6553.0 - Information Paper: Survey of Income and Housing, User Guide, Australia, 2005-06  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/08/2007   
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Contents >> Part 1 Concepts and Definitions >> 1.2 Current, annual and weekly income


Current income is the income received by respondents at the time data are collected from them. For wage and salary earners and recipients of government pensions and allowances such as Centrelink payments, current income is generally based on their most recent payment, as long as that payment is usual, that is, does not include irregular overtime, bonuses or other adjustments. For income received from business and investments, a longer time perspective is needed because this form of income is often received in quarterly or less frequent payments. If respondents are operating an unincorporated business or own income producing assets, such as rental property, shares or bank accounts, at the time that data are collected, they are regarded as having current income. Their current income is based on a full year's income from those business and investment sources.

Annual income provides a somewhat longer term perspective of income, providing data about income obtained from all sources over a period of a whole year. It has the advantage of being less sensitive to short term variations in income, such as a person having little or no current income for a short period of non-employment, but for which they have adequate resources from past employment or prospective employment to avoid economic hardship. However, annual income has the potential to be limited in its relevance to the current situation of respondents, especially when analysing the combined income of a household which gained or lost adult members during the course of the year. There are also practical difficulties in collecting annual income, especially from respondents who may have had relatively short periods of time in different jobs, received Centrelink payments for relatively short periods of time, and so on.

A more detailed study of the differences between current and annual income is provided in Appendix 1 'Current and annual income'.


Income is collected using a number of different reporting periods, such as the whole financial year for own unincorporated business and investment income, and the usual payment for a period close to the time of interview for wages and salaries, other sources of private income and government pensions and allowances. The income reported is divided by the number of weeks in the reporting period. Therefore, estimates of weekly income from the SIH do not refer to a given week within the reference period of the survey.

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