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Housing affordability: Change in household living costs

Change in household living costs

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) publishes Selected Living Cost Indexes (SLCIs), which measure the price change of goods and services and its effect on the out-of-pocket living expenses of selected household types to obtain a fixed basket of consumer goods. The SLCIs also measure the extent to which the impact of price change varies across these different sub-groups of the Australian population.

Four population sub-groups are included in the SLCIs: employee households; age pensioner households; other government transfer recipient households; and self-funded retiree households. Also included is the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI) which provides quarterly information about the combined price change on out-of-pocket living expenses for two population sub-groups; age pensioner households and other government transfer recipient households.

The SLCIs are measured similarly to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), however there are some conceptual differences. The SLCIs measure the impact of changes in prices on the out-of-pocket expenses incurred by households to gain access to a fixed basket of consumer goods and services, while the CPI is designed to measure price inflation for the household sector as a whole. Different methods are also used to measure owner-occupied housing, the main difference being that SLCIs include changes in the amount of interest paid on mortgages (excluded in the CPI) and the CPI includes the net purchase of housing and the increase in volume of housing due to renovations or extensions (excluded in the SLCIs).

This dashboard provides an overview of the changes in basic household living costs – Food and non-alcoholic beverages, Housing, and Mortgage and interest charges – for four household types – All households (CPI), Employee households (SLCI), Self-funded retiree households (SLCI), and Pensioner and beneficiary households (SLCI). For ease of comparison, national level data from the ABS Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all households in Australia are presented here.

For more information on the differences and similarities between the SLCIs and the CPI, in particular the measurement of housing, see the ABS article The measurement of housing in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Selected Living Cost Indexes (SLCIs).

Consumer price index (CPI) data is also used in the following dashboard menu option: Change in rental prices - CPI.

See ABS - Selected Living Cost Indexes, Australia and ABS - Consumer Price Index, Australia for further information, including in-depth commentary and analysis, in particular the source data Quality Declaration. Source references:

  • SLCI data: Data downloads, TABLE 2 and TABLE 3.
  • CPI data: Data downloads, TABLES 3 and 4.