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6524.0.55.002 - Estimates of Personal Income for Small Areas, Time Series, 2009-10 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/11/2012   
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EXPLANATORY NOTES


INTRODUCTION

1 This release contains regional estimates of the sources of personal income people received for 2009-10. The tables provide a breakdown of total personal income by the following sources - Wage and salary, Own unincorporated business, Investment, Superannuation and annuities, Other income (excluding Government pensions and allowances) and the Total income from these sources. Time series data for 2005-06 to 2008-09 are also provided for Australia, the states and territories. Regional estimates for these years will be released in early 2013.

2
In previous issues, personal income data were presented at various levels of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), including Statistical Local Areas (SLA) and Local Government Areas (LGA), for each state and territory of Australia. For this issue however, ABS has presented data using the new Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), July 2011. Regional data are provided for Statistical Area Level 2, Statistical Area Level 3, Statistical Area Level 4 and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas for each state and territory of Australia. Data for Local Government Areas (LGA) are also provided. More information on the ASGS is available from the Statistical Geography Portal on the ABS website.

3 These data have been compiled from the Australian Taxation Office's (ATO) Individual Income Tax Return Database and are part of the Australian Bureau of Statistics' (ABS) program to increase the range of regional statistics available, particularly through the use of administrative information collected by other government agencies. The ABS wishes to acknowledge the ATO which provided data used in compiling the statistics presented in this publication.

CHANGES IN THIS ISSUE


4 Since the first issue in this series, there have been a number of changes in the data items in each income category, and in the data released. These changes are outlined in the following paragraphs (5 to 12).

S
ummary of changes to this series

5
Estimates of Personal Income for the years 1995-96 to 2000-01 were first released in Experimental Estimates of Personal Income for Small Areas, Taxation and Income Support Data, 1995-96 to 2000-01 (cat. no. 6524.0.55.001). These estimates included data for Government pensions and allowances from the then Australian Government Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS).

6
Further information regarding the estimates for 1995-96 to 2000-01 can be found in Information Paper: Experimental Estimates of Personal Income for Small Areas, Taxation and Income Support Data, 1995-96 to 2000-01 (cat. no. 6524.0).

7
Estimates of Personal Income for the years 2001-02 to 2005-06 were released in Estimates of Personal Income for Small Areas, 2001-02 to 2005-06 (cat. no. 6524.0.55.002). These estimates excluded Government pensions and allowances in Other income and Total income, but included Attributed personal services income in Wages and salaries.

8
Estimates of Personal Income for the years 2003-04 to 2008-09 have previously been released in Estimates of Personal Income for Small Areas, 2003-04 to 2006-07 and Estimates of Personal Income for Small Areas, Time Series, 2003-04 to 2008-09 (cat. no. 6524.0.55.002). These estimates included income from Lump sums and Eligible termination payments in Wages and salaries, and counts of individuals for each source of income include individuals with positive or negative net income from that source.

9
This issue sees the inclusion of 'Reportable fringe benefits' (gross value adjusted) in Wage and salary income; see paragraphs 10 and 11 below. Other net foreign employment source income has also been included in Wage and salary income; see paragraph 14 below. In addition, Australian franking credits to New Zealand companies has been included in Investment income; see paragraph 12 below. Hence the source of income data published in the previous (2003-04 to 2008-09) issue will not be wholly comparable with the data presented in this issue.

10 For the first time, Reportable fringe benefits (gross value adjusted) have been included in total Wage and salary income. Where the value of benefits provided by an employer exceeds $2,000 in any Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) reference year (for example, April 2009 to March 2010) then that value must be reported as the gross taxable value of those benefits on the recipient's payment summary, for the corresponding income year (for example 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010). The amount reported by employees on their tax returns is the grossed up value as recorded on their payment summary, however ABS income measures use the taxable (not gross) value. The ABS has consequently adjusted the gross value of Reportable fringe benefits by 0.535. Users should note that the adjustment factors differ slightly over time, for example with those for 2009-10 exceeding those for 2005-06. More information on this issue con be obtained via this hyperlink to the ATO website: FBT

11 The effect of the inclusion of Reportable fringe benefits (gross value adjusted) in Wage and Salary income has been relatively small, increasing Total Wage and Salary income by just over one percent. In 2013, ABS will publish recast back data for regions for 2005-06 to 2008-09 which will incorporate Reportable fringe benefits (gross value adjusted), thereby ensuring comparability over time. The new back data for Wages and salaries will differ however, from information published in the previous issue (for 2003-04 to 2008-09).

