Households spend more on essentials

As habits change.

More than half the weekly household spend goes on basics, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics Household Expenditure Survey, with housing the biggest expense.

The average family spent on average $1,425 a week, $190 more than six years ago, on essentials such as housing, food, energy, healthcare and transport.

The pattern of household spending has changed considerably, ABS chief economist, Bruce Hockman said. Spending on basics increased from 56% of weekly household spending in 1984 to 59% in 2015-16. “In 1984, the largest contributors to household spending were food on 20%, then transport on 16% and housing on 13%. Jump forward to 2015-16 and housing is the largest contributor on 20%, followed by food, 17% and transport costs on 15%.”

Since the last survey in 2009-10, spending on education has increased by 44% and household services, including cleaning products and pest control up 30%. However, energy costs have risen 26%, healthcare by 26% and housing by 25%. Meanwhile, spending on alcohol, tobacco, clothing, footwear and household furnishings have not changed much from six years ago.

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