Income information relates primarily to regular/recurring cash income only.
Information was collected about the personal income and household income of all persons aged 15 years and over in the 2014-15 NHS.
Personal income data was used in cross-tabulations for the National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15 and Health Service Usage and Health Related Actions based on a sample of 15,396 people aged 15 years and over.
In 2014-15 NHS, the adult respondent within each household was asked to provide information about the combined income of all non-selected household members aged 15 years and over. Personal income data was also collected from the selected respondents aged 15 years and over contributed to the overall household income.
The adult respondent was asked for the applicable combined income total from all sources, before income tax, salary sacrifice or anything else was taken out, and the period that total amount covered (e.g. weekly, fortnightly, etc).
In cases where income was not reported, values were not imputed and missing data appears as 'Not stated' or 'Not known' values in survey output. If any contributing income item at the person level has a value of 'Not stated' or 'Not known', then totals derived from these items are also set to 'Not stated' or 'Not known'.
Total cash income at the household level, in weekly dollar amounts is available for:
Both of these were also derived into deciles.
The cut-offs for the decile items were calculated using data from 2014-15 NHS and has been applied to the 2014-15 NHS data items. Those with 0 income were included in the first decile. For further information see Household and Family Characteristics
Decile cut-off tables are available in Appendix 5: Income Deciles
Personal income was collected in the 2014-15 NHS for selected respondents aged 15 years and over.
'Gross cash income' refers to total cash (in dollar amounts) income from all sources before tax or anything else (except business expenses) is taken out. Respondents were asked to report.
- The gross cash income they currently received from: wages or salary, a government pension or allowance, child support or maintenance, superannuation or annuity, workers' compensation or any other regular source. The period to which that reported income related could be recorded in weeks, fortnights, four weeks, calendar months, years or other.
- The gross cash income they expected to receive from profit or loss from their own unincorporated business or share in a partnership; profit or loss from rental property; or dividends or interest in the current financial year. Provision was made to record nil income.
Income from all sources was combined to produce a total personal cash income, which is usually expressed for output in annual or weekly income ranges. Incomes in reported dollar amounts and in deciles are stored on the data file.
Wages or salaries
Respondents were asked whether they received income from wages and salaries (including from their own incorporated business), and if so, how much, and the period the amount covered. This topic included wages and salaries from all jobs, whether full-time or part-time; wages and salaries paid to a respondent from their own incorporated business; and commissions paid to sales staff. It excluded dividends received from shares in an incorporated business; and Newstart or Youth Allowance received under the Work for the Dole Scheme.
Government pensions, allowances or benefits
Respondents were then asked whether they currently received any government pensions, allowances or benefits. If so, they were asked whether they received any of the following pensions, allowances or benefits (shown on a prompt card):
- Australian Age Pension
- Service Pension from the Department of Veteran's Affairs. Exclude Defence Force superannuation benefits.
- Disability Support Pension from Centrelink
- Newstart Allowance
- Carer Payment
- Partner Allowance
- Widow Allowance from Centrelink
- Wife Pension
- Sickness Allowance
- Special benefit.
Only one of these pensions, benefits or allowances could be selected. If any of the above were selected, the amount received and the period that amount covered were asked.
They were then asked whether they currently received any of the following pensions, allowances or benefits (shown on a prompt card):
- Family Tax Benefit as a regular payment from the Family Assistance Office
- Parenting Payment
- Youth Allowance
- Carer Allowance
- War Widow's or Widower's Pension from the Department of Veterans' Affairs, including Income Support Supplement
- Disability Pension from the Department of Veterans' Affairs
- Overseas Government Pension
- Any other government payment.
More than one response was allowed. If any of the above were selected, the amount in total received from the pension/allowance and the period that amount covered were asked.
If respondents reported that they currently received Family Tax Benefit (FTB) as regular payments from the Family Assistance Office (and had reported receiving income from other pensions, allowances or benefits as well), they were asked for the amount received from Family Tax Benefit payment and the period that amount covered. FTB is an Australian Government benefit to assist with the cost of raising children that consists of two components:
- Part A, the basic benefit, which is income assessed
- Part B, which gives assistance to sole parent families and to two parent families with one main income where one parent chooses to stay at home or to balance some paid work with caring for their children. The amount received is income assessed.
Both Part A and Part B were included in this topic.
FTB can be paid:
- As fortnightly payments from the Family Assistance Office.
- As a lump sum through the tax system. The recipient in this case can anticipate the lump sum by asking their employer to take less tax out of their wages during the year.
- As a lump sum paid at the end of the financial year on the basis of the Australian Taxation Office’s assessment of recipient and recipient’s partner taxable income.
- The recipient can choose to receive some of their entitlement in fortnightly payments and some as a lump sum after the end of the financial year.
In most cases the period for FTB payments will be fortnightly. However a period is asked to cover circumstances where a person may receive a lump sum advance of their fortnightly payment of FTB from the Family Assistance Office.
Child support and maintenance/Superannuation, annuities and private pensions/Workers' Compensation
Respondents were then asked whether they currently received any income from the following sources
(shown on a prompt card):
- Child support or maintenance
- Superannuation, an annuity
or private pension
- Workers' compensation.
More than one response was allowed and respondents were asked for the amount received and the period that amount covered for each income source.
Profit or loss from rental investment property/Unincorporated businesses/Dividends from shares
Where applicable, and in relation to the financial year, respondents were then asked to report::
- Expected profit or loss from rental investment property.
- Expected profit or loss from their own unincorporated business or share in a partnership (excluding wages/salary drawn from respondent's own incorporated (limited liability) companies).
- Expected dividends from shares (including dividends from own limited liability business as well as other companies, and dividends paid in cash and dividends paid in the form of shares (i.e. as part of a dividend reinvestment plan), but excluding the value of any bonus shares received, or money received from the sale of shares).
- Expected interest .
Where the respondent was a registered dealer, income from share trading was recorded as business income. In other cases, income from share trading was recorded as 'other regular income'.
Persons who reported income from any of the above sources were asked to report the amount expected to be received from each of these sources in the current financial year (before tax but after business expenses). 'Don't know' and 'refusal' options were allowed.
Finally, respondents were asked to report any other current income sources, the amount received and the period that amount covered.
Sources of income are classified as follow:
- Wage or salary
- Profit or loss from own unincorporated business or share in partnership
- Any government pension or allowance (including Family Tax benefit if received as a payment from Centrelink)
- Profit or loss from rental property
- Dividends or interest
- Child support or maintenance
- Superannuation or annuity
- Workers' compensation
- Other regular source.
'Main source of personal cash
income (weekly)' and 'Type of government pension or allowance received' are also available for output.
'Cash income of respondent (weekly)($)' at the personal level is available as a continuous variable as well as a derived decile version. Deciles are further explained in the Household and Family characteristics
sub-section and the cut-offs used are available in Appendix 5: Income deciles
The questionnaire, data items and related output categories for this topic are available in pdf/Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads
page of this product.
Points to be considered in interpreting this topic include the following:
- The approach used in the survey relies on the selected respondent's (aged 15 years and over) knowledge of their personal income and the selected adult's knowledge of the income of other household members, and their willingness to report that information, which they may see as sensitive.
- Collection of household income only allowed positive incomes to be reported. However, on the NHS data file household income data includes negative incomes due to negative incomes being reportable as part of the personal income data collected from selected persons.
- The 2014-15 NHS was conducted during the 2014-15 financial year, so respondents were referring to this financial year when answering the income questions.
Comparability with 2011-12
Income data are considered directly comparable between the 2014-15 and 2011-12 NHS.