Housing affordability, occupation and location in Australian cities and regions


Up until 2001 there was little direct evidence that housing affordability problems were heightening labour shortages, as low-income jobs moved to low cost suburbs, and those jobs in the inner city – such as hospitality or retail jobs – were filled by young people who were more likely to share housing costs in group households.

Project Number: 60279
Research Theme(s): Housing affordability
Project Leader: Yates, Judith
Funding Year: 2004
Research Centre: Sydney


Using 1996-2001 Census data the project examined the housing affordability and residential and employment locations of a range of occupations. Given the focus on housing affordability and occupation, the research focuses on households in employment only.

The key findings of the research are:

  • Amongst those in employment, an average of 10 per cent of households experience housing affordability problems,  that is they pay more than 30 per cent of their income in housing costs.
  • The occupations that have an over representation of those with housing affordability problems are characterised by low incomes and include hospitality workers (27%), sales assistants (18%), cleaners (16%), carers and aides (16%) and various service workers (15%).
  • Public sector occupations such as nurses (9%), school teachers (6%) and police officers (6%) have an under representation of those experiencing housing affordability problems, relative to the average.
  • Between 1996 and 2001 a trend towards living and working in the CBD was apparent for relatively higher paid occupations such as nursing and computer professionals.