4363.0 - National Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2017-18  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/04/2019   
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Income sources


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 2017-18 NHS.


Household income

In 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:

    • Reported
    • Equivalised.

Both of these were also derived into deciles.

The cut-offs for the decile items were calculated using data from 2017-18 NHS and has been applied to the 2017-18 NHS data items. Those with 0 income were included in the first decile. For further information see Household and family characteristics chapter. Decile cut-off tables are available in Appendix 5: Income deciles.

Personal income

Personal income was collected 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.

Main sources of weekly cash income

Output categories for main sources of weekly cash income are:
    • Wages or salary (including from own incorporated business)
    • Own unincorporated business or share in a partnership
    • Rental investment property
    • Government pension or allowance
    • Superannuation, an annuity or private pension
    • Any other regular source
    • No income source
    • Don’t know
    • Not stated
    • Refused

'Wages or salaries' 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.

'Any other regular source' includes income from sources other than those listed separately, such as, child support, workers' compensation, and scholarships.

Data items

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 2017-18 NHS was conducted during the 2017-18 financial year, so respondents were referring to this financial year when answering the income questions.

Comparability with 2014-15

Income data are comparable with 2014-15 NHS.

More information regarding comparisons between 2014-15 NHS and previous cycles is available in the National Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2014-15 (cat. no. 4363.0).