Accounts with financial institutions
Current balances of the accounts held with banks or any other financial institutions e.g. credit unions, building societies, insurance companies, finance companies. Examples of types of accounts include: passbook, statement, cheque or term deposit accounts.
An entity of a financial or non-financial nature, owned by the household or its members, and from which economic benefits may be derived by holding or use over a period of time.
Average weekly expenditure
Value obtained by dividing the estimated weekly expenditure of a group of households by the estimated number of households in the group.
Balance of state
That part of each Australian state or territory not defined as capital city. Balance of state estimates for Northern Territory are regarded as too unreliable to publish separately since they exclude collection districts defined as very remote or Indigenous Communities which account for a significant proportion of the population. All of the Australian Capital Territory is defined as capital city for this publication.
Broad expenditure group
The broadest level of the Household Expenditure Classification used in the 2003-04 survey. For details of the classification see Appendix 5.
A certificate of ownership of a specified portion of a debt. May be issued by a government agency or private corporation to individuals or companies and usually bears a fixed interest rate of return on investment.
Canadian National Occupancy Standard (CNOS)
Provides a measure of housing utilisation. The CNOS assesses the bedroom requirements of a household by specifying that:
The CNOS variable on the file compares the number of bedrooms required with the actual number of bedrooms in the dwelling.
- there should be no more than two persons per bedroom;
- children less than 5 years of age of different sexes may reasonable share a bedroom
- children less than 18 years of age and of the same sex may reasonably share a bedroom
- single household members aged 18 years and over should have a separate bedroom, as should parents or couples
- a lone person household may reasonably occupy a bed sitter.
Australia's six State capital city statistical divisions and the Darwin statistical division. For the Australian Capital Territory the estimates relate predominantly to urban areas.
A household which bought their dwelling in the three years prior to the reference year and either the reference person or partner had previously owned a dwelling.
Any assets owned by children in the household that are not included in the value of the household contents. These assets can be financial (eg. a child's bank accounts, assets held in trusts, bonds, debenture stock) or can be non-financial such as jewellery or property held in trust for the children.
The census Collection District (CD) is the smallest geographic area defined in the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (cat. no. 1216.0).
Consumer Price Index (CPI)
A general measure of price inflation for the household sector in Australia. Specifically, it provides a measure of changes, over time, in the cost of a constant basket of goods and services acquired by the capital city households in Australia.
Contents of dwelling
This is a non-financial asset and comprises an estimated value of household contents. Examples include: clothing, jewellery, hobby collections, furniture, paintings and works of art, soft furnishings and electrical appliances other than fixtures such as stoves and built-in items.
Two people in a registered or de facto marriage, who usually live in the same household.
Couple family with dependent children
One family household consisting of a couple with at least one dependent child. The household may also include non-dependent children, other relatives and unrelated individuals.
Couple, one family household
A one family household consisting of:
Credit card debt
- one couple only
- one couple, with their dependent and/or non-dependent children only
- one couple, with or without children, plus other relatives
- one couple, with or without children and other relatives, plus unrelated individuals.
The amount owing on the respondent's latest credit card account statement (including any government, interest or financial institution charges), irrespective of whether it was paid off by the due date. Includes amounts owing on specialised retail shopping cards as well as general credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard and Bankcard.
A formal acknowledgement of indebtedness by a company. Interest is paid by the company at specific intervals. A loan or deposit can be called a debenture if it is secured over company assets. Unlike shareholders, debenture holders have a creditor relationship with the company. Instead of dividends, debenture holders receive interest on their debentures which is accounted for by the company as an expense.
Groupings that result from ranking all households or people in the population in ascending order according to some characteristic such as their household income and then dividing the population into 10 equal groups, each comprising 10% of the estimated population.
All persons aged under 15 years; and people aged 15-24 years who are full-time students, have a parent in the household and do not have a partner or child of their own in the household.
A notebook in which each person aged 15 years and over who was usually resident in the selected dwelling recorded his or her daily expenditure over two weeks.
