4.6 Gross Weekly Earnings

In 1986, the weekly income of full-time Maltese-born workers was $3(" for males and $324 for females. This is considerably less than the average Australian ($409) or European born ($375). In fact, 32% Australian-born and 29 % of overseas-born earned $400 or more perweek.

A more recent study (OMA 1989) confirms that the proportion of high wage earners (more than $500/week) among the Maltese (15.3%) is about half that from the general sample (30%) or the sample of NESB persons (27.7%). It is worth emphasizing, however that the proportion of Maltese earning less than $230/week (9.9%) is also much less than the general sample (17%) or the sample from NESB persons (14.8%).

One measure of the distribution of income can be made using the "Gini coefficient of concentration" : a coefficient of 0 indicates absolute homogeneity, where (theoretically) the whole population have the same income, while a coefficient approaching 1 indicates gross disparity of income distribution. The Gini coeficient for Maltese full-time workers was 0.14, which is the lowest for all ethnic groups, indicating that there is little difference between high and low incomes amongst Maltese workers.

The average income for all workers was less than stated above, being $284 for males and $ 119 for females. As for full-time workers, this is far less than the average weekly earnings of Australian-born. Maltese-born males earn about 76% and females 62% of Australian wages. The Gini coefficient is the lowest of all ethnic groups.

However, although individual incomes are about 25% below the average Australian, the income units (which are a measure of family icome) are only 17% less and the median income for Maltese ($377) is actually higher than the average Australian ($325) or European born ($347), again reflecting the homogenous income distribution among Maltese. The low proportion of Maltese families with high income units (more than $960 per week) is much less at 2.2% than that from the general sample 4.8%) or the sample from NESB persons (3.6%) surveyed by OMA (1989).

A comparison of the younger income-earners (aged 25 - 29 years) with the overall income earners shows that there is an increase in the proportion of the younger people earning more than $18,000/year: 22.7% of the younger age group compared to 19.1% of the older age group earn more than $18,000. Moreover, the proportion of the younger age group earning less than $9000 was 26.5% compared to 54.2% overall.

Source: Maurice N. Cauchi - Maltese Migrants in Australia, Malta 1990

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