The percentage of people living in households with an 'absolute' low income was 17 per cent (before housing costs) in 2011-12 – nearly a million higher than when the coalition government took office in 2010-11 – according to the latest official Households Below Average Income (HBAI) statistical report.
The HBAI report uses three main measures of low income/inequality:
Relative low income – where someone lives in household that receives less than 60 per cent of the average (median disposable) income in the year in question.
Absolute low income – where someone lives in household that receives less than 60 per cent of average (median disposable) income in 2010-11 adjusted since then by inflation.
Income inequality – measured by the Gini coefficient, on a scale from zero (perfect equality) to 1 (perfect inequality).