4906.0.55.003 - Personal Safety Survey, Australia: User Guide, 2016  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/11/2017   
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INCOME (RESPONDENT/CURRENT PARTNER/HOUSEHOLD)

POPULATION

Information was obtained from men and women aged 18 years and over in the 2016 PSS.

In addition, where a respondent has a current partner they are living with and/or live with other members in the household aged 15 years and over, information about their income was also collected.

DEFINITION

This topic refers to the sources of income and amount/s of income available to the selected respondent, their current partner (where applicable) and other members present in the household aged 15 years and over.

Couple income

Total income for couple income was calculated using combined respondent and current partner weekly income amounts. As it is not possible to derive couple income without both contributing amounts, where the respondent or current partner income had been refused, the couple income was set to ‘Refusal’. After this, if either income amount was not known, the couple income was set to ‘Not known’

Household income

Household income was calculated using the collected income from the respondent, their current partner (where applicable) and the combined personal gross weekly income received by all of the other household usual residents aged 15 years and over.

As it is not possible to derive household income without all contributing amounts, where one or more contributing income amounts in a household had been refused to be provided, the household income was set to ‘Refusal’. After this, if one or more contributing income amounts was not known, the household income was set to ‘Not known’.

Equivalised household income

Equivalence scales are used to make adjustments to the actual incomes of households so that the relative well-being of households of differing sizes and compositions are able to be compared. For example, it would be expected that a two-person household would usually need more income than a lone person household, if the two households are to enjoy the same standard of living.

Equivalised income is calculated by deriving an equivalence factor according to the chosen equivalence scale, and then dividing income by the factor. The equivalence factor, derived using the 'modified OECD' equivalence scale, is determined by allocating the following points to each person in a household:

  • The first adult in the household is given a weight of 1 point
  • Each additional person aged 15 years or older is allocated 0.5 points
  • Each child aged 0–14 years is allocated 0.3 points

Equivalised household income is derived by dividing the total household income by a factor equal to the sum of the equivalence points allocated to the household members. The equivalised income of a lone person household is the same as its unequivalised income. The equivalised income of a household comprising more than one person lies between the total value and the per capita value of its unequivalised income.

When unequivalised household income is negative, such as when a loss is reported for an individual's unincorporated business or other investment income, and this loss is greater than the positive income from other sources, then equivalised household income is set to 0.

Income deciles

Deciles are groupings that result from ranking all persons in the population in ascending order according to some characteristic, such as income, and then dividing the population into 10 equal groups, each comprising 10% of the estimated population. The first decile contains the lowest 10%, the second decile contains the next 10% and so on.

In the 2016 PSS, income deciles are calculated on the weighted population and output for:
  • Personal gross weekly income
  • Couple gross weekly income
  • Household gross weekly income
  • Equivalised household gross weekly income

In addition deciles for current partner gross weekly income were produced using the cut-offs calculated for personal gross weekly income.

Refer to Appendix 1: Income Deciles for income decile cut-offs applied.

METHODOLOGY

Personal income and sources

To obtain personal gross weekly income, the respondent was asked about their source/s of income and total amount received based on the following:
  • Wages and salary (includes own incorporated business)
  • Profit or loss from own unincorporated business or share in a partnership
  • Profit or loss from rental investment property
  • Any government pension, benefit or allowance
  • Superannuation, an annuity or private pension
  • Any other regular source

Personal gross weekly income (i.e. pre-tax income) is output in single dollar values, or they may have responded that they did not know or did not wish to answer (refusal).

More than one source of income could be reported. A collective total amount of income received from all sources was requested as well as the time period the income covered.

Where a respondent indicated that they earned income from any of the following two sources they were asked to specify whether the income was a profit or loss;
  • Profit or loss from own unincorporated business or share in a partnership
  • Profit or loss from rental property
This results in both positive and negative income amounts being presented in the data.

The respondent was able to refuse or identify they didn’t know their income amount, and they were coded to this response.

Current partner income and sources

Where the respondent had a current partner living with them, they were also asked to provide their current partner’s source/s of income and amount/s received. This information is used to produce both current partner income and couple income. The collective total income received from all sources for the current partner was requested as well as the time period the income covered.

