6553.0 - Survey of Income and Housing, User Guide, Australia, 2013-14  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/09/2015   
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This User Guide publication contains details about the Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) conducted in 2013–14. It includes information about the purpose of the survey, the concepts and contents, and the methods and procedures used to collect the data and derive the estimates. The publication also outlines the differences between the 2013–14 survey and earlier SIH surveys. Its purpose is to help users of the data understand the nature of the survey, and its potential to meet user needs.

While most of the SIH content is the same for each cycle, some content is cyclical. The 2013–14 SIH collected information from a sample of 14,162 households over the period July 2013 to June 2014. It includes new content on how people have used their superannuation lump sums in the last two years, a question on caring responsibilities, as well as extra housing content that was last collected in 2007–08. It also includes questions on disability status, concession cards held, educational institution attended and private health expenditure that were last collected in the 2009–10 Household Expenditure Survey (HES).


The SIH is a household survey which collects information on sources of income, amounts received, household net worth, housing, household characteristics and personal characteristics. The principal objective of the survey is to facilitate the analysis and monitoring of the social and economic welfare of Australian residents in private dwellings. The main users are government and other social and economic analysts involved in the development, implementation and evaluation of social and economic policies.

Income and wealth data are used by economic and social analysts and policy makers to:

  • understand the distribution of economic resources among private households in Australia;
  • identify households most at risk of experiencing economic hardship; and
  • understand the effects of taxation and income support systems on the wellbeing of people and households.
Housing data are used for:
  • housing affordability studies;
  • analysis of housing occupancy, including levels of home ownership and housing utilisation; and
  • comparison of the housing costs by tenure type.


The SIH was conducted annually from 1994–95 to 1997–98, and then in 1999–2000, 2000–01 and 2002–03. Commencing in 2003–04 the SIH has been conducted every two years, and is integrated with the HES every six years.

Previous surveys of household income were conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in 1979, 1982, 1986 and 1990. These surveys were generally conducted over a two-month period, compared to a twelve-month period for the SIH. The SIH also included improvements to the survey weighting and estimation procedures, changes to the scope and coverage of household income and changes to interviewing methods.

Wealth data has been collected in every cycle of the SIH since 2003–04, except for 2007–08.


Integration of Income and Wealth publications

From 2013–14, the publication Household Income and Wealth, Australia, 2013–14 (cat. no. 6523.0) incorporates information previously presented as part of the Household Income and Income Distribution, Australia (cat. no. 6523.0) and Household Wealth and Wealth Distribution, Australia (cat. no. 6554.0) products.

The primary benefit of integrating the Income and Wealth publications is to encourage both income and wealth to be considered when analysing the economic resources and wellbeing of individual households.

Change in geography classification

The 2013–14 SIH publication presents data using two geography classifications. Data collected in 2013–14 are based on the current Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), while data from previous SIH cycles are based on the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC). More detail on these changes is available in the 'Classifications and standards' section of this publication.