6503.0 - Household Expenditure Survey and Survey of Income and Housing, User Guide, Australia, 2015-16  
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SAMPLING


SCOPE AND COVERAGE

Scope

The Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) and Household Expenditure Survey (HES) collects information by personal interview from usual residents of private dwellings in urban and rural areas of Australia (excluding Very Remote areas), covering about 97% of the people living in Australia. Private dwellings are houses, flats, home units, caravans, garages, tents and other structures that were used as places of residence at the time of interview. Long-stay caravan parks are also included. These are distinct from non-private dwellings which include hotels, boarding schools, boarding houses and institutions. Residents of non-private dwellings are excluded. Usual residents excludes:

  • households that contain members of non-Australian defence forces stationed in Australia;
  • households that contain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments; and
  • households in areas defined as Very Remote - this has only a minor impact on aggregate estimates, except in the Northern Territory where such households account for about 22% of the population.

For most states and territories, the exclusion of people in Very Remote areas has only a minor impact on any aggregate estimates that are produced because they constitute just a small proportion of the population. Very Remote and Remote areas are defined by the assignment of an Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) score. ARIA is a remoteness value (a continuous variable between 0 and 15) that measures the physical distance which separates people in a particular area and where their goods, services and opportunities for social interaction may be accessed.

The ARIA categories, and how ARIA scores are calculated, are further explained in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 5 - Remoteness Structure, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.005).

Coverage

Information was collected only from usual residents. Usual residents were residents who regarded the dwelling as their own or main home. Other people present were considered to be visitors and were not asked to participate in the survey.


SAMPLE DESIGN AND SELECTION

Sample design

The SIH and HES sample were designed to produce reliable estimates for broad aggregates of income, wealth, housing and expenditure data for household residents in private dwellings of Australia, the State and Territories and for the capital cities and rest of state. More detailed estimates should be used with caution, especially for Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory due to smaller samples in these localities. For more information see the 'Reliability of Estimates' section of this publication.

The SIH and HES samples were designed together. HES is a subsample of the SIH sample and some dwellings were selected to complete both the SIH and HES questions while others were selected to complete only the SIH questions. In 2015-16 dwellings were selected through a stratified, multistage cluster design from the private dwelling framework of the ABS Population Survey Master Sample. Selections were distributed across a twelve month enumeration period so that the survey results are representative of income and expenditure patterns across the year.

For the 2015-16 SIH and HES there was an additional sample of capital city households, targeting households whose main source of income was government pensions, benefits and/or allowances. These households were enumerated using a separate sample design, and received the combined SIH and HES questionnaires. In this additional sample, dwellings were targeted using information from the previous HES (2009-10), and information from the Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA). Households were screened using a short questionnaire to identify whether pensions and benefits were likely to be the main source of income for the household. 23,870 households were screened. One in four households were selected to complete the combined SIH and HES questionnaire and diaries regardless of the screening outcome. Information from this sample were used to assess the outcomes from the screening questionnaire for the whole sub-sample.

SIH selected dwellings, sample loss and selected households

In the 2015-16 SIH, 29,815 dwellings were initially selected for the main sample. When fieldwork commenced some dwellings selected for inclusion in the main sample were found to be out of scope units. Collectively these are referred to as sample loss, and are composed of the following groups:
  • dwellings that are out of scope of the survey, under construction, demolished, or converted to non-private dwellings or non-dwellings;
  • vacant private dwellings; and
  • private dwellings that contain only visitors or out of scope residents (e.g. dwellings occupied by foreign diplomats and their dependants).

In 2015–16, the SIH sample loss was 4,883 dwellings which accounted for 16% of the selected sample.

Sometimes dwellings that have been selected for inclusion in a survey are found to comprise more than one actual dwelling because an additional residence, such as a 'granny flat', has been added to the original dwelling. In such cases, each actual dwelling becomes a separate household. For privacy reasons, residents of a selected dwelling can request that their details be provided separately from other dwelling residents. A separate household is then created for each group of residents. In 2015-16 SIH , 56 selected dwellings were split into two households and 21 were split into three or more households.

A further 7,164 (24%) did not respond at all to the questionnaire, or did not respond adequately. Most of these were not able to take part in the survey during the collection period or were contacted but either refused to respond or were not able to respond adequately. The remainder of these households included:
  • households affected by death or illness of a household member;
  • households which did not respond because due to communication barriers or because they refused to participate (7.6% of all contacted households).

126 households were excluded because the main income earners in the household did not adequately respond to questions about income sources and amounts. 229 households that were collected as part of the HES sample but did not have sufficient expenditure diary information were retained as part of the SIH sample.

Final SIH sample

Of the selected dwellings (24,932) that were contacted and in scope of the survey, 17,768 (71%) households were included as part of the final estimates.


SIH FINAL SAMPLE, 2015–16

GREATER CAPITAL CITY
REST OF STATE
TOTAL
Households
Persons (a)
Households
Persons (a)
Households
Persons (a)
no.
no.
no.
no.
no.
no.

