Livewire Exclusive

With all the focus on the headline CPI each quarter, it’s easy to forget that it’s made up of a ‘basket’ of good and services. In this helpful infographic, we’ve plotted out the different data series from the ABS over the last 20 years. How’s your wallet holding up?

Access the full, high-resolution infographic here.


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Michael Mann

Good article. We buy CPI items with after tax dollars. Is wage growth measured and quoted as before or after tax dollars? I am never quite sure when wages or wage growth is quoted whether its before or after tax. Makes a huge difference.

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James Marlay

Hi Michael, great point. The data came straight from ABS so we can look into it and come back to you with the answer.

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Simon Carson

It's great to see this data laid out clearly, but where is energy? Also, it seems unlikely that housing is only 6% points ahead of wages since 1996.

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Patrick Poke

Hi Simon, Petrol is included under the Transport section of the basket, whereas electricity and gas fall under the housing section. As far as I know, the ABS has never treated energy separately. The data series are taken directly from the ABS so we can't speak for the accuracy or inaccuracy of the data. House prices make up less than half of the Housing section, with utilities, rents, rates, and maintenance also accounting for significant portions.

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but what are the weightings applicable to each sector? Over time spending patterns have changed considerably. I agree that energy and housing must have increased dramatically over that period and now consume a far larger proportion of household income, whereas we dont update our wardrobes etc nearly as much. JEFf

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Patrick Poke

Hi Jeffrey, the CPI basket breakdown is updated every six years by the ABS to more accurately reflect the spending habits of consumers. The breakdown was last updated in 2011, and is due to be updated again shortly. Here's the full, detailed list of all the weightings: and here is the higher level breakdown if you don't want all that detail:

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