Roy Morgan Research
May 01, 2020

New report breaks down Australians’ personal wealth by electorate — and shows PM ‘wealth cluster’

Topic: Press Release
Finding No: 8391
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Measuring and tracking Australians’ personal Net Wealth since 2007, the Roy Morgan Wealth Report fills a long-standing knowledge gap. The newly released 5th Edition delivers additional unique insights by analysing the distribution of personal wealth across electorates.

The House of Representatives takes in 151 electorates. Even before the impacts of the bushfire crises and COVID-19 (coronavirus) there was a chasm between the most and least wealthy.

At the end of 2019 the average per capita Net Wealth in Australia’s wealthiest electorate, Wentworth in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, was $1,060,000 and median Net Wealth was $338,000. In the poorest electorate, Spence in Adelaide’s outer northern suburbs, the average per capita Net Wealth was $187,000 (17.6% of the Wentworth figure) and median Net Wealth just $75,000 (22%).

Personal Net Wealth is calculated by subtracting debt from assets, predominantly equity in owner-occupied homes, plus superannuation.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says, “Our data shows that even before the current economic crisis, the poorest 10 per cent of Australia’s population had ‘negative Net Wealth’, in other words their debts outweighed their assets. They were, on average, almost $21,000 in the red already, while the wealthiest 10 per cent of the population had an average Net Wealth of just over $2,000,000. 

“Our latest research on the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis found that 3.8 million Australians have had work hours reduced and 2.7 million have been stood down. For many this will impact on their assets; around half a million people have already withdrawn money from their superannuation under special pandemic provisions. Consequently, it’s highly likely the gap between the richest and poorest Australians will continue to widen.”  

The Roy Morgan Wealth Report 5th Edition also examined the wealth of the electorates represented by Australia’s Prime Ministers. Fourteen of the electorates held by post-WWII PMs still exist. Of these, six are among Australia’s 10 wealthiest overall. 

These include the seats of incumbent Prime Minister Scott Morrison (whose electorate, Cook, is the 6th wealthiest) and his two immediate predecessors, Malcolm Turnbull (Wentworth, No. 1 on the list) and Tony Abbott (Warringah, No. 2). 

All six PMs whose seats are in the top 10 wealthiest are, or were, from the Liberal Party (the others are Robert Menzies with Kooyong, No. 10; and Harold Holt and John Gorton, both Higgins, No. 8). Only two PMs represented electorates that fall in the bottom third of all electorates by wealth, Paul Keating (Blaxland, No. 108) and Julia Gillard (Lalor, No. 131), both Labor.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says, “Prime Ministers are entrusted with governing for the entire country and not just those in their electorates, however there appears to be significant a disparity in the fact so many of our post-war leaders have represented such a narrowly wealthy slice of all the possible electorates. It is striking that this has been the case for the last three consecutive PMs.”

The Wealth Report is just part of Roy Morgan’s long commitment to mapping the trends and changes in Australian society. 

“Our data comes from interviewing tens of thousands of people in depth each year. It’s an enormous task but we are motivated by the desire to provide political and business leaders with solid evidence-based data to inform their decisions — something that is more important than ever as Australia navigates this extremely challenging period,” says Ms Levine.

All 151 House of Representative Electorates ranked by order of wealth 

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia): 24 months to December 2019, average 12-month sample, n = 50,431

Australia’s post-war PMs, ranked by current order of electorate wealth 

Two of Australia’s post-WWII Prime Minsters represented seats which are no longer extant (caretaker PM John McEwen with Murray and William McMahon with Lowe). Of the 14 extant electorates, the relevant PMs and the current average net wealth per capita in the seat they hold or held are:

Wentworth, Malcolm Turnbull, $1,060,000
Warringah, Tony Abbott, $992,000
Cook, Scott Morrison, $856,000
Higgins, both Harold Holt and John Gorton, $837,000
Kooyong, Robert Menzies, $775,000
Bennelong, John Howard, $543,000
Macquarie, Ben Chifley, $501,000*
Wills, Robert ‘Bob’ Hawke, $428,000
Griffith, Kevin Rudd, $426,000
Werriwa, Gough Whitlam, $385,000
Wannon, Malcom Fraser, $370,000
Blaxland, Paul Keating, $318,000
Lalor, Julia Gillard, $260,000.

*It must be noted that this seat, covering parts of NSW’s Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury, has changed significantly from the largely rural electorate Chifley held until he died in office in 1951.

Michele Levine is available for interview to discuss the findings in detail.

To request an interview or a copy of the Roy Morgan Wealth Report:

Michele Levine – direct: 03 9224 5215 | mobile: 0411 129 093 |

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size Percentage Estimate
40% – 60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2

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