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USING 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 SIH. 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.
In some analyses, it is useful to describe a household or income unit using characteristics that are attributes of persons. For example, the analyst may wish to classify households into 'older households' and 'younger households'. One approach used is to designate one member of the household or income unit as the reference person and assume that the characteristics of that person are descriptive of the household or income unit more generally. The reference person is chosen through a set of operating procedures designed to identify the person most likely to be representative of the household or income unit. Households or income units can then be classified according to the age of the reference person, occupation of the reference person, country of birth of the reference person, etc.
Household reference person
The reference person for each household is chosen by applying a selection criteria, to all household members aged 15 years and over. The selection criteria below is applied in the order listed, until a single appropriate reference person is identified:
For example, in a household containing a lone parent (owner with a mortgage) with a non-dependent child, the one with the higher tenure - i.e. the lone parent - will become the reference person. However, if both individuals have the same tenure (e.g. a couple, owners with a mortgage), the one with the highest income will become the reference person.
Income unit reference person
The reference person for an income unit is the male partner in a couple income unit, the parent in a lone-parent income unit and the person in a one-person income unit.
The Census and Statistics Act, 1905 provides the authority for the ABS to collect statistical information, and requires that statistical output shall not be published or disseminated in a manner that is likely to enable the identification of a particular person or organisation. This requirement means that the ABS must take care and make assurances that any statistical information about individual respondents cannot be derived from published data.
Some techniques used to guard against identification or disclosures of confidential information in statistical tables are suppression of sensitive cells, random adjustments to cells with very small values, and aggregation of data.
To protect the confidentiality of individuals, a technique called perturbation is used to randomly adjust cell values in the SIH published outputs. Perturbation involves small random adjustment of the statistics and is considered the most satisfactory technique for avoiding the release of identifiable statistics while maximising the range of information that can be released. These adjustments have a negligible impact on the underlying pattern of the statistics.
After perturbation, a given published cell value will generally be consistent across all tables. However, adding up cell values to derive a total will not necessarily give the same result as published totals.
The introduction of perturbation in publications ensures that these statistics are consistent with statistics released via services such as Table Builder. To protect confidentiality within SIH publications, some cell values may have been suppressed and are not available for publication but included in totals where applicable.
Future customised data requests from the 2017–18 SIH will also utilise the same technique
DATA ITEM LIST
For details of the data items available from the 2017–18 SIH see the Excel data cube from the 'downloads' tab of this publication.
This publication describes the definitions, concepts, methodology and estimation procedures used in the 2017–18 SIH. Additional material available as part of this publication includes the questionnaires, interviewer prompt cards and a list of SIH output data items and classifications available from the 'downloads' tab.
Income and Wealth
'Household Income and Wealth, Australia, 2017–18' presents key information about household income and wealth from the 2017–18 SIH. It incorporates information previously presented as fact sheets in Household Income and Income Distribution, Australia, 2011–12. It includes estimates of household income and wealth, classified by various characteristics of the households and their residents such as income quintile, main source of household income, family composition, tenure type, age and employment status. It also includes summary child care usage and cost information and superannuation information.
Housing Occupancy and Costs
'Housing Occupancy and Costs' presents data from the 2017–18 SIH on Australian housing occupancy and costs, and it relates these to characteristics of occupants and dwellings such as tenure, family composition of household, dwelling structure, age, income and main source of income. It also includes the value of dwelling estimates and information on recent home buyers.
The methodologies for imputed rent estimates used for 2017–18 are explained in 'Estimates of Imputed Rent, Australia, 2015–16'. The availability of imputed rent estimates allows the analysis of household income to be extended to include the imputed rental incomes that flow to people living in homes owned by the occupant and those paying subsidised rent. Such imputations allow for more meaningful comparison of the income circumstances of people living in different tenure types, and to understand changes over time in income levels and the distribution of income when tenures may also be changing over time.
All the Excel data cubes from the 2017–18 SIH will be available from the 'Downloads' tab of the publications listed above.
If the information you require is not available from the publication or the data cubes, please contact the National Information and Referral Service (NIRS) on 1300 135 070, (international callers +61 2 9268 4909) or via email <firstname.lastname@example.org>. The NIRS can be contacted from anywhere in Australia between 8:30am and 5:00pm (AEST) Monday to Friday.
Supporting material is available to assist data users in analysing the data from the survey. A representation of the computer assisted interview questionnaire, and prompt cards used in the SIH is available on the ABS website. These are available from the 'Downloads' tab of this publication.
For clients wanting to produce their own tabulations and conduct manipulations of survey estimates, microdata is accessible through a variety of products. To protect the confidentiality of individual persons and households some data items are removed from the file and the level of detail for some items is reduced. Microdata access includes:
Microdata products will be released in July 2019, including DataLab and TableBuilder. The Basic CURF for the SIH will be accessible via the publication 'Microdata: Income and Housing, Australia' from August 2019.
For more information see the Microdata Entry Page on the ABS website.
SPECIAL DATA SERVICES
The published data are only a small portion of the data collected in the surveys. The ABS offers specialised consultancy services to assist data users with more complex statistical information needs. Users may wish to have the unit record data analysed according to their own needs, or require tailored tables incorporating data items and populations as requested by them. A wide range of data items are available - the detailed list of these are available from the 'Downloads' tab of this publication.
Tables and other analytic outputs can be made available electronically or in printed form. However, as the level of detail or disaggregation increases with detailed requests, the number of contributors to data cells decreases. This may result in some requested information not being able to be released due to confidentiality or sampling variability constraints.
All specialist consultancy services attract a service charge and clients will be provided with a quote before information is supplied. If you have any questions or require any more information, please contact the NIRS on 1300 135 070, (international callers +61 2 9268 4909) or via email <email@example.com>.
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