A couple of years ago, the government changed the rules so that families on $150,000 a year or more wouldn’t be eligible to receive family payments. There were the predictable cries of
class warfare, but there were also claims that $150,000 in Australia leaves you struggling to make ends meet. The Daily Telegraph found a couple on $150k who said
you can survive on $150,000 but you definitely aren’t doing well, while in The Australian, a couple on $200,000 said the government are making it bloody hard.
I don’t think most people have much of a sense of what the typical Australian’s income is. Research backs this up — low income earners tend to overestimate their own position in the income distribution, while high-income earners tend to underestimate theirs. In short, we all think we’re middle class.
The chart below shows this quite starkly. It compares the actual income distribution, in which 10% of people are in each decile of income, with the results of a survey that asked people to place themselves into income deciles.
The Australian income distribution: perception and reality
Source: Saunders and Wong (2011).
— via redwolf.newsvine.com