12 For the first time, Australian franking credits from a New Zealand company have been included in Investment income. These are credits which Australian residents can claim from listed New Zealand companies, under unilateral international arrangements and were $1.2 million in 2009-10 (ATO Taxation Statistics, 2009-10). These franking credits will be also be incorporated within Investment income, in the 2005-06 to 2008-09 time series, to be published for small areas in 2013. The new back data will differ from data published in the previous issue (for 2003-04 to 2008-09).

13 For the first time, Other net foreign employment source income was separately identified by the ATO on the 2009-10 tax form for individuals (as Question 20T). Previously this item was reported with 'other' income on the tax form and included in the 'Other income (excluding Govt. pensions and allowances)' series. This income item has now been included in Wage and salary income for 2009-10, in line with ABS income data standards. In 2009-10, Net foreign employment source income amounted to $968 million (ATO Taxation Statistics, 2009-10). While this has had a small impact on total Wage and salary income, it has resulted in a break in the ABS series for Other Income (excluding Govt. pensions and allowances). Other income has decreased by almost 30% between 2008-09 and 2009-10. The impact on Wage and salary income has been minor - an estimated 0.2% increase.

14 All tax items included as income are summarised in Table 1:

Table 1: Changes to Series

ReleaseReference PeriodsGovt.
pensions and allowances
Wages and salaries inclusionsInvestment income
inclusions
Number of individuals

6524.0 and 6524.0.55.001995-96 to 2000-01IncludedGross salary and wage income
Allowances, commissions, tips etc.
Gross interest
Net rent
Dividends, franked amount
Dividends, unfranked amount
Dividends, franking credit
Distribution from trusts - non primary production
Individuals with positive net income
6524.0.55.0022001-02 to 2005-06ExcludedGross salary and wage income
Allowances, commissions, tips etc.
Attributed personal services income
Gross interest
Net rent
Dividends, franked amount
Dividends, unfranked amount
Dividends, franking credit
Distribution from trusts - non primary production
Individuals with positive net income
6524.0.55.002







2003-04 to 2006-07
2003-04 to 2007-08
2003-04 to 2008-09



Excluded






Gross salary and wage income
Allowances, commissions, tips etc.
Attributed personal services income
Lump sums
Eligible termination payments

Employee share schemes (from 2008-09)
Gross interest
Net rent
Dividends, franked amount
Dividends, unfranked amount
Dividends, franking credit
Distribution from trusts - non primary production
Net foreign rent (from 2008-09)
Individuals with positive and negative net income




6524.0.55.002









2009-10 (a)



Excluded







Gross salary and wage income
Allowances, commissions, tips etc.
Attributed personal services income
Lump sums
Eligible termination payments

Employee share schemes
Reportable fringe benefits (gross value adjusted)
Other net foreign employment source income
Gross interest
Net rent
Dividends, franked amount
Dividends, unfranked amount
Dividends, franking credit
Distribution from trusts - non primary production
Net foreign rent (from 2008-09)
Australian franking credits from a New Zealand company (from 2009-10)
Individuals with positive and negative net income







(a) ABS will publish a 2005-06 to 2009-10 time series of regional data will be published as an update to cat. no. 6524.0.55.002 in 2013.


BREAKS IN SERIES

15 The ATO has recently provided ABS with recast back data spanning 2005-06 to 2008-09, as well as the latest 2009-10 data, which incorporate the definitional changes mentioned in Notes 9 -13. A revised time series for Australia is presented for Australia in Graph 1. Breaks in the source of income series are shown as data points unconnected by lines. As a result of recent changes, Other income has each experienced a series break between 2008-09 to 2009-10 (which follow on from breaks recorded for the previous 2 financial years).

Graph: Total income by income source 2005-06 to 2009-10


(a) Break in series recorded for 2006-07 to 2007-08, and 2007-08 to 2008-09.
(b) Break in series recorded for 2008-09 to 2009-10.

