3414.0 - Guide to Migrant Statistical Sources, 2011 (Edition 2)  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/03/2011   
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The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey (HILDA)


The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey (HILDA) is a longitudinal social and economic survey which tracks all members of an initial sample of households in a series of interviews (waves) over an indefinite life.

HILDA is designed to collect data in three main areas: economic and subjective well-being, labour market dynamics and family dynamics. Topics covered in these areas include education, current employment and employment history, job search experience, income, health and well-being, child care, housing, family background, marital history and family formation for those aged 15 years and over.

HILDA is funded by the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. Responsibility for the design and management of the survey rests with the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research.

Commencing in 2001, HILDA collects data annually. Consistency of questions allows for panel data analysis. Additional topics and questions have been added in subsequent waves to meet demand. HILDA is currently funded for 12 waves (years) and data are now available for waves 1 to 9.


The HILDA Survey began with a large national probability sample of Australian households occupying private dwellings, excluding sparsely populated areas of Australia. All members of households providing at least one interview in wave 1 form the basis of the panel to be pursued in each subsequent wave. In addition, the sample is gradually extended to include any new household members resulting from changes in the composition of the original households.

From wave 2 onwards, there are two types of sample members in the survey:

  • Continuing Sample Members (CSMs): include all members of wave 1 households. Any children subsequently born to or adopted by CSMs are also classified as CSMs. Further, all new entrants to a household who have a child with a CSM are converted to CSM status. CSMs remain in the sample indefinitely.
  • Temporary Sample Members (TSMs): all other people who share a household with a CSM in wave 2 or later are considered TSMs. TSMs are only included in the sample for as long as they live with a CSM.

In each wave, household interviews are sought with households containing at least one CSM. Individual interviews are sought with all people in the sample (CSMs or TSMs) who are aged 15 or over as at the preceding 30 June. CSMs that move are followed and interviews are sought with their household. Therefore, from wave 2 onwards, interviews may be conducted in non-private dwellings and remote or sparsely populated areas of Australia. Interviews are not conducted with people who move overseas, but on returning to Australia they will be again eligible for interview.

The fieldwork is undertaken from August to March each year, with approximately 95 per cent of the fieldwork being completed by December.

To give an indication of sample size, the numbers for waves 1 to 5 are:
  • 7,682 households and 13,969 individuals interviewed in wave 1 (1,600 individuals arrived in last 20 years)
  • 7,245 households and 13,041 individuals interviewed in wave 2 (1,294 individuals arrived in last 20 years)
  • 7,096 households and 12,728 individuals interviewed in wave 3 (1,130 individuals arrived in last 20 years)
  • 6,987 households and 12,408 individuals interviewed in wave 4 (1,031 individuals arrived in last 20 years)
  • 7,125 households and 12,759 individuals interviewed in wave 5 (1,037 individuals arrived in last 20 years)


  • Country of birth
  • Country of birth of mother
  • Country of birth of father
  • Year of arrival in Australia
  • Proficiency in spoken English (very well, well, not well, not at all)
  • English first language learned to speak as child

From wave 4 onwards:
  • Australian citizenship status
  • Whether permanent resident of Australia
  • Whether New Zealand citizen when arrived in Australia
  • Whether arrived as refugee or under humanitarian migration program
  • Whether individual was Primary Applicant for Visa
  • Visa category (Skilled, Business, Family, Refugee or Special Humanitarian, New Zealand citizen)
  • Who paid for airfare to come to Australia?

A full list of individual data items is available on the HILDA website for each wave. The reference period for each data item depends on the questions used.


Major classifications used include:
  • Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED)
  • Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO)
  • Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC)


It is anticipated that reliable estimates could be obtained for immigrants at the Australian level and for most states.


HILDA data are provided mainly to academic and government researchers who produce journal articles, working papers, other publications and reference material. HILDA data are released to researchers annually.

The Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research can also provide customised tables on a consultancy basis.


Administrative Assistant
HILDA Survey
Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research
Level 7, Alan Gilbert Building, 161 Barry Street
University of Melbourne VIC 3010
Email: hilda-inquiries@unimelb.edu.au
Ph: (03) 8344 2108
Fax: (03) 8344 2111
Web: http://www.melbourneinstitute.com/hilda