Income is the means by which most individuals and families finance current consumption and make provision for the future through saving and investment.
People obtain income from various sources, such as from employment, either as an employee or from self employment, from investments, and from transfers received from government or other sources.
The Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) is the main source of data used to analyse household income and income distribution. It collects detailed information on income, housing and the characteristics of individuals, income units and households. The SIH was run continuously from 1994-95 to 1997-98, and then in 1999-2000, 2000-01 and 2002-03. From 2003-04 on, the survey has been run every 2 years.
In 2003-04 the SIH was conducted in conjunction with the Household Expenditure Survey. This will occur every 6 years. Information on assets and liabilities was collected in 2003-04, 2005-06 and most recently in 2009-10. In 2007-08, and every 6 years thereafter, the SIH will collect additional housing detail.
The data items available from the SIH are included in the User Guide. Information from the SIH is produced in publications, spreadsheets and as Confidentialised Unit Record Files. Customised tables can be produced on request to meet individual user needs (standard consultancy rates are charged). For further information, contact the National Information and Referral Service.
Government Benefits, Taxes and Household Income presents analysis of final income (which is equivalised disposable adjusted income including social benefits in-kind less taxes on production) and it’s impact on income distribution.
Less detailed income data are collected in other ABS household surveys, primarily to provide an indicator of household economic wellbeing that can be cross-classified with the other information collected in the survey. The Census also collects information on income. Estimates of Personal Income for Small Areas, have also been produced using income tax data from the Australian Tax Office.
The amount people spend is an indicator of their living standards. Expenditure patterns vary depending on a person's circumstances, for example their incomes, whether they are married or single, whether they have children, and their age. The Household Expenditure Survey (HES) is the main source of expenditure data for households.
The HES was conducted in 1984, 1988-89, 1993-94, 1998-99, 2003-04 and 2009-10, and in future will be conducted every 6 years. The HES collects detailed information on the expenditure of households on goods and services. Average weekly expenditure on over 600 goods and services is available. At the same time, the survey provides information about household income, household size and composition, and other characteristics useful for the analysis of the expenditure patterns of people. The 2003-04 and 2009-10 HESs were conducted on subsamples of the households in the 2003-04 and 2009-10 SIHs.
The data items available from the HES are included in the User Guide. Information from the HES is produced in publications, spreadsheets and as Confidentialised Unit Record Files. Customised tables can also be produced on request to meet individual user needs (standard consultancy rates are charged). For further information, contact the National Information and Referral Service.
The Fiscal Incidence Study (FIS) provides information on the effect of government benefits and taxes on household income. It is conducted in conjunction with each HES. The FIS models expenditure data with other available data, such as government finance statistics, and the results are published in Government Benefits, Taxes and Household Income Australia (cat. no. 6537.0).
A household's wealth at a point in time is defined as the difference between its stock of assets and its stock of liabilities. Because it is a net value, which may be either positive or negative, wealth is more appropriately referred to as 'net worth'.
Unlike the flow measures of income, consumption and saving, net worth is a stock figure. It changes over time by being added to through saving and capital transfers received. It may also be depleted by incurring liabilities, by liquidating assets to finance consumption, or by transferring assets to another entity such as a charity or the household of a family relative. Net worth may also change without there being any transactions, for example, a household's share holdings may increase or decrease in value as a result of changes in stock market prices. Such changes in value can occur for other assets as well, such as property.
There is considerable interest in the composition and distribution of wealth across Australian households, and how this is changing over time. The 2003-04 Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) was the first ABS survey to collect comprehensive information on the assets and liabilities of Australian households. Wealth data was also collected in the 2005-06 and 2009-10 SIHs. The results are released in Household Wealth and Wealth Distribution 2009-10 (cat. no. 6554.0).
Housing satisfies the fundamental human needs for shelter, security and privacy. Housing statistics measure tenure (the right of a household to occupy their dwelling) and housing costs (the ongoing costs of buying or renting a home). These data can be used, in conjunction with the characteristics of households and the dwellings they live in, to analyse aspects of the economic wellbeing of households.
For most owner households, their equity in the family home represents a large proportion of their wealth, making statistics on home ownership an important economic and social indicator.
The main survey that collects data on housing costs is the Survey of Income and Housing (SIH), with the data released in Housing Occupancy and Costs, Australia (cat. no. 4130.0). More information on housing data can be found by accessing the Housing topic page.
In the 1998-99, 2003-04 and 2009-10 Household Expenditure Surveys the ABS asked a series of questions designed to identify the financial pressures faced by households. The questions asked, for example, about a household's ability to raise money on short notice, and its ability to pay regular bills (electricity, telephone etc). Data for 2009-10 is included in Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: Summary of Results, 2009-10 (cat. no. 6530.0). Results for earlier reference periods can be provided on a consultancy basis.
The 2002, 2006 and 2010 General Social Surveys also collected information on financial stress. Some indicators are included in General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia (cat. no. 4159.0).
Superannuation is a significant asset held for many Australian households.
The Survey of Employment Arrangements, Retirement and Superannuation (SEARS) was conducted in 2007, with summary results published in Employment Arrangements, Retirement and Superannuation, Australia (cat. no. 6361.0).
Information from the SEARS is produced in publications and spreadsheets. Work Life and Family Survey (WoLFS) will be released in 2014 combining content in the Survey of Employment, Retirement and Superannuation (SEARS) (cat. no. 6361.0) and Time Use Survey (TUS) (See Time Use Survey cat. no. 4150.0).
Customised tables can also be produced on request to meet individual user needs (standard consultancy rates are charged). For further information, contact the National Information and Referral Service.