16 The latest series break is outlined in paragraph 13. Other series breaks since 2005-06 include:
  • ATO advised in Taxation Statistics of a 7.1% increase in individual tax lodgements in the 2007-08 financial year, as some people lodged early to take advantage of the one-off tax bonus. This bonus was made available to individuals whose taxable income was $100,000 or less, whose adjusted tax liability was greater than zero and who had filed their 2007-08 return by 30 June 2009;
  • a subsequent adjustment, or 2.8% fall, in the number of individual tax lodgements in the following tax year, 2008-09; and
  • changes to taxation legislation regarding superannuation which took effect from 1 July 2007, the impacts of which are discussed in the Scope and Coverage section below.

CONFIDENTIALITY

17 In 2012, all individual income tax statistics have been provided by the ATO to the ABS in aggregate form at the postcode level. Information about individual taxpayers has not been released to the ABS.

18
The ATO has provided ABS with data for 2009-10, plus recast back data for 2005-06 to 2008-09. The statistics have been subject to confidentialisation processes that randomly adjust table cells with small values. Therefore, caution should be exercised by users when deducing that there are nil people in an area with certain types of income. In general, no reliance should be placed on table cells with small values. The data have been subject to several steps to transform from postcode to the required geographies, and in some cases, the confidentialisation process has been applied at each step to provide additional confidentiality. See Geographic Correspondences for more information about the data transformation.

SCOPE AND COVERAGE

19 The main functions and responsibilities of the ATO are to administer taxation legislation and to collect a wide variety of taxes. The ATO therefore collects data from its reporting population as part of its processes to calculate income tax liability for those persons who are required to lodge an income tax return.

20
The ATO database covers all individuals who submit an individual income tax return and includes persons with income from one or more of a range of sources, such as wages and salaries, own unincorporated business, superannuation and annuities, investments and Government pensions, benefits or allowances. The scope of the ATO statistics presented in this release are data items relating to income standards the ABS uses for its income surveys. However the scope of the ATO statistics presented in this release exclude Government pensions, benefits or allowances.

21 All data presented are gross income before deductions - and before tax and the Medicare levy are applied. Data are for persons aged 15 years and over.

Wage and salary income


22 Wages and salaries are the main forms of payments made to employees for their work or services. Wage and salary income, as reported on the income tax return, includes:
    • Gross income (before tax and application of Medicare levy) as shown on the 'PAYG payment summary - individual non-business';
    • Allowances, which may include car, travel or transport allowances, allowances for tools, clothing or laundry and dirt, risk, meal or entertainment allowances;
    • Commissions, bonuses, tips, gratuities, consultation fees, honoraria and other payments for services;
    • Attributed personal services income;
    • Eligible termination payments;
    • Lump sums;
    • Employee share schemes;
    • Reportable fringe benefits (gross value adjusted) and
    • Other net foreign employment source income (from 2009-10).

Own unincorporated business income

23 Own unincorporated business income includes the following data items on the individual income tax return:
    • Net income (or loss) from business;
    • Distributions from partnerships and trusts for primary production activities;
    • Distributions from partnerships for non-primary production activities; and
    • Net personal services income.

24 The data excludes distributions from trusts for non-primary production activities as this mainly includes income from a range of other activities (mainly investments). It also excludes the income of working directors/owners of incorporated businesses who are classified as employees and consequently their income is included under Wage and salary income.

Investment income

25 Investment income includes:
    • Interest from financial institutions;
    • Net rent and dividends or distributions (including imputation credits) from an Australian company, corporate unit trust or public trading trust;
    • Distributions from trusts - non-primary production which mainly includes income from investments with cash management trusts, property trusts, money market trusts, mortgage trusts and unit trusts;
    • Net foreign rent; and
    • Australian franking credits from a New Zealand company.

Superannuation and annuity income

26 Superannuation and annuity income includes superannuation and similar pensions and annuities paid by an Australian superannuation fund, a retirement saving account provider, a registered organisation or life assurance company and pensions paid by a fund established for the benefit of Commonwealth, State or Territory employees and their dependants. Also included in this category are bonuses from life insurance companies and friendly societies.

