Taxable income, medians and averages

An unfortunate consequence of the Covid-19 lockdowns was that I decided to take up an introductory $1/week introductory offer for  the Cairns Post. Previously a perusal over coffee provided at a cafe or the local library would suffice. Sadly these became untenable.

Today the Cairns Post ran a paywalled yarn: New data reveals the richest and poorest Cairns suburbs.

1) Cairns Post has attributed this data to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which is wrong. It is ATO data. Sometime late this year if schedules are maintained we should receive the ABS derivation in a more useable format down to SA2 in their personal income series.

2) The data is income and not richest or poorest which brings us to:

3) They have used averages and ignored medians. Oh dear!

WORKERS living in Clifton, Trinity, Kewarra beaches and Palm Cove have topped the Cairns list of biggest earners, according to new taxable income data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

It was a close race for Cairns’ lowest earning suburbs, but data from the 4869 postcode taking in Edmonton and Bentley Park amounted to $52,312 in 2017/18, while Bayview Heights, Mount Sheridan and Woree residents’ average taxable income amounted to $52,202.

Guess what? Bentley Park 4869 had a median individual income of $46,547 which was above the median for postcode 4879 (beaches) at $45,803. Does this trivia matter? It is these regions within Cairns around the city and beaches with the biggest divergence between median and average which are now most impacted.

Previous posts: Cairns Post maligns Bentley Park; How the Average Triumphed Over the Median



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