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Report Insights:

  • Australia ranks 7thout of 80 countries for quality of life.
  • The country has 16th highest GDP per person in the world.
  • Australia scores 7thout of 40 countries in terms of household wealth.
  • Australia is the 14th most expensive country to live in.
  • 81% of Australians have completed secondary school, higher than the OECD average.
  • The life expectancy in Australia is 83 years old, 3 years greater than the OECD average.
  • The job employment rate is 73.4%, well above the OECD average.

australia statistics

Australia is considered to boast some of the top standards of living in the world. Continuous economic growth, a good job market, and a general sense of satisfaction ensure that Australians continue enjoying a higher quality of life.

Of course, the standard of living is measured by a number of different factors. To understand how Australia measures up across the board, you have to consider each and every element. This helps to pain a far more comprehensive image.

Australia’s Global Position

It is important to appreciate how Australia ranks on a global scale. This includes comparisons with major developed countries like the UK, US, and countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

  • In terms of quality of life, Australia ranks 7 out of 80, ahead of Netherlands, Switzerland, and New Zealand.
  • The GDP per person is USD 57,374 making it the country with the 16th highest GDP per person.
  • Australia has the 25th highest purchasing power globally, with a PPP of 82.3.
  • Australians rank their life satisfaction as 7.3, well above the OECD average of 6.5.
  • 95% of Australians engage in civic participation, in comparison with 68% of other OECD countries.

Income and Wealth

One of the main ways that the standard of living is calculated in Australia is based on income and general wealth. The average income ensures that people are able to afford basic necessities, automatically improving the manner in which they live.

  • The average household income in Australia is $32,579 a year.
  • This is lower than the OECD average of $33, 603 a year.
  • Nonetheless, the average household net wealth is $427,064, which is higher than the OECD average of $408,376.
  • In terms of household wealth, Australia ranks 7 out of 40, ahead of Iceland, France, Canada, and Sweden.
  • 70% of Australians consider themselves prosperous or have enough of money to live on comfortably.
  • Australia has the highest median wealth per adult at USD 191,453.
  • Australia has the 2nd highest average wealth per adult at USD 411,060, with only Switzerland ahead.
  • The number of millionaires is forecast to rise by 41%, the 3rd highest growth in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Just 6% of Australians have a net worth under $10,000 while the UK and US has 18% and 28% respectively.
  • However, the top 20% of the population make 6 times as much as the bottom 20%.

Cost of Living

It is a well-known fact that the cost of living in Australia is much higher than many other countries. It is less clear how the country compares to other nations, particularly those that are known for their higher cost of living.

  • Overall, Australia is the 14th most expensive country to live in with a cost of living index of 106.9.
  • In comparison, the UK has a cost of living index of 101.3 and the US has one of 100.
  • However, Australian cities have fallen as much as 26 places in the annual Cost of Living Survey list.
  • Sydney is the most expensive city in Australia, holding a global spot at 50.
  • Melbourne is the 2nd most expensive city, with a global ranking of 79.
  • Consumer prices in Sydney are 3.48% higher than those in London.
  • Restaurant prices are 19.07% higher in London than Sydney.
  • Grocery prices in London are 31.72% lower than in Sydney.
  • Australia has one of the highest transports costs at $141 a month – Germany comes in 2nd at $111.
  • The average single person can have monthly expenses amounting to $2,260.


As housing is a basic necessity, the availability and cost of housing can have a considerable impact on the overall standard of living. In Australia, housing costs have been on the rise, although wages and income rates haven’t always matched this increment.

  • On average, Australians spend 20% of their income on housing, which is in line with OECD average.
  • The average single person can spend $1136 on rent each month.
  • A family can spend between $1420 and $1832 on rent each month.
  • Median house prices across the country are $750,721.
  • This makes the house prices over 8.5 times the cost of the average monthly income.
  • In the UK, monthly rent can cost around $1331 and in the US this can be $1671.
  • Hong Kong is far more expensive, with the average monthly rent costing $3210.


Education is a significant indicator of quality of life and standard of living. A highly educated population tends to enjoy higher earnings. Such a population is also able to create a more engaging and logical community.

  • Australians can spend 21 years in school, which is the highest level in OECD.
  • 81% of Australians have completed upper secondary education which is higher than the 78% OECD average.
  • The average Australian student scored 502 in reading literacy, sciences, and maths.
  • This was far higher than the OECD average of 486.