27
A change to legislation relating to superannuation, taking effect from 1 July 2007, means that people aged 60 years and over who receive superannuation income in the form of a lump sum or income stream (such as a pension) from a taxed source, will receive that income tax free. Therefore, if a person has no other income, or their total income is below the tax-free threshold, or any tax payable is mitigated by a tax offset (such as Senior Australian Tax Offset), then this person will not be required to lodge a tax return. In the ABS income series for Superannuation and annuities, fewer persons reported income from this income source for the 2007-08 income year onwards. The break affects all superannuation series (persons, income and average income).

Other income (excluding Government pensions and allowances)

28
Other income (excluding Government pensions and allowances) is made up of selected sources of other income reported on the individual income tax return that were not allocated to one of the above categories. Up to 2008-09, this included attributed foreign income and all other income as reported under 'other' income in the supplementary section of the 2008-09 income tax return. In 2009-10 Net foreign employment source income was reported separately (in a new question 20T). This income is considered part of the Wages and salaries income category, and so has been included in that category for 2009-10.

29
Government pensions, benefits or allowances are excluded from the ABS data and are not included in this source of income category. Recent estimates from the ABS Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) of the amount of income Australians received from Government pensions and allowances was $65.2 billion in 2007-08 and $79.3 billion in 2009-10. These levels accounted for 9.4% of the Total income estimate in SIH in 2007-08, up to 10.7% in 2009-10.

Total Income (excluding Government pensions and allowances)

30 Total Income is the sum of all income derived from Wages and salaries, Own unincorporated business, Superannuation and annuities, Investments and Other income (excluding Government pensions, benefits or allowances), as defined in paragraphs 22 to 28, above.

Counts of individuals

31 Individuals may receive income from a number of sources. Net income from a specific source may be positive or negative. For example, an individual may have positive net income from Wages and salaries but negative net income from Investment. The number of individuals for each income source includes all persons with either positive or negative net income from that source.

32
The total number of discrete persons in receipt of income from at least one of the income sources, was presented for the first time for the income year 2007-08. This total cannot be calculated as the sum of the individuals in each income category, as individuals may have more than one source of income in a given year. For example, an individual could derive income from Wages and salaries, Investment and Own unincorporated business and therefore contribute to the person count in each of these income sources.

DATA CONSIDERATIONS


33 There are several considerations that users should be mindful of when analysing or interpreting the ATO data. Overall, these are not seen as being so severe that they would lead to the production of misleading information. Readers are cautioned to be aware of these considerations and take them into account when analysing the results.

34
Generally, the ATO considers someone to be an Australian resident for tax purposes if they have either always lived in Australia or have come to Australia to live permanently, have been in Australia for more than half of the financial year (unless their usual home is overseas and they don't intend to live in Australia), have been in Australia continuously for six months or more and for most of that time have been in the one job and living in the same place, or are an overseas student enrolled in a course of study for more than six months duration.

35
For the purposes of providing statistical measures for the entire population, the ATO database has some limits to its coverage. Persons who receive less than the taxable income threshold are not necessarily required to lodge a tax return. This can include persons who derive their income from government pensions and allowances. Consequently, the coverage of low income earners, including people receiving government pensions and allowances is not complete in ATO records. In addition, a number of Commonwealth of Australia Government pension, benefit and allowance payments are exempt from income tax and are therefore not required to be included in tax returns. As such, the ATO data should be regarded as an indicative though not complete picture of all income earners in Australia.

Processing of tax returns


36 The data presented in this publication were compiled before the processing of all income tax returns for any given year may have been completed. Data provided to the ABS by the ATO are from returns processed up to 31 October, 16 months after the end of the financial year. Any returns lodged after this date are not included. Therefore, for 2009-10, returns processed after 31 October 2011 are not included. This also applies for each of the previous years of data presented in this release, so for 2007-08 data for example, returns processed after 31 October 2009 are not included.