Gross income after income tax and the Medicare levy are deducted and family tax benefit paid through the tax system or as a lump sum by Centrelink is added. Income tax and the Medicare levy are imputed based on each person's income and other characteristics as reported in the survey. Family tax benefit is estimated on the basis of reductions in pay-as-you-go tax payments, as reported in the survey, or imputed on the basis of each family's income and composition. Disposable income is sometimes referred to as Net income.
Defined as a suite of rooms contained within a building which are self-contained and intended for long-term residential use. To be self-contained the suite of rooms must possess cooking and bathing facilities as building fixtures. Examples of types of dwelling include: separate house; semi-detached, row or terrace house or townhouse; flat, unit, or apartment; and other dwelling, including caravan, cabin, houseboat, and house or flat attached to a shop.
Persons (excluding dependent children) who receive income from wages or salaries, who are engaged in their own business or partnership, or are silent partners in a business or partnership.
Persons aged 15 years and over who, during the week before the interview:
- worked one hour or more for pay, profit, commission or payment in kind in a job or business, or on a farm (includes employees, employers and own account workers),
- worked one hour or more, without pay, in a family business or on a family farm, or
- had a job, business or farm but was not at work because of holidays, sickness or other reason.
An employed person who, for most of his/her working hours:
- works for a public or private employer and receives remuneration in wages or salary, or is paid a retainer fee by his/her employer and works on a commission basis, or works for an employer for tips, piece-rates or payment in kind, or
- operates his or her own incorporated enterprise with or without hiring employees.
A person who operates his or her own unincorporated economic enterprise or engages independently in a profession or trade, and hires one or more employees.
Equity in the dwelling
A household's equity in the dwelling is the difference between the value of the dwelling and the total amount outstanding on mortgages taken out on the dwelling for any purpose, or unsecured loans taken out for housing purposes.
Equivalised disposable household income
Disposable household income adjusted using an equivalence scale. For a lone person household it is equal to disposable household income. For a household comprising more than one person, it is an indicator of the disposable household income that would need to be received by a lone person household to enjoy the same level of economic wellbeing as the household in question. For further information see Appendix 2.
A factor that can be used to adjust the actual incomes of households in a way that enables analysis of the relative wellbeing of households of different size and composition. The equivalising factor included on the file has been calculated using the 'modified OECD' equivalence scale. The factor is built up by allocating points to each person in a household. Taking the first adult in the household as having a weight of 1 point, each additional person who is 15 years or older is allocated 0.5 points, and each child under the age of 15 is allocated 0.3 points. The equivalence factor is the sum of the equivalence points allocated to the household members. Equivalised household income can be derived by dividing total household income by the equivalence factor. For further information see Appendix 2.
The cost of goods and services acquired during the reference period for private use, whether or not the goods were paid for or consumed. Expenditure is net of refunds. For example, payments for health services are net of any refunds received or expected to be received. Expenditure is classified according to the Household Expenditure Classification which contains over 600 detailed items. For details of the classification see Appendix 5.
Two or more people, one of whom is at least 15 years of age, who are related by blood, marriage (registered or de facto), adoption, step or fostering and who usually live in the same household. A separate family is formed for each married couple, or for each set of parent-child relationships where only one parent is present.
Family composition of household
Classifies households into three broad groupings based on the number of families present (one family, multiple family and non-family). One family households are further disaggregated according to the type of family (such as couple family or one parent family) and according to whether or not dependent children are present. Non-family households are disaggregated into lone person households and group households.
An asset whose value arises not from its physical existence (as would a building, piece of land, or capital equipment) but from a contractual relationship. Financial assets are mostly financial claims (with the exception of shares). Financial claims entitle the owner to receive a payment, or a series of payments, from an institutional unit to which the owner has provided funds. Examples include accounts held with financial institutions, ownership of an incorporated business, shares, debentures and bonds, trusts, superannuation funds, and loans to other persons.
A range of items which provide a subjective measure of the household's economic well-being. One person in each household was asked to provide assessments of the current household's circumstances. This person was randomly chosen from the reference person and spouse. Items include management of household income, present standard of living compared with two years ago, ability to raise emergency money, and a range of cash flow problems. For further information see section 1.13 'Deprivation and financial stress indicators'.
First home buyer
A household which bought their dwelling in the three years prior to the survey reference period, and neither the reference person nor partner had previously owned a dwelling.
