Poorest postcodes in Australia
In Australia, the richest and poorest areas have recorded an income gap of approximately 150k. Both these areas are located within New South Wales. What causes this disparity within one single state? What factors affect the wealth of an area?
Not too long ago, the ATO released data on the richest and poorest postcodes in Australia, based on 2013 tax returns. Below is a map presenting the data.
A postcode in northern rural NSW was deemed to have the lowest average income. The postcode was 2403, which includes the areas of Delungra and Gragin. So what influences the low incomes in this area, what is this place like? As usual, I turned to Census data to find out.
Some articles have quoted a population figure of 350 people for the postcode. Postcodes are a very hard geography to work with as they don’t fit any other administrative boundary. So for the purpose of this blog I’ve used the two SA1s that cover the area of Delungra and Gragin. This gives a total population figure for 2011 of 556.
Below is a chart of the age structure of the area, compared to the NSW average. There are lots of young children in the area and their parents aged 25-29 years, or 35+ years. Some of these parents may only be working part time, contributing to low incomes in the area. There are few people aged 20-24 or 30-34, ages where people are generally moving out of rural areas for education and employment. Also, Delungra has a high proportion of those aged 60+ years, many of whom could be retired and on an aged pension or superannuation payments. This would influence the low incomes in the area.
Labour force participation in the area is quite low, only 58.6% of those aged over 15 are participating. The number of those not participating is almost equal to those aged over 60+. The area however does have an unemployment rate of just over 10%.
Just under half of the working population work in the agricultural industry, running sheep and cattle and cropping grain. These industries are susceptible to weather patterns and fluctuations in local and global prices. This would affect income levels in the area.
Hopefully this brief story on Delungra give some insight on the incomes of its residents. Being labelled the poorest postcode in Australia would not be particularly pleasant, especially when the reasons are not fully explained by the mainstream media.