37 Annually revised data are published by the ATO in Taxation Statistics, Personal Tax, Table 7 for selected income items. Although these statistics differ slightly from data contained in this release, they can provide an indication of the likely change in the number of taxpayers and total income or loss over time - as more tax returns are lodged. For example, Table 2 below shows that for the 2005-06 income year, an additional 3.3% of taxpayers lodged their income tax returns in the twelve months after the initial processing cut off of 31 October 2007. By the 31 October 2011 cut off, 12.2 million tax returns had been processed for the 2005-06 financial year, an increase of 6.1% over the original 2005-06 count (at 31 October 2007).
Table 2. COMPARISON OF ATO ORIGINAL AND REVISED DATA - Number of taxpayers, Australia



38 Table 3 shows an overall increase in total income as more tax returns are lodged after the initial cut off date. For 2005-06 data, an additional 3.3% of income was reported twelve months after the initial 16 month cut off of 31 October 2007. This increased by 5.7% to $483.2 billion by the 31 October 2011 cut off.
Table 3. COMPARISON OF ATO ORIGINAL AND REVISED DATA - Total income or loss, Australia



39 Because of the later lodgement of a small portion of tax returns for any tax reference year, the data provided in this report slightly under-estimates the total taxable income for any given financial year.

Changes in taxation policy


40
The ATO provides information annually in Taxation Statistics on their website about changes that may affect taxation statistics. Changes relating to personal income tax are in each edition of Taxation Statistics.

41 For the income year 2009-10, a number of changes were noted in Chapter 2 of Taxation Statistics, including:
  • the change in personal tax thresholds;
  • reforms to some entitlements such as tax offsets, deductions and tax concessions, the Medicare levy surcharge and Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) or Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS) repayment amounts;
  • the change in definition of a spouse to include same-sex couples;
  • the change in treatment of income earned in overseas employment; and
  • the changes to the tax treatment of employee share schemes.
42 For the income year 2008-09, a number of changes were noted in Chapter 2 of Taxation Statistics, including:
  • the change in personal tax thresholds;
  • the education tax refund which allows eligible parents to claim a refund on some educational expenses;
  • the introduction of first home saver accounts;
  • extra HECS/HELP benefits available to mathematics and science graduates and early childhood education teachers in specified locations;
  • changes to death benefits for dependants of same sex couples;
  • the introduction of the small business and general business tax break;
  • the introduction of an upper income limit for certain tax offsets;
  • adjustment in the Medicare levy surcharge thresholds; and
  • special arrangements for people affected by the bushfires and floods.
43 For the income year 2007-08, a number of changes were noted in Chapter 2 of Taxation Statistics, including:
  • Personal income tax cuts;
  • The increase in the low income tax offset from $600 in 2006-07 to $750 in 2007-08;
  • The change in access to the entrepreneur tax offset;
  • The removal of the un-deducted purchase price of an Australian pension or annuity from deduction items - it is now being accounted for and included in the tax-free component of the Australian annuities and superannuation income streams;
  • The removal of age-based limits for claiming a deduction for super contributions;
  • The change to super contribution limits where eligible individuals may now claim a full deduction for personal super contributions; and
  • The change to super taxation where most people aged 60 and over who receive super benefits from a taxed source, the payment of a benefit as a lump sum or income stream (such as a pension) is now tax free.
44 For the income year 2006-07, the following changes were noted in Chapter 2 of Taxation Statistics:
  • Personal income tax cuts;
  • The increase in the low income tax offset from $235 in 2005-06 to $600 in 2006-07;
  • The abolition of the part-year tax-free threshold for individuals who ceased full-time education for the first time;
  • Changes to the tax treatment of foreign income and some capital gains for temporary residents;
  • An increase in the amount you can claim for contributions to registered political parties, independent candidates and members from $100 to $1,500; and
  • The entitlement to claim a tax offset if you have to pay the Medicare levy surcharge as a result of you or your spouse receiving a lump sum payment in arrears.

45
For the income year 2005-06, the following changes were noted in Chapter 2 of Taxation Statistics:
  • Personal income tax cuts;
  • The introduction of new measures such as the 30% child care tax rebate, the 25% entrepreneurs' tax offset, transitional incentives to contribute to superannuation; and
  • Transition to retirement rules - people aged over 55 can now access superannuation benefits without having to retire or leave their job.

COMPARISON WITH OTHER ABS INCOME DATA

46 The ABS Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) collects information on sources of income, amounts received and the characteristics of persons aged 15 years and over resident in private dwellings throughout Australia. The survey was conducted every year from 1994-95 to 1997-98, and then in 1999-2000, 2000-01 and 2002-03. From 2003-04, the survey has been conducted every two years. The latest survey was for the 2009-10 income year. For further information about the concepts, definitions, methodology and estimation procedures used in the SIH, refer to Survey of Income and Housing, User Guide (cat. no. 6553.0).

