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This variable records the income level of people aged 15 years and over. People are asked to state their usual gross weekly income, which is the income before tax, superannuation, health insurance, or other deductions are made.
Gross income includes family payments, additional family payments, pensions, unemployment benefits, student allowances, maintenance (child support), superannuation, wages, salary, overtime, dividends, rents received, interest received, business or farm income (less operating expenses) and workers' compensation received.
People are not asked to state their exact income, only to indicate the range into which their income falls.
Income from some sources may be negative. As income from most sources is reported before deduction of expenses incurred in the earning of the income, these incomes are always a positive figure. However, business income from own unincorporated enterprise and income from rental property is collected net of expenses incurred in the raising of this income. Therefore, income derived from business or rental property may be negative, which may result in a negative total income.
Information on income distribution is important in planning public and private sector services such as social welfare and, particularly at the regional level, retail distribution and other commercial services.
A question on income was first asked in the 1933 Census in an attempt to assess the effects of the depression. It has subsequently been included in all censuses since 1976.
Family Income (FINF) and Household Income (HIND) are calculated from individual incomes. The income of other groups of people in a household can also be calculated on request. See also Family Income (FINF), Household Income (HIND), Median income.