistribution policies.
The income measure used in the Incomes Report is household after-tax cash income for the twelve months prior to interview, adjusted for household size and composition. This is referred to as equivalised disposable household income and is taken as an indicator of a household’s access to economic resources and of its (potential) living standards.
The major focus of the report is on trends in income-based indicators of inequality and financial hardship. These trends are set in the context of a description of the changing overall income distribution in the period. Extensive international comparisons are provided.
All results are estimates, based in the main on data from Stats NZ’s Household Economic Survey (HES) which is a nation-wide survey with an achieved sample in recent years of around 3500 private households. The latest income information is from the 2017-18 HES (2018 HES, for short) which had an achieved sample of 5482 private households. The interviews for the survey are conducted face to face and for the 2018 HES were carried out from July 2017 to June 2018. The income questions ask about incomes for the twelve months prior to the interview.
The full HES is run each three years (2006-07, 2009-10, 2012-13 and so on). Starting with 2007-08, a shortened version of the full HES has been run in the two intervening years to collect data on incomes, housing cost expenditure and living standards indicators. It is referred to as the HES (Income). For more detail on the HES in general, and especially on the 2017-18 HES, see www.stats.govt.nz/hes
In the 2018 HES, median annual household income, after taking account of all income tax paid and transfers received (eg welfare benefits, NZS, WFF tax credits), was $82,600, up around 21% in real terms since the 2011 HES, just after the post-GFC recovery had settled in. This is an average growth of 3% pa in real terms (ie after adjusting for inflation).
Mean or average annual household income was $97,400, up around 18% in real terms since 2011, 2.5% pa on average.
The overall median BHC household disposable income in the 2018 HES was $82,600 (ordinary dollars). In equivalised terms this is 38,200 dollars per equivalent adult.