47
Data collected from SIH can be compared with ATO data, for the years 2005-06, 2007-08 and 2009-10. Such contrasts provide a useful insight into recent trends, establishing whether counts are of an expected magnitude and the distribution of income across the various sources is similar.

48
SIH produces estimates of current income as well as estimates of annual income in respect to the previous financial year. Current income refers to income being received at the time the data were collected from respondents. The data used in the following comparison are based on current income estimates as these are thought to provide a better picture of income earners, are more up to date and are generally reported more accurately than previous financial year estimates.

49
The 2007-08 and 2009-10 SIH data are benchmarked to the 2006 Population Census, while the 2005-06 SIH data are benchmarked to the 2001 Census. SIH employment income from 2007-08 onwards includes all payments received by individuals as a result of their current or former involvement in paid employment. In addition to the regular and recurring cash receipts previously included, SIH wage and salary income also includes non-cash benefits, bonuses, termination payments and payments for irregular overtime.

50
Table 4 below presents a selection of reasonably comparable income data items, sourced from ATO and the SIH, for 2005-06, 2007-08 and 2009-10.


Table 4. SELECTED SOURCES OF INCOME, ATO (a) AND SIH (b) SOURCE OF INCOME DATA, AUSTRALIA
2005-06
2007-08
2009-10
$b
$b
$b

Wage and salary income
ATO
369.2
446.5
478.7
SIH (c)
402.1
513.1
546.6
Own unincorporated business income
ATO
31.0
37.0
37.3
SIH
39.4
40.7
40.5
Investment income
ATO
SIH
44.0
29.3
58.6
43.4
60.0
39.3
Superannuation and annuity income
ATO (d)
14.5
8.9
8.7
SIH
14.3
20.6
22.0

a) ATO data includes records that could not be allocated to a state or territory.
b) SIH data is current estimates rather than previous financial year.
c) SIH data includes non cash benefits in wage and salary income.
d) Series break for ATO data. From July 1, 2007. See paragraph 27, above.

51 The differences observed between the two sets of income data are likely to be as a result of different definitions, collection methodologies (for example, administrative collection versus sample survey) and reference periods. For instance, the inclusion of imputation credits and distributions from trusts (non-primary production) may contribute to the considerably higher estimates observed for the ATO investment income data.

52
The higher SIH wage and salary estimate is in part due to the inclusion of non-cash benefits (including salary sacrificed income) in this income source. Non-cash wage and salary income is not reported on the personal income tax form and is therefore excluded from wage and salary income data provided by the ATO.

53
The SIH Wage and salary income estimate also includes irregular overtime and bonuses as well as termination payments.

54
With the changes to ATO reporting of superannuation income (see paragraph 27), the SIH estimate is thought to provide a more accurate, complete indication of the level of income derived from Superannuation and annuities from 2007-08 onwards.

STATISTICAL GEOGRAPHY

55 The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), July 2011, is now used by the ABS for the collection and dissemination of geographically classified statistics - replacing the former Australian Standard Geographic Classification (ASGC). The ASGS is an essential reference for understanding and interpreting the geographic context of statistics published by the ABS and its use enables comparability across datasets. The ASGS has been introduced by the ABS, in part, to obtain more consistency in population size across similar region types, to achieve more data stability and continuity and thereby minimise the need for annual geographic review.

56
ATO data at postcode level has undergone a number of steps to transform the information to the required levels of geography for this release. Data was transformed from postcode to SA2 and then from SA2 to the other geographies required. While this has introduced some error into the estimates (due to the assumptions implicit in correspondences, as discussed Geographic correspondences, paragraphs 58 to 62) - compared to transforming directly from postcode to the required geographies - it has not diminished the usefulness of the data and has provided additional confidentialisation. (See paragraphs 17 and 18).

57
Further information - including access to ASGS boundaries which underpin the data presented in this publication - can be accessed from Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001).

Geographic correspondences


58
The ABS uses geographic correspondences to enable the conversion of data from one type of geographic region to another. The geographic correspondences used for these data are expressed as conversion factors based on population.

