1287.0 - Standards for Income Variables, 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/03/2010   
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Annual income

All income obtained from all sources over a period of a year. It can relate to the previous financial year, the last 12 months as at the date of interview, or the current financial year.


See Superannuation pensions/annuities


Economic resources, both financial or non-financial, owned by the household or its members, and from which economic benefits may be derived by holding or use over a period of time.

Capital transfers

The acquisition or disposal of assets when the receiving party makes no payment to the provider of the asset, for example inheritances, lump sum retirement benefits.

Cash receipts

Money received in the form of currency, negotiable instruments such as cheques, or through electronic transfer on behalf of the recipient.

Child support

Cash transfers from a non-custodial parent.

Conceptual definition of income

See Nominal Definition of income

Current consumption

Services and non-durable consumer goods (i.e. goods which have a single use or an otherwise limited life of less than one year) that are used by persons or households for the direct satisfaction of their individual needs or wants.

Current income

Income received or expected to be received in a given reference period. Depending on the nature of the income item the reference period varies. For regular recurring payments it may be the last payment or pay period before interview. For less regular payments, income in the last three months, or the current financial year may be collected.

Current receipts

See Current income

Current transfers

Transactions, other than those classified as capital transfers, in which one entity provides a non-durable good (i.e. good with a single use or an otherwise limited life of less than one year), service or cash to another entity without receiving from the latter anything of economic value in return.

Current transfers offset against expenditure

Current transfers that are treated as negative expenditures rather than as income. Examples are gambling winnings and non-life insurance claims.


A grouping derived by ranking all units in the population in ascending order according to some continuous variable such as their income and dividing the ranked population into ten equal groups, each comprising 10% of the population.


The reduction in value of an asset held over time, generally brought about by the use of the asset.

Disposable income

Total or gross income net of income tax and the Medicare levy.


Gross income received from investments such as the ownership of shares. Includes dividends reinvested and franking credits.


A person who works for a public or private employer and receives remuneration in wages, salary, a retainer fee from their employer while working on a commission basis, tips, piece-rates or payment in kind; or a person who operates his or her own incorporated enterprise with or without hiring employees.

Employee income

A person's total remuneration, whether monetary or in kind, received in return for labour from an employer or from a person's own incorporated business. It comprises wages and salaries, bonuses, amounts salary sacrificed, non-cash benefits such as the use of motor vehicles and subsidised housing, and termination payments.Employers' social contributions

Payments by employers to social insurance schemes for the benefit of their employees. Includes employers' contributions to workers' compensation insurance, superannuation schemes and the provision of subsidised social infrastructure such as employer owned social centres, medical facilities, etc.

Employment income

Income earned by employees and by self-employed persons in their own incorporated or unincorporated businesses.

Equivalised total household income

Total household income that has been adjusted using an equivalence scale. Equivalence scales are used to adjust the actual incomes of households in a way that enables the analysis of the relative well-being of people living in households of different size and composition. Also see Modified OECD equivalence scale.

Family unit

Two or more persons, one of whom is at least 15 years of age, who are related by blood, marriage (registered or de facto), adoption, step relationship or fostering; and who are usually resident in the same household. The basis of a family is formed by identifying the presence of a couple relationship, lone parent-child relationship or other blood relationship. Some households will, therefore, contain more than one family.

Final income

Disposable income plus government social transfers in kind, less taxes relevant to households (also referred to as taxes on production).

Financial support from family members not living in household

Receipts, whether monetary or in kind, received from family members not living in the recipient's household.

Gini coefficient

A single statistic that lies between 0 and 1 and is a summary indicator of the degree of inequality. Values closer to 0 represent a lesser degree of inequality, and values closer to 1 represent greater inequality.Government pensions and allowances

Income support payments from government to persons under social security and related government programs. This includes pensions and allowances received by aged, disabled, unemployed and sick persons, families and children, veterans or their survivors, and study allowances for students. Also includes overseas pensions and benefits, although some may not be paid by overseas governments. One-off payments to support current consumption are also included, such as carer’s lump sum payments, Baby Bonus (formerly known as Maternity Payment) and Child Disability Assistance Payment paid to recipients of Carer Allowance.

Government social transfers in kind

Non-cash benefits and services provided by the government to households for education, health, housing, social security and welfare. It includes reimbursements of approved expenditures for goods and services such as the Medicare Rebate, the Private Health Insurance Rebate, the Child Care Benefit, the Child Care Tax Rebate and Commonwealth Rent Assistance.

Gross income

See Total income

Holding gains or losses

Holding gains or losses refer to changes in the value of financial and non-financial assets and liabilities over a reference period. A holding gain, the result of an increase in the value of assets or a reduction in the value of liabilities, increases the net worth of the owner's assets while a loss has the opposite effect.


A person living alone or a group of related or unrelated people who usually reside in the same private dwelling.

Household collections

Surveys, censuses or administrative data sets containing information about persons, income units, families or households.

Household income

All current receipts, whether monetary or in kind, that are received by the household or by individual members of the household, and which are available for, or intended to support, current consumption by the household.

Household production of services for own consumption

Services provided by use of owner-occupied or subsidised rental housing, i.e. imputed rent, and by unpaid household work. Household unit

See Household

Imputed rent

The flow of household consumption services conferred by home ownership or by households paying subsidised rent or occupying their dwelling rent-free. Gross imputed rent is the estimated market rent that a dwelling would attract if it were to be commercially rented. Net imputed rent is gross imputed rent less the housing costs normally incurred by landlords.

In kind income

Receipts other than cash receipts (as defined), including goods and services, use of a vehicle, and subsidised housing or other non-cash benefits.


See Household income

Income unit

One person or a group of related persons within a household, whose income is usually shared. Income sharing is assumed to take place within married (registered or de facto) couples, and between parents and dependent children.

Incorporated business

A business enterprise possessing a separate legal identity from its owners, limiting their liability for any action or inaction of the corporation. The outright owner of an incorporated business is seen as an employee of that business and their remuneration is classified as Employee income.


Gross receipts accrued from deposits (including term deposits) with financial institutions and receipts (excluