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2049.0.55.001 - Information Paper - Methodology for Estimating Homelessness from the Census of Population and Housing, 2012  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 05/09/2012  First Issue
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This Appendix includes additional details on the monetary cut-offs used in the homeless methodology for 2006 and 2001.


The Census collects personal income for all persons aged 15 years and over. People are asked to report the total of all their wages and salaries, government benefits, pensions, allowances and any other income they usually receive, before deductions for tax, superannuation contributions, health insurance, amounts salary sacrificed, or any other automatic deductions. People were asked to report their usual income by selecting an income from a range (they were not asked to report in actual dollars). The ranges were selected after analysing data from the Survey of Income and Housing (SIH), in which personal income was collected in actual dollar amounts.

Household incomes were not collected in the Census but were derived from personal income data. As it is not possible to aggregate personal income ranges, a specific dollar amount was imputed for each personal income range selected by each household member. For the Census processing, the weighted median estimates of gross weekly personal income from the Survey of Income and Housing, adjusted for inflation, were calculated for each of the reported ranges in the Census. These medians were then allocated to each person who reported an income range in the Census.

Individual and combined income cut offs in the homeless methodology were chosen at the levels outlined in the rules for each of the homeless operational groups because, along with other characteristics of the person or household, the ABS felt this was evidence that the households were most likely to have, on balance, accommodation alternatives. The cut-offs for each Census year where set to ensure that those with high levels of income were not misclassified as homeless.

For individual incomes, the range boundary is quoted to indicate that the individuals with income below the range value specified, where on balance, unlikely to have accommodation alternatives. Because income is collected in ranges it is not possible to make a finer distinction within the range.

For the homeless operational group relating to boarding houses, the values for individual income were $600 per week in 2006 and $400 per week in 2001.

An alternative range value was taken for the homeless operational group 'Persons in other temporary lodging' the individual income boundary value is $400 per week in 2006 and $300 per week in 2001.

For the household income cut-offs, the 2006 Census was used as the base. Average weekly earnings showed a 25.5% change for income between 2001 and 2006 resulting in a household income cut off in the methodology of $1,594 in 2001 and $2,000 per week in 2006.

Rental payments

Mean weekly housing costs, as measured in the 2005-06 ABS Survey of Income and Housing for households renting in the private rental market, was $223 per week.

No State, and no capital city recorded an average weekly rent in the private rental market that was above $300 per week. Median weekly rentals in the private rental market were lower than the means, in total and for all States and Territories, except the ACT (ABS 2007).

The cut off for rental payments was set above a level that could be afforded by those who were, on balance, most likely to be homeless.

The 2006 Census rental payments were used as the base for rental payments and then rent was adjusted to 2001 by taking into consideration the changes in the cost of living in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI showed a 13.0% change between 2001 and 2006. In the methodology the weekly rental repayment cut-off was set to $265 per week in 2001 and $300 per week in 2006.

Mortgage payments

Mortgage payments were set to a level considered to be above a level of mortgage payment that could be afforded by those who were, on balance, most likely to be homeless.

Analysis of the 2006 Census data identified that a number of persons who reported owning their 'improvised dwelling' with a mortgage, had mortgage repayments of $1,050 or over per month and no one in the dwelling was employed full-time (excluding persons temporarily absent).

Based on an analysis of the characteristics of these people, they were unlikely, on balance, to be homeless and as a result, were not included in the homeless population. It was concluded that the characteristics of this group indicated they were most likely to be persons repaying a mortgage on land they are purchasing, and who could be in an ‘improvised dwelling’ while building or waiting to build their home.

The 2006 Census was used as the base for mortgage repayments and then repayments were adjusted to 2001 by taking into consideration the changes in the cost of living in the CPI. The 'house purchase' from the CPI showed there was a 24.2% change between 2001 and 2006. In the methodology the mortgage repayment cut-off for 2001 was $845 or more per month and $1,050 or more a month in 2006.

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