Flat, unit or apartment
Includes all self-contained dwellings in blocks of flats, units or apartments. These dwellings do not have their own private grounds and usually share a common entrance foyer or stairwell. This category includes houses converted into flats and flats attached to houses such as granny flats. A house with a granny flat attached is regarded as a separate house.
Employed persons who usually work 35 hours or more a week (in all jobs).
A person 15 years or over who is classified as a full-time student by the institution they attend, or considers himself/herself to be a full-time student. Full-time study does not preclude employment.
A summary measure of inequality of income distribution. For further information see Appendix 3.
Government pensions and allowances
Income support payments from government to persons under social security and related government programs. Included are pensions and allowances received by aged, disabled, unemployed and sick persons, families and children, veterans or their survivors, and study allowances for students. All overseas pensions and benefits are included here, although some may not be paid by overseas governments. One-off payments to families and carers paid in 2003-04 are included. Family tax benefit is also regarded as income, although for practical reasons family tax benefit paid through the tax system or as a lump sum by Centrelink is only included under disposable income, and not gross income.
Regular cash receipts before income tax or the Medicare levy are deducted.
A household consisting of two or more unrelated people where all people are aged 15 years and over. There are no reported couple relationships, parent-child relationships or other blood relationships in these households.
A group of related or unrelated people who usually live in the same dwelling and make common provision for food and other essentials of living; or a lone person who makes provision for his or her own food and other essentials of living without combining with any other person.
Household Expenditure Classification (HEC)
The expenditure classification used in the Household Expenditure Survey. In the 2003-04 survey it consists of over 600 items at the most detailed level. At the broadest level it consists of 17 broad expenditure groups. For details of the classification see Appendix 5.
Used to collect information on household characteristics, on irregular or infrequently occurring expenditure items, regular expenditure items common to all household members and household assets and liabilities. Households were asked to recall expenditures over a period ranging from their last payment to three years (e.g. for house purchases).
Household reference person
The reference person for each household is chosen by applying, to all household members aged 15 years and over, the selection criteria below, in the order listed, until a single appropriate reference person is identified:
For example, in a household containing a lone parent with a non-dependent child, the one with the higher income will become the reference person. However, if both individuals have the same income, the elder will become the reference person.
- one of the partners in a registered or de facto marriage, with dependent children
- one of the partners in a registered or de facto marriage, without dependent children
- a lone parent with dependent children
- the person with the highest income
- the eldest person.
Housing costs for the purposes of the publication Housing Occupancy and Costs, Australia (cat. no. 4130.0.55.001) comprise the following costs for the 3 different tenure type categories shown:
Some additional items relating to housing costs are available to enable alternative estimates of housing costs to be constructed. For further information see Section 4.2.
- owner without a mortgage - rates payments (general and water)
- owner with a mortgage - rates payments plus mortgage or unsecured loan payments if the initial purpose was primarily to buy, build, add to or alter the dwelling
- renter - rent payments
Housing costs as a proportion of income
The total weekly housing costs of a group (e.g. one parent households) are divided by the total weekly income of that group expressed as a percentage.
Provides a measure of the bedroom requirements of a household according to household size and composition. See Canadian National Occupancy Standard.
Regular and recurring cash receipts including moneys received from wages and salaries, government pensions and allowances, and other regular receipts such as superannuation, workers' compensation, child support, other transfers from other households, scholarships, profit or loss from own unincorporated business or partnership and investment income. Gross income is the sum of the income from all these sources before income tax or the Medicare levy are deducted. Other measures of income are disposable income and equivalised disposable income. Note that child support and other transfers from other households are not deducted from the incomes of the households making the transfers.
This item was estimated for all households using the relevant taxation criteria and the income and other characteristics of household members reported in the survey.
One person or a group of related persons within a household, whose command over income is assumed to be shared. Income sharing is assumed to take place within married (registered or de facto) couples, and between parents and dependent children.
Income unit reference person
The male partner in a couple income unit, the parent in a one parent income unit and the person in a one person income unit.
An incorporated business is a company that has a registered business name with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and a legal status which is separate to that of the individual owners of the business.
Used to collect information from each person aged 15 years and over on individual details such as income, personal assets, education and labour force status.
