Australian millionaires have been dubbed the “suffering rich”. Only 5 per cent regard themselves as prosperous, according to a report that concludes Australians will always feel deprived as long as success is measured by money.

More than half of the millionaires say their financial situation is only reasonably comfortable. Even more remarkably perhaps, 7 per cent describe themselves as poor or just getting along.

“These findings raise the question of whether Australians will ever be satisfied with their financial circumstances,” said report co-author Clive Hamilton, executive director of left-wing think tank the Australia Institute.

“Far from the belief that higher incomes and more assets will create a prosperous nation, it seems that the relentless emphasis on higher incomes will in fact generate more dissatisfaction.”

The survey of more than 12,000 people shows, even among the very wealthy — those with household net worth over $3million — only one in five regard themselves as prosperous.

The report shows that the proportion of Australians who are totally satisfied declines as income increases; 21 per cent of those in the lowest income group say they are totally satisfied, while only 13per cent of those in the highest income group feel the same way.

“The Government says it wants a prosperous nation, but as long as success is measured by money Australians will always feel deprived,” Dr Hamilton said.

More than 60 per cent of Australians, including half of the richest 20 per cent, believe they cannot afford to buy everything they really need.

But Australians are wealthy by almost any objective standards, with average household income of more than $60,000, said Dr Hamilton. “But few seem to feel prosperous.”

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