Centre for Affordable Housing

Who are very low to moderate income earners?

People described as being on a very low income are those earning less than 50 percent of the NSW or Sydney median income, depending on where they live 1. They include workers in a range of lower paid occupations, particularly in areas such as retail or manufacturing, as well as people earning the minimum wage 2 or who are on an aged or disability pension or other government benefit. 

People earning more than 50 percent but less than 80 percent of the NSW or Sydney median income are described as earning a low income. They include many people working in jobs such as a child care worker, secretary or cleaner. 

People described as being on a moderate income are those earning between 80 - 120 percent of the NSW or Sydney median income. They may include people working in occupations such as teaching, policing or nursing, particularly if they are in earlier stages of their careers 3. 


1. The 2011 ABS Census data found that the median income in Sydney is $1,444 per week ($75,088 per annum). For other parts of NSW it is $1233 ($64,116 per annum). These figures are updated each year.

2. In 2012, Australia's minimum wage was $15.96 per hour or $606.40 per week ($31, 512 per annum). Generally, employees in the national system shouldn't get less than this. (For more information, go to the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website at: www.fairwork.gov.au.

3. Income figures for various job types in this section are derived from gross average weekly total earnings for full-time non-managerial employees as reported in the 2010 ABS Employee, Earnings and Hours Cat no. 6306.