59
The geographic identifier on the ATO database is the postcode of an individual's current home address at the time of completing the tax return. Consequently, postcode to SA2 conversion factors have been used by the ABS to transform aggregated postcode data to estimates for SA2, and these have then been used to aggregate the data up to SA3 and SA4 regions. The SA2 data have also been transformed to LGAs, using an SA2 to LGA correspondence. The correspondences are based on 2011 Census population distributions. For more information, or to view or download these tools, please access Correspondences on the Statistical Geography Portal, ABS website.

60
Applying correspondences:
    • Enables converted data to be more easily compared with other standard ABS output;
    • Enables the data to be output for other standard ABS geographic areas such as SA3, SA4, GCCSA and LGAs; and
    • Provides flexibility so that data can be provided for the various and different regions of interest being studied by users of regional data.

61
When analysing data transformed by correspondences, the following points need to be taken into account:
    • In applying the correspondences it is assumed that the particular characteristics of any data item are uniformly distributed across a postcode area. Therefore, data transformed by correspondences may not truly reflect the distribution of the characteristics of the population. In some cases, where the same postcode is split across two or more SA2 and there are no other contributing postcodes, distinct numerical estimates will be derived but rates or averages will be identical for each SA2 (as these will be equivalent to the original rate or average of the contributing postcode);
    • The conversion factors are based on total population only but have been applied across all ATO data items, i.e. the number of wage and salary earners, wage and salary income, total income and sex, age and occupation groups;
    • Some official postcodes (such as PO boxes, etc.) do not correspond to residential areas but may still have been reported under the current home address field on the income tax return. Data for these and other 'invalid' postcodes, such as those due to incorrect reporting or processing errors, have been included in an 'unknown' category for each State and Territory and for Australia where the state or territory was not known;
    • Data transformed by correspondences have been rounded so slight discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals; and
    • Some correspondences vary in terms of their quality, completeness and utility. Each ABS correspondence is published with a quality measure (for the overall correspondence) and quality indicators (for the many, specific region to region links within the correspondence). These can be viewed in tables 1 and 2 of each downloadable correspondence spreadsheet. The possibility of region to region mismatches arising from the presence of missing 'to units', or regions being below minimum output size, or the presence of null fields, are also recorded, in tables 4, 5 and 6 of each correspondence spreadsheet.

62
While care is taken in producing the correspondences, the ABS cannot guarantee the accuracy of data transformed by correspondences.

Geographic regions


63 The statistics in this electronic release and accompanying data cubes are presented according to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), July 2011. Under this classification, statistical areas are defined as follows:
    • Local Government Areas (LGA): These areas are the spatial units which represent the geographical areas of incorporated local government councils. LGAs include sub categories such as Cities (C), NSW Local Government Areas (A), Boroughs (B), Rural Cities (RC), Towns (T), Shires (S), District Councils (DC), Municipalities (M), SA Municipal Councils (M), SA Regional Councils (RegC), Qld Regional Councils (R) and SA Aboriginal Councils (AC);
    • Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2): These are general purpose, medium sized areas designed to represent communities that interact socially and economically. SA2s generally have an average population of 10,000 persons, or a population size range of 3,000-25,000 persons, tending towards the lower limit of this range in rural and remote regions. There are 2,214 SA2s, Australia wide.
    • Statistical Area Level 3 (SA3): This geography has been created as a standard for the analysis of ABS data at broader geographies through the clustering of SA2s with similar regional characteristics. Generally, SA3s have a population size range of 30,000-130,000 persons. There are 351 SA3s Australia wide.
    • Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4): These are the largest sub-state regions within the main structure of the ASGS. They have been primarily designed to output labour force data, reflecting recognised major labour market regions in each jurisdiction. Population size can range from 100,000-300.000 persons, tending towards the lower limit in rural and regional areas. There are 106 SA4s.
    • Greater Capital City Statistical Area (GCCSA): These geographies, comprising 8 capital cities and their wider metro surrounds, are aggregations of SA4s. When combined with 7 Rest of State/Territory regions, they cover the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps, aggregating directly to all States and Territories. A slight exception: the entire Australian Capital Territory comprises one GCCSA, without a 'Rest of' regional component.
64 Further information regarding the ASGS regions, including the detailed classification, metadata, maps and downloadable boundary files, can be accessed from the ABS Statistical Geography Portal on the ABS website.

FURTHER INFORMATION

65 For further information about these and other statistics, please contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

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