NSW
2 212
4 357
910
1 718
3 122
6 075
Vic.
2 526
5 023
1 119
2 053
3 645
7 076
Qld
1 505
2 924
1 153
2 189
2 658
5 113
SA
1 675
3 167
1 105
1 990
2 780
5 157
WA
1 427
2 825
1 088
2 027
2 515
4 852
Tas.
709
1 279
1 104
1 976
1 813
3 255
NT
418
805
83
146
501
951
ACT
734
1 489
-
-
734
1 489
Aust.
11 206
21 869
6 562
12 099
17 768
33 968

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Number of persons aged 15 years and over

The SIH sample is not evenly balanced over the course of the year. Due to under-performance of the sample design in the first half of the collection year, a top-up sample was selected and collected from January - July 2016. The fully responding households by each half of the collection year are provided in the table below.

Weights adjust by quarter to ensure representativeness across the year.

Fully responding sample, 2015-16 collection year

July-December 2015
January-July 2016
Full Collection Period
July-December 2015
January-July 2016
Full Collection Period
no.
no.
no.
%
%
%

NSW
1 276
1 846
3 122
40.9
59.1
100
Vic.
1 622
2 023
3 645
44.5
55.5
100
Qld
1 105
1 553
2 658
41.6
58.4
100
SA
1 246
1 534
2 780
44.8
55.2
100
WA
966
1 549
2 515
38.4
61.6
100
Tas.
858
955
1 813
47.3
52.7
100
NT
227
274
501
45.3
54.7
100
ACT
316
418
734
43.1
56.9
100
Aust.
7 616
10 152
17 768
42.9
57.1
100


HES selected dwellings, sample loss and selected households

Of the selected dwellings for HES there were 17,873 households in the scope of the survey. Of this initial sample, 2,579 dwellings (14%) were excluded as no contact was able to be made (e.g, vacant dwelling, holiday homes). A further 5,220 (29%) did not respond at all to the questionnaire, or did not respond adequately. Most of these were not able to take part in the survey during the collection period or were contacted but either refused to respond or were not able to respond adequately. The remainder of these households included:
  • households affected by death or illness of a household member; and
  • households which did not respond because due to communication barriers or because they refused to participate (9.5% of all contacted households).

110 households were excluded because the main income earners in the household did not adequately respond to questions about income sources and amounts. 229 households that were collected as part of the HES sample but did not have sufficient expenditure diary information were retained as part of the SIH sample. 74 households were retained after repair to an instrument error.

In 2015-16 HES, 34 selected dwellings were split into two households and 12 were split into three or more households.

Final HES sample

Of the selected dwellings (15,294) that were contacted and in scope of the survey, 10,046 (66%) households were included as part of the final estimates.


HES FINAL SAMPLE, 2015–16

GREATER CAPITAL CITY
REST OF STATE
TOTAL
Households
Persons (a)
Households
Persons (a)
Households
Persons (a)
no.
no.
no.
no.
no.
no.

NSW
1 778
4 344
479
1 151
2 257
5 495
Vic.
2 004
4 761
386
866
2 390
5 627
Qld
1 050
2 491
439
1040
1 489
3 531
SA
1 044
2 332
254
537
1 297
2 869
WA
1 002
2 365
216
543
1 215
2 908
Tas.
557
1 242
204
428
763
1 670
NT
259
603
81
189
337
792
ACT
293
734
-
-
295
734
Aust.
7 987
18 872
2 059
4 754
10 046
23 626

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Number of persons aged 15 years and over

The HES sample is not evenly balanced over the course of the year. Due to under-performance of the sample design in the first half of the collection year, a top-up sample was selected and collected from January - July 2016. The fully responding households by each half of the collection year are provided in the table below.

Weights adjust by quarter to ensure representativeness across the year.

FULLY RESPONDING HOUSEHOLDS, 2015-16 collection year

July-December 2015
January-July 2016
Full Collection Period
July-December 2015
January-July 2016
Full Collection Period
no.
no.
no.
%
%
%

NSW
893
1 364
2 257
39.6
60.4
100.0
Vic.
980
1 410
2 390
41.0
59.0
100.0
Qld
567
922
1 489
38.1
61.9
100.0
SA
548
750
1 298
42.2
57.8
100.0
WA
470
748
1 218
38.6
61.4
100.0
Tas.
333
428
761
43.8
56.2
100.0
NT
154
186
340
45.3
54.7
100.0
ACT
119
174
293
40.6
59.4
100.0
Aust.
4 064
5 982
10 046
40.5
59.5
100.0


Additional pensioner sample

The collection methodology for the pensioner sample was a two phase approach. In the first phase, a large number of households were required to answer a number of short screening questions to identify whether they were a pensioner household. In the second phase, one in four of the in scope selected households were selected for inclusion in HES survey regardless of the screening outcome. In addition, households which were screened as pensioner households were selected for interview using the same collection methodology as for the HES. The screening questions are included in the downloads tab of this publication. For the 2015-16 additional pensioner sample, 23,870 dwellings were screened. After the screening process 5,845 households were approached to complete the SIH and HES surveys. There were 3,603 households from this approached sample that responded with sufficient information to be included within the final SIH and HES samples.