6527.0 - Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: User Guide, 1998-99  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/11/2001   
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Contents >> Chapter 6. Sources of further information

Unpublished data
Supporting material
Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFS)
Working papers

This chapter describes the range of data to be made available from the 1998-99 HES in both published and unpublished form. More detailed information can also be obtained by telephoning the HES contact officer on 02 6252 7031.


The publications produced from the 1998-99 HES are listed below. Publication tables can also be provided in spreadsheet format. The number of publications is less than the number produced from previous surveys, but information previously available in publications can be produced if required.

User Guide (Cat. no. 6527.0) $30.00 - Describes the 1998-99 Household Expenditure Survey (HES) definitions, concepts, methodology and estimation procedures. It also contains the Household Expenditure Classification, a list of the HES output data items, and the relative standard errors of estimates.

Summary of Results (Cat. no. 6530.0) $20.00 - Contains summary tables of the 1998-99 HES results. Includes tables of expenditure on broad categories of goods and services by household income quintile group; principal source of income; state of residence; household composition; tenure type; and characteristics of the reference person.

Detailed Expenditure Items (Cat. no. 6535.0) $24.00 - Contains tables of household expenditure on over 400 items. Tables are cross classified by income quintile and state of residence. Data for Canberra and Darwin are also included.

The Effects of Government Benefits and Taxes on Household Income (Cat. no. 6537.0) $27.00 - Describes the results of a study which uses HES data in conjunction with other data such as government finance statistics to calculate the effects of government benefits and taxes on household income. Provides estimates of government cash benefits received (e.g. age pension and unemployment benefits), personal taxes paid, indirect benefits received (from government spending on health, education and housing) and indirect taxes paid (e.g. petrol and alcohol taxes) for households, classified by selected characteristics.


The expenditure data in the HES are presented in the published tables as average weekly expenditure for all households for various population groups.

The published data are only a small portion of the data collected in the survey. It is also not the only way the HES expenditure data can be presented.

Some standard tables are available, including:

  • state and capital city versions of the tables included in the 1998-99 Summary of Results publication (Cat. no. 6530.0);
  • tables similar to those included in the 1998-99 Detailed Expenditure Items publication (Cat. no. 6535.0), but incorporating estimates with high relative standard errors that were suppressed in that publication; and
  • tables showing detailed expenditure for each capital city.

For clients with specific requirements, customised tables can be produced. A wide range of data items is available - the detailed list of possible data items is contained in appendix 2.

The main expected areas of interest are:
  • detailed expenditure items;
  • general household characteristics;
  • household income;
  • financial stress;
  • income and personal characteristics of household members;
  • details of separate mortgages held by the household;
  • data relating to personal loans;
  • government benefits and income taxes; and
  • details for geographic areas.


Other material is available to assist clients in analysing 1998-99 HES data. This includes:
  • samples of the household and individual questionnaires and a HES diary;
  • the Household Expenditure Classification (HEC) and a concordance between the 1998-99 HEC and the classification used in earlier surveys; and
  • the HEC coding list, which lists the products included in the detailed HEC codes.
These products are available either electronically or in hard copy form.


For clients wanting to produce their own tabulations and conduct manipulations of survey estimates (e.g. applying equivalence scales), a confidentialised file can be supplied.

To protect the confidentiality of individual persons and households some data items are removed from the file and the level of detail for some items is reduced.

Two types of confidentialised unit record files will be available:
  • a file containing HES estimates only, which was released in December 2000;
  • a file containing HES estimates combined with the estimates produced in the study of the effects of government benefits and taxes on household income.

The combined file will only be available some months after the release of the HES confidentialised unit record file. While each of the files is priced at $8,000, clients purchasing the initial HES CURF who wish to also receive the later file incorporating the results of the study of the effects of government benefits and taxes on household income, will only be charged $500 for the second file.

Clients wishing to register interest in these data files should telephone the HES contact officer on Canberra 02 6252 7031.


A series of working papers is proposed, which will provide further analysis of the results of the survey. The first of these, which will be available later this year, will identify and explain the differences between the 1998-99 HES estimates and 1998-99 Australian System of National Accounts household data.

Clients interested in receiving these working papers should telephone the HES contact officer on Canberra 02 6252 7031.

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