Where the respondent identified that their current partner’s earned income was from any of the two sources:
  • Profit or loss from own unincorporated business or share in a partnership
  • Profit or loss from rental property
they were asked to specify whether the income was a profit or loss. This results in both positive and negative income amounts being presented in the data.

The respondent was able to refuse to provide their current partner’s income amount, and they were coded to a refusal category. Where a respondent was not sure about their current partner’s income amount, they were asked to provide their best estimate. In cases where this was not possible, income was identified as not known. Interviewers were instructed that they and the respondent were not to obtain the current partner’s income directly from the current partner. The response from the respondent was taken as the answer.

Income of other members in household

Respondents were also asked to provide information about the combined pre-tax income of all non-selected household members (excl. their current partner) aged 15 years and over.

Where a respondent was not sure about the combined income of other persons, they were asked to provide their best estimate. In cases where this was not possible, income was identified as not known. If the respondent refused to provide an amount, income was identified as refused.

Interviewers were instructed that they and the respondent were not to obtain the income amount from other persons in the household. The response from the respondent was taken as the answer.

Main source of income of household

Respondents were asked to think about all sources of income (including type of pension if applicable) coming into the household and provide the household’s main source of income (i.e. the household’s largest source of income). Both the respondent’s and current partner’s income source(s) were considered as part of providing this data.

DATA ITEMS

The data items and related output categories for this topic for both respondent and current partner, are contained within the SPS Level – Income tab, or within the Household level tab (for household income) in the data item list which is available in Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads tab of this product.

DATA USES

Data for this topic has been collected to provide further analytical possibilities around characteristics of people who experience violence. Current partner data for this topic can be used to provide further analytical possibilities about understanding the experiences and nature of domestic violence, including the characteristics of the victim and the perpetrator.

Data from this topic should not be used to only produce population estimates of income statistics. The data should only be used in conjunction with other data related to experiences of violence collected in this survey.

INTERPRETATION

Points to be considered when interpreting data for this topic include the following:
  • Details on the gross income of the current partner are collected via the selected respondent. Therefore the information is based on the knowledge the selected respondent has of their partner’s income. The option to refuse or identify that they didn’t know the answer was available and is identified by additional categories in the current partner output items. However in some cases the respondent may have provided their best guess, and as such there may be a small number of cases where the responses may not be correct. This is not expected to impact the quality of this data generally but should be considered when using these items.
  • Responses to these questions are based on the current situation of the respondent and may not be reflective of their available income at the time of particular experiences of violence, stalking or sexual harassment. Care should therefore be taken when making inferences for incidents that occurred in particular more than 12 months ago.
  • When analysing income, it may be useful to analyse in combination with financial stress which is the respondent’s perception of being able to raise money in time of crisis or emergency.
  • In cases where income from respondent, partner, couple or household was not reported, values were not imputed and will appear as either ‘Not stated’ or ‘Refusal’. The level of ‘Not stated’ and ‘Refusal’ was 25.4% for the household, 8.1% for the respondent and 14.4% for the current partner (only asked of respondents with a current partner).
  • The income data collected in this survey is not designed to produce estimates about the level of income in the population. Surveys such as the Household Income and Wealth, Australia, 2015-16 (cat. no. 6523.0) are more appropriate sources of this data. The income data produced from the PSS should therefore only be used in conjunction with other violence prevalence data.

COMPARABILITY WITH PREVIOUS SURVEYS

Personal gross weekly income, current partner weekly income, couple income, household income, and deciles are comparable with 2005 and 2012.

Due to different survey processing procedures performed in the Women’s Safety Survey (WSS) 1996, income data is not considered comparable with 2016.

Note: The 1996 WSS had a high level of imputation applied to the data, with 30% of the respondent's income and just over 50% of current partner income (for those with a current partner) not reported. In the PSS, incomes that have not been reported have been left as not reported. Therefore care should be taken if comparing income data from the PSS with the WSS. For more information on income imputation in the 1996 WSS, refer to the Women's Safety Survey: User Guide, 1996 (cat. no. 4129.0).