Coded for all employed people aged 15 years and over, using the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) (cat. no. 1292.0).
A loan taken out for the purpose of financing investment, excluding loans for business purposes and rental property.
Labour force status
Classifies all people aged 15 years and over according to whether they were employed, unemployed or not in the labour force.
For renters, the type of entity to whom rent is paid or with whom the tenure contract or arrangement is made. Landlords belong to one of the following categories:
- state/territory housing authority-where the household pays rent to a state or territory housing authority or trust
- private landlord-where the household pays rent to a real estate agent or to another person not in the same household
- other-where the household pays rent to the owner/manager of a caravan park, an employer (including a government authority), a housing cooperative, a community or church group, or any other body not included elsewhere.
A liability is an obligation which requires one unit (the debtor) to make a payment or a series of payments to the other unit (the creditor) in certain circumstances specified in a contract between them.
A form of liability that is created when creditors lend funds directly to debtors. Examples are an overdraft from a bank, money lent by a building society with a mortgage over a property as collateral, and personal loans.
Loans for owner occupied dwelling
Principal outstanding on loans used to purchase, build, alter, or make additions to the selected dwelling. Includes money borrowed for a deposit on the selected dwelling, and bridging finance taken out until such time as a loan or mortgage is obtained or the dwelling is bought outright. Where only a proportion of a loan is used for the owner occupied dwelling, only that proportion of the principal outstanding is included.
Lone person household
A household consisting of a person living alone.
Lump sum receipts and disbursements
Amounts relate to lump sum receipts and disbursements over $500 in the previous 2 years.
Mean housing costs
The total weekly housing costs paid by a group of households (e.g. couple only households) divided by the number of households in that group.
The total income received by a group of units divided by the number of units in the group. For more detail about household weighted and person weighted means, see Section 1.6.
Mean net worth
Mean (or average) net worth is the total net worth of a group of units divided by the number of units in the group.
Median housing costs
That level of weekly housing costs that divides a group of households into two equal parts, one half having housing costs above the median and the other half having housing costs below the median. Households with nil or negative total income are not included in this calculation.
That level of income which divides the units in a group into two equal parts, one half having incomes above the median and the other half having incomes below the median. For more detail about household weighted and person weighted medians, see Section 1.6.
Median net worth
That level of net worth which divides the units in a group into two equal parts, one half having net worth above the median and the other half having net worth below the median.
Median ratio of housing costs to income
The ratio of weekly housing costs to gross weekly income is calculated for each household. The median is the level of that ratio that divides a group of households into two equal parts, one half having the ratio above the median and the other half having the ratio below the median.
Medicare is Australia’s universal health care system. For more information refer to <http://www.medicareaustralia.gov.au/>
A mortgage is a loan taken out using the usual residence as security. An owner with a mortgage must still owe money from such a loan.
Multiple family household
A household containing two or more families. Unrelated individuals may also be present.
Occurs if a household's receipts for a good or service (e.g. refunds, trade-ins, sales or successful insurance claims), over a specific period, exceeds the cost of acquisitions. For example, if a household sold a car in the previous 12 months and did not buy a replacement car or they bought a less expensive car, this household would report negative expenditure on cars.
Income may be negative when a loss accrues to a household as an owner or partner in unincorporated enterprises or rental properties. Losses occur when operating expenses and depreciation are greater than gross receipts.
Negative net worth
Net worth may be negative when household liabilities exceed household assets.
Net worth is the value of a household's assets less the value of its liabilities.
All people aged 15 years and over who:
- do not have a spouse or offspring of their own in the household,
- have a parent in the household, and
- are not full-time students aged 15-24 years.
Consists of unrelated people only. A non-family household can be either a person living alone or a group household.
Non-financial assets are all assets other than financial assets. Examples include residential and non-residential property, household contents and vehicles.
Not in the labour force
Persons not in the categories employed or unemployed as defined.
Coded for all employed people aged 15 years and over, using the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO), second edition, 1997 (cat. no. 1220.0).
One family household
A household containing only one family. Unrelated individuals may also be present.
One parent family with dependent children
A one family household comprising a lone parent with at least one dependent child. The household may also include non-dependent children, other relatives and unrelated individuals.
