2901.0 - Census Dictionary, 2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/05/2011   
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A question on income was first asked in the 1933 Census in an attempt to assess the effects of the Depression. It has subsequently been included in all Censuses since 1976. Each person aged 15 years and over is asked to indicate the range within which their total income from all sources lies (rather than their exact income).

Total income, also referred to as gross income, is the sum of income received from all sources before any deductions such as income tax, the Medicare Levy or salary sacrificed amounts are taken out.

It includes wages, salaries, regular overtime, business or farm income (less operating expenses), rents received (less operating expenses), dividends, interest, income from superannuation, maintenance (child support), workers' compensation, and government pensions and allowances (including all payments for family assistance, labour market assistance, youth and student support, and support for the aged, carers and people with a disability).

As income from most sources is reported before deduction of expenses incurred in the earning of the income, these incomes are always a positive figure. However, income from some sources may be negative. Income from own unincorporated businesses and income from rental property are collected net of operating expenses. If the operating expenses are greater than receipts, total income is negative.

While there is a tendency for incomes to be slightly understated in the Census, the distribution is largely consistent with that obtained from the ABS income surveys. Therefore, Census income data are useful as an indicator of relative advantage or disadvantage and economic wellbeing for small areas and small population groups. Information on income distribution is also used in planning public and private sector services such as social welfare and, particularly at the regional level, retail distribution and other commercial services.

For the 2011 Census, income data will be output using the variables: Total Personal Income (weekly) (INCP), Total Family Income (weekly) (FINF), Total Household Income (weekly) (HIND), Total Family Income as Stated (weekly) (FINASF), Total Household Income as Stated (weekly) (HINASD) and Equivalised Total Household Income (weekly) (HIED).

There are also two variables used to derive the family and household income variables. These are Family Income Derivation Indicator (FIDF) and Household Income Derivation Indicator (HIDD).

See also Total Family Income (weekly) (FINF), Total Family Income as Stated (weekly) (FINASF), Total Household Income (weekly) (HIND), Total Household Income as Stated (weekly) (HINASD) , Total Personal Income (weekly) (INCP).

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