6553.0 - Survey of Income and Housing, User Guide, Australia, 2017-18  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/07/2019   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All



This User Guide publication contains details about the Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) conducted in 2017–18. 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 2017–18 survey and earlier SIH surveys. Its purpose is to help users of the data understand the nature of the surveys, and the potential of these surveys to meet user needs.

The 2017–18 SIH collected information from a sample of 14,060 households over the period July, 2017 to June, 2018.


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
  • 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
  • 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 Household Expenditure Survey (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.

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

The 2009–10 and 2015–16 SIH and HES also included an additional sample of metropolitan households whose main source of income was a government pension or allowance to support the compilation of the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI). From 2009–10, the SIH continues to include an additional sample of households outside of greater capital city areas to support housing indicators in regional areas.


For 2017–18, additional questions have been asked to collect further information about the living arrangements of usual residents aged under 20 years of age who live in the household, but also spend some time living with a parent/guardian elsewhere. Further to that questions have also been asked to determine the living arrangement of children (aged under 20 years) who spend time at the household but are not considered a usual resident. This experimental analysis is expected to be released in late 2019.