One parent, one family household
A one family household comprising a lone parent with at least one dependent or non-dependent child. The household may also include other relatives and unrelated individuals.
Includes caravans, houseboats, or houses or flats attached to a shop or other commercial premise.
Income other than wages and salaries, own business or partnership income and government pensions and allowances. This includes income received as a result of ownership of financial assets (interest, dividends), and of non-financial assets (rent, royalties) and other regular receipts from sources such as superannuation, child support, workers' compensation and scholarships. Income from rent is net of operating expenses and depreciation and may be negative when these are greater than gross receipts.
Other landlord type
Where the household pays rent to the owner/manager of a caravan park, an employer (including a government authority), a housing cooperative, a community or church group, or any other body not included elsewhere.
Other one family household
A household comprising:
Other property loans
- one couple with their non-dependent children only,
- one couple, with or without non-dependent children, plus other relatives,
- one couple, with or without non-dependent children or other relatives, plus unrelated individuals,
- a lone parent with his/her non-dependent children, with or without other relatives and unrelated individuals, or
- two or more related individuals where the relationship is not a couple relationship or a parent-child relationship (e.g. two brothers).
Principal outstanding on loans used to purchase, build, alter, or make additions to property rented out, loans taken out by people in rental properties who are buying or building a home somewhere else, and loans taken for alterations and additions to other property. Where only a proportion of a loan is used for the property, only that proportion of the principal outstanding is included.
Other tenure type
A household which is not an owner, with or without a mortgage, or a renter. Includes rent free.
Own account worker
A person who operates his or her own unincorporated economic enterprise or engages independently in a profession or trade and hires no employees.
Own unincorporated business income
The profit/loss that accrues to persons as owners of, or partners in, unincorporated enterprises. Profit/loss consists of the value of gross output of the enterprise after the deduction of operating expenses (including depreciation). Losses occur when operating expenses are greater than gross receipts and are treated as negative income.
Owner (of dwelling)
A household in which at least one member owns the dwelling in which it usually resides. Owners are divided into two classifications - owners without a mortgage and owners with a mortgage. If there is any outstanding mortgage or loan secured against the dwelling the household is an owner with a mortgage. If there is no mortgage or loan secured against the dwelling the household is an owner without a mortgage.
An employed person who usually works less than 35 hours per week.
When all households or people in the population are ranked from the lowest to the highest on the basis of some characteristic such as their household income, they can then be divided into equal sized groups. Division into 100 groups gives percentiles. The highest value of the characteristic in the tenth percentile is denoted P10. The median or the top of the 50th percentile is denoted P50. P20, P80 and P90 denote the highest values in the 20th, 80th and 90th percentiles. Ratios of values at the top of selected percentiles, such as P90/P10, are often called percentile ratios.
Percentile ratios summarise the relative distance between two points in a distribution. To illustrate the full spread of the income distribution, the percentile ratio needs to refer to points near the extremes of the distribution, for example, the P90/P10 ratio. The P80/P20 ratio better illustrates the magnitude of the range within which the income of the majority of households falls. The P80/P50 and P50/P20 ratios focus on comparing the ends of the income distribution with the midpoint.
Previous financial year income
Income earned in the period July 2002 to June 2003.
Principal source of income
That source from which the most positive income is received. If total income is nil or negative the principal source is undefined. As there are several possible sources, the principal source may account for less than 50% of total income.
Regular, recurring receipts from private organisations, including superannuation, regular workers' compensation, income from annuities, interest, dividends, royalties, income from rental properties, scholarships and child support.
A household paying rent to a landlord who is a real estate agent, a parent or other relative not in the same household or another person not in the same household.
All residential and non-residential properties owned by persons in the household, excluding properties owned by the respondent's business.
Income received as a result of ownership of assets. It comprises returns from financial assets (interest, dividends), and from non-financial assets (rent and royalties).
A household paying rent to a state or territory housing authority/trust.
Groupings that result from ranking all households or people in the population in ascending order according to some characteristic such as their household income and then dividing the population into five equal groups, each comprising 20% of the estimated population.