Health, Healthcare, and Safety

General health as well as healthcare accessibility and facilities can tell you a great deal about the standard of living of a particular country. This is typically tied into better quality of life, higher life expectancy, and less stress related to healthcare costs.

  • Australia has a life expectancy of 83 years, three years higher than the OECD average.
  • 85% of Australians reported to be in good health, compared to the 69% OECD average.
  • 15% of Australians suffer from chronic disease which is lower than an eleven country average of 17.5%.
  • 4% of Australians have been diagnosed with obesity, higher than 21% OECD average.
  • The lowest obesity rate is in Switzerland at 11.3% and the highest is the US at 40%.
  • 93% of Australians are satisfied with their water quality, which is higher than the 81% OECD average.
  • Australia has a homicide rate of 1.1 which is lower than the OECD average of 3.7.
  • US healthcare spending per capita is $10,000 – more than 2 times the Australian expenditure.
  • Spending on private healthcare in Australia is $597 per capita – greater than the OECD average at $226.
  • Australia has 11.9 suicides per 100,000 people, slightly lower than the OECD average of 11.5.
  • UK has the lowest suicide rate at 7.3 deaths per 100,000 people and US has the highest with 13.9 deaths per 100,000.

Job Opportunities

For most people, being employed can determine their overall standard of living. Thus, higher earning potential and lower rates of employment can go a long way towards boosting the general level of satisfaction of the population.  Furthermore, the possibility of getting a job, particularly once you have graduated from school is just as important.

  • The employment rate for individuals between the ages of 15 to 64 years is 74.3%.
  • This is higher than the average OECD employment rate of 68.8%.
  • The highest employment rate is Iceland at 83.3% and Turkey has the lowest rate at 50.3%.
  • 3% of Australians have been unemployed for a year or longer, which is lower than the OECD average of 1.8%.
  • Should they lose their job, 5.4% of Australians can expect earnings loss, which is lower than the OECD average of 7%.
  • In terms of income, Australia rates 10 out of the 40 OECD countries, with regions like Austria, Norway, and Belgium offering better wages.


Once people are able to manage their basic necessities, leisure time and activities has an obvious effect on purported living standards. The more that people are able to enjoy their free time or afford certain activities, the more satisfied they tend to be.

  • Australians do struggle with work-life balance, with 13% of employees working very long hours.
  • This is higher than the OECD average of 11%.
  • Full-time workers are able to dedicate 14 hours a day to personal care and leisure which is lower than the OECD average of 15 hours.
  • Full-time employees get up to 20 days of paid leave for every year that they work in a given job.
  • The UK has the most days of annual leave with 28 days each year.
  • Mexico has one of the lowest paid leave at just 6 days.
  • Around 10,932,000 Australians depart for tourist travel every year.
  • China boasts the highest number of travellers at 143,035,000, while Tuvalu has the lowest number at 2100.

There is no denying that Australia does boast a high standard of living, compared across numerous factors. A significant portion of the population is able to complete their higher education and expect good employment once they have graduated. The average Australian is also able to make ends meet quite satisfactorily.

Nevertheless, there are several points that the country can improve on. This begins with closing the wealth gap and ensuring that a greater portion of the population is able to afford their own homes. At the same time, the average Australian should be encouraged to create a far better work-life balance and to take more leisure time for themselves throughout the year.


[1] OECD Better Life Index, Australia
[2] US News, Australia
[3] AMPLIFY Social Impact, Living Standards
[4] The World Bank, Australia
[5] Financial Review, How Australia’s Cost of Living Compares with Other Countries around the World
[6] The Economist, World in Figures
[7] Committee for Economic Development of Australia, Australia Tops Global Wealth Rankings
[8] Savings AU, How Expensive is Australia to Live?
[9] World Data, Comparison of Worldwide Cost of Living
[10] The New Daily, Australian Cities Slide in Global Cost-of-Living Rankings
[11] Money Smart Gov AU, What Do Australians Really Spend Their Money On?
[12] The Commonwealth Fund, U.S. Health Care from a Global Perspective, 2019: Higher Spending, Worse Outcomes?
[13] Statista, Employment Rate in OECD countries in 2019.
[14] World Economic Forum, People in These Countries Get the Most Paid Vacation
[15] Index Mundi, International Tourism, Number of Departures – Country Ranking

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