1136.0 - A Directory of Education and Training Statistics, 2009  
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Living Conditions Section
Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra
Telephone (02) 6252 6174


The Household Expenditure Survey (HES) collects detailed information about the expenditure, income, assets, liabilities and household characteristics of households resident in private dwellings in Australia. Expenditure items collected include expenditure on childcare, preschool, primary or secondary school fees, tertiary education, private tuition, and payments made under the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS). These expenditures are coded to the Household Expenditure Classification, which is detailed in an Excel data cube available in
Household Expenditure Survey and Survey of Income and Housing: User Guide, 2003-04, (ABS cat. no. 6503.0). Expenditure data are only available at the household level. Information on HECS debts is also available.

Cross-tabulation of expenditures by family composition, life cycle group, age of youngest or oldest dependent child, household labour force status, or other characteristics can be provided.


All expenditures by those resident in private dwellings are in-scope. The sample design for the survey covered about 98% of the people living in Australia. The survey collected information from usual residents of private dwellings at the time of interview, such as houses, flats, home units, caravans etc. The survey excludes:

  • Residents of non-private dwellings such as hotels, boarding schools, boarding houses and institutions
  • Households which contain members of non-Australian defence forces stationed in Australia
  • Households which contain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments
  • Households in collection districts defined as very remote or Indigenous Communities - this has previously only a minor impact on aggregate estimates except in the Northern Territory where such households account for about 23% of the population.

Reference Period

Financial year. HES data are presented as average weekly household expenditure estimates.

Frequency of Collection

6 yearly

Method of collection

Information is collected from each sampled household in three separate processes, by two interview sequences and a personal expenditure diary. A household-level questionnaire collects information on household characteristics, expenditure common to all household members, and irregular or infrequent expenditure. An individual questionnaire collects information on income and other personal characteristics of each usual resident aged 15 years or over. Finally, a personal diary is used, by each usual resident aged 15 years or over, to record their expenditure over two weeks. The most recent HES of 2003-04, was integrated with the 2003-04 Survey of Income and Housing (SIH), with the HES sample (6,957 households) a subset of the SIH sample (11,361 households).


Release schedule

The results of the 2003-04 Household Expenditure Survey were released in February 2006. The next HES is being conducted in 2009-10 with results expected to be published in mid 2011.


Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: Summary of Results, 2003-04, (Reissue) (ABS cat. no. 6530.0)
Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: Detailed Expenditure Items, 2003-04, (Reissue) (ABS cat. no. 6535.0.55.001)
Household Expenditure Survey and Survey of Income and Housing - Confidentialised Unit Record Files, Technical Paper, 2--3-04, (ABS cat. no. 6540.0.00.001)
Household Expenditure Survey and Survey of Income and Housing: User Guide, 2003-04, (ABS cat. no. 6503.0)


Published data are available for Australia, the states, and the capital cities in each state and territory.

Data Service

Household Expenditure Survey and Survey of Income and Housing - Confidentialised Unit Record Files, 2003-04, (ABS cat. no. 6540.0)

A set of 18 summary tables for each state or territory are available in Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: Summary of Results. Customised data is available on request. This is a charged service.


Education characteristics (for persons aged 15 years and over)
Enrolment status (full-time, part-time, not enrolled)
Education institution attending (secondary school, TAFE, University, other)
Current study type (for qualification, not for qualification)
Highest year of school completed
Level of highest non-school qualification
Main field of highest non-school qualification
Main field of highest educational attainment

Household characteristics
Number of students aged 15–24 years
Number of students aged 25 years or above
Number attending preschool
Number attending primary school (government, Catholic, other non-government)
Number attending secondary school (government, Catholic, other non-government)
Number attending tertiary institutions full-time
Number attending tertiary institutions part-time

Household expenditure commodities
Care of younger children (excluding schooling)
Formal child care services not elsewhere classified (n.e.c.)
Informal child care services
Child care services not further defined (n.f.d.)

School fees, separately for Government, Catholic, and Other non-government schooling
Primary school fees – including Pre-Year 1
Secondary school fees

Education expenditures n.e.c.
Higher education institution fees n.e.c.
TAFE course fees
Fees paid to other educational institutions n.e.c.
Private education tuition fees
Education fees for primary and secondary school n.f.d.

Historical Data

Household Expenditure Surveys were conducted in 1974-75, 1975-76, 1984, 1988-89, 1993-94, 1998-99 and 2003-04.