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The rich in Sydney get a bigger share of the income pie

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Big city problems like congestion, crime and housing affordability hog the headlines. But our urban giants have another chronic challenge that gets less attention - the gap between haves and the have-nots.

A recent study of hundreds of cities in wealthy countries by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development found income inequality was above the national average in almost every urban area with a population of more than half a million. Large cities were, on average, more unequal than small ones.

There is a striking spatial dimension to income inequality in big cities.Credit:Illustration: Matt Davidson

Australia fits this pattern. Greater Sydney isn’t just the Australia’s biggest city it is also the nation’s most unequal region. The share of Sydney's income accruing to the city’s top 1 per cent of earners reached 11.9 per cent the latest figures show, well above the 9.5 per cent share the 1 per cent snares nationally.

In Melbourne the share of the city's income going to the top 1 per cent was also above average at 10 per cent (that compares with 7 per cent in the rest of Victoria).

The top 10 per cent of earners in both cities also enjoy a bigger share of income than the national 33.8 per cent average (36.6 per cent in Sydney and 34.1 per cent in Melbourne).

Analysis by the Bureau of Statistics shows a key measure of income distribution called the Gini Coefficient has been rising in Melbourne and Sydney since........

© Brisbane Times