Daymark PR Survey Shows Vast Majority of Australians Class Themselves as Low or Middle Income

Sydney, Australia, June 26, 2011 --( More than 95 per cent of Australians think they live in low or middle income households with the vast majority shunning the assertion that they will ever be in the high income bracket.

That’s the key finding of a new survey of community attitudes towards household income, which has independently asked 1,500 Australians for their views about their income and those of other Australian households.

Other Survey Findings:
- People over estimate the number of households living on low income in Australia: respondents estimate that nearly half (46%) of households are low income;
- Many more people consider they live in middle income households (56%) than believe there are middle income households in Australia (32%);
- People’s view of what is low and middle income stretches across many income brackets: for example 28% of households earning over $250,000 in gross annual income consider themselves as middle income;
- 83% of $150,000 households also consider themselves as middle income and only 13% consider themselves as high income.

The ABS defines gross weekly cash income of households by decile (ABS Census data 2006) which as a comparison for this survey puts low income households at $44,000 in gross annual income, middle income households at $85,000 and high income households above $173,000.

Richard Peters, Director of Daymark, said the survey shows that the perception of household income status is very different from reality and that regardless of income there is an over estimation of the number of households on low incomes.

“Every day governments of all persuasions appeal to low and middle income households. Household income is being used to describe certain sections of the public and it is not clear whether those messages are being accurately received.

“For instance, when governments say a policy initiative will apply to low and middle income households many more people believe it will apply to them than is actually the case.

“The survey highlights the need for policy makers to be more precise in the way they refer to the income status of a household to avoid setting unrealistic expectations.

“The survey also has importance with respect to how Australians appreciate their status relative to others. Overall it shows that we are better off than we generally think we are,” Mr Peters said.

The Daymark Community Monitor sought to investigate who in Australia think they are low and middle income.

Over 1500 respondents were asked questions pertaining to their status of income (low, medium, high) their perception of the earnings of low, medium and high income households, as well as the proportion of Australians on low incomes and the proportion living on high incomes.

About Daymark Community Monitor
Daymark is a specialist public relations agency which helps clients navigate their way through tough reputational issues.

This survey is the second in a regular series of “community monitors” that looks at the community view of emerging public issues. The aim of the Daymark Community Monitor is to inform the debate around emerging community issues so they can be discussed in a common-sense way. The research is commissioned independently of any Daymark client.

About the survey
An online survey of 1501 respondents across all Australian States was conducted by The Digital Edge on behalf of Daymark Community Monitor over the period 17-19 May 2011. The sample was evenly spread by State population share, gender and income.

For further information or to request a copy of the full survey results, contact:

Richard Peters
M 0438 582 919

Daymark PR
Richard Peters