4671.0 - Household Energy Consumption Survey, User Guide, Australia, 2012  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/09/2013  First Issue
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The HECS collects information with respect to households and all the people comprising those households. It is therefore possible to produce aggregate data from the survey to households, persons, or combinations of persons within the household such as income units. Analysts can choose the unit of analysis most suited to their purposes. The data item list referred to in the Downloads tab of this product shows which data items are available for each unit type supported by the HECS.


A household consists of one or more persons, at least one of whom is at least 15 years of age, usually resident in the same private dwelling. The persons in a household may or may not be related. They must live wholly within one dwelling. A group of people who make common provision for food and other essentials of living but live in two separate dwellings are in two separate households.

Most of the published output from the HECS uses the household as the unit of analysis and relates to household characteristics.

Income units

An income unit is one person, or a group of related persons within a household, whose command over income is assumed to be shared. Income sharing is assumed to take place within married (registered or de facto) couples, and between parents and dependent children. The income unit is similar, but not identical, to the unit used in determining the eligibility of people for many government pensions and allowances such as Centrelink payments.

Income data and selected income unit characteristics are available on an income unit basis from the HECS, although they are not included in any published tables from the survey.


Data at the person level are available for each person aged 15 years and over usually resident in the households included in the HECS. Data relating to characteristics of children aged under the age of 15 years are only available at the household level.


A household may have one or more loans, and data are available for the characteristics of each loan. These characteristics include the main purpose of the loan, its security, the amount borrowed, and the principal outstanding and weekly repayment, although they are not included in detail in any published tables from the surveys.


Data on the longitudinal level are available for items collected during each follow-up interview with a household. Households could choose to participate in up to four follow-up questionnaires after their household interview. Questionnaires were sent every three months (up to a maximum of four times) until March 2013 and asked information about household energy consumption and any major changes to their dwelling impacting on their energy consumption were collected.

Units used in HECS published output

In published HECS output, the household is adopted as the basic unit of analysis of expenditure and consumption data because it is assumed that sharing of the use of household energy sources occurs at this level. If smaller units, say persons, are adopted, then it is difficult to know how to attribute the use of energy to individual household members.

Similarly, estimates of net worth are published using the household as the basic unit of analysis.