Ratio of household incomes at top of selected income percentiles
Recent home buyer
A household which bought their dwelling in the three years prior to the survey.
See Household reference person and Income unit reference person.
Relative standard error (RSE)
The standard error expressed as a percentage of the estimate for which it was calculated. It is a measure which is independent of both the size of the sample, and the unit of measurement and as a result, can be used to compare the reliability of different estimates. The smaller an estimate's RSE, the more likely it is that the estimate is a good proxy for that which would have been obtained if the whole population had been surveyed.
A household which pays rent to reside in the dwelling. See further classification by Landlord type.
Occurs when an employee receives a mix of cash and non-cash benefits from their employer.
An arrangement between an employee and their employer where part of the employee's pre-tax cash salary is traded for non-cash benefits. It is a particular type of salary packaging where the amount sacrificed can vary at the employee's discretion within guidelines set by the employer.
The private dwelling selected in the sample for the survey.
Semi-detached, row or terrace house or townhouse
A dwelling with its own private grounds and no dwelling above or below. A key feature of this dwelling is that it is either attached in some structural way to one or more dwellings or is separated from neighbouring dwellings by less than one-half metre. Examples include semi-detached, row or terrace houses, townhouses or villa units. Multistorey townhouses or units are separately identified from those which are single storey.
A dwelling which is self-contained and separated from other houses (or other buildings or structures) by a space to allow access on all sides (at least one-half metre). This category also includes houses that have an attached flat (e.g. a granny flat). The attached flat will be included in the flat, unit or apartment category.
A share is a contract between the issuing company and the owner of the share which gives the latter an interest in the management of the corporation and the right to participate in profits. In this publication the "value of shares" excludes the value of shares held by individuals in their own incorporated business. Such shares are included in "value of own incorporated business".
Significant persons are defined as follows:
- all members of a lone person or couple only household
- all parents in a couple with children household or a single parent household
- the persons aged 15 years or over in an unrelated persons household where one person is aged 15 years or over and the other members of the household are less than 15 years old
- 50% of the persons aged 15 years and over in all other households.
A measure of the likely difference between estimates obtained in a sample survey and estimates which would have been obtained if the whole population had been surveyed. The magnitude of the standard error associated with any survey is a function of sample design, sample size and population variability.
The largest spatial unit within each state/territory in the main structure of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (cat. no. 1216.0).
Study loans are debts incurred under HECS (Higher Education Contribution Scheme), SFSS (Student Financial Supplement Scheme), and other government higher education schemes. A feature of these loans is that the obligation to repay them only exists when the student's income exceeds a threshold. The debt is also extinguished upon death.
A long-term savings arrangement which operates primarily to provide income for retirement.
The nature of a household's legal right to occupy the dwelling in which the household members usually reside. Tenure is determined according to whether the household owns the dwelling outright, owns the dwelling but has a mortgage or loan secured against it, is paying rent to live in the dwelling or has some other arrangement to occupy the dwelling.
Any type of managed fund which involves the pooling of investors' money in order for a trustee or professional manager to administer that fund. Examples include listed and unlisted public unit trusts, cash management trusts, property trusts and family trusts used only for investment purposes.
Persons aged 15 years and over who were not employed during the week before the interview, had actively looked for full-time or part-time work at any time in the four weeks before the interview and
- were available for work in the week before the interview, or
- were waiting to start a new job within four weeks from the interview and would have started in the week before the interview if the job had been available then.
A business in which the owner(s) and the business are the same legal entity, so that, for example, the owner(s) are personally liable for any business debts that are incurred.
Value of dwelling
The estimated value of the dwelling and its land, as estimated and reported by the household respondent. The data are only collected for owners.
Vehicles include registered and unregistered vehicles used for private purposes including cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, caravans, aircraft, boats and bicycles.
Principal outstanding on loans used to purchase motor vehicles. Where only a proportion of a loan is used to purchase a vehicle, only that proportion of the principal outstanding is included.
Wages and salaries
The gross cash income received as a return to labour from an employer or from a person's own incorporated business.
See Net worth.
Year of arrival in Australia
The year a person (born outside Australia) first arrived in Australia from another country, with the intention of staying in Australia for one year or more.
This page last updated 12 September 2011