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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Household Expenditure Survey (HES)


The Household Expenditure Survey (HES) collects detailed information about the expenditure, income, household characteristics and – from 2003-04 only – the net worth of a sample of households resident in private dwellings throughout Australia. Average weekly expenditure on over 600 goods and services can be obtained from the survey and cross classified with Data Items Relevant to Migrants and Ethnicity, household income, household characteristics and broad geographical areas. The 2003-04 HES was conducted as a subsample of the households selected for the Survey of Income and Housing. Previously the two surveys were conducted separately.

The HES objectives are to:

  • identify the net levels and patterns of expenditure of Australian private households on a comprehensive range of goods and services purchased for private use;
  • determine how these levels and patterns vary according to income levels and other characteristics of households, such as size and composition, location and principal sources of cash income.

More specifically the HES is used to update the weighting pattern of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to ensure it adequately reflects the spending habits of the Australian population.

Household expenditure data is available for 1974-75, 1975-76, 1984, 1988-89, 1993-94, 1998-99 and 2003-04. From 2003-04 the HES is on a 6 yearly cycle.

The 1998-99 and 2003-04 surveys each had a sample of about 7,000 households.


  • Country of birth
  • Year of arrival
  • Month of arrival in Australia in last financial year (2003-04 survey only)


A full list of data items collected for the 2003-04 cycle of the HES and the Survey of Income and Housing are available in Household Expenditure Survey and Survey of Income and Housing: User Guide, 2003-04 (cat. no. 6503.0).

The User Guide also describes the definitions, concepts, methodology and estimation procedures used in the HES and the Survey of Income and Housing and contains questionnaires, lists of output data items and the Household Expenditure Classification.

For further details on scope, geographic coverage, data availability and publications, methodology, classifications and concepts visit the Household Expenditure Survey entry in the Directory of Statistical Sources.


The Migrant Data Matrices provide a link to summary data on migrants from the Household Expenditure Survey. The data items included in each datacube are not exhaustive, but rather a selection of the data available. Care must be taken in comparing data from different collections presented in the Matrices due to differences in survey methodology, definitions and reference periods.

Additional data are also available in the publications Household Income and Income Distribution, Australia (cat. no. 6523.0) and Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: Summary of Results (cat. no. 6530.0).


For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service.

Phone: 1300 135 070
Fax: 1300 135 211
Post: Client Services, ABS, GPO Box 796, Sydney 2001
Email: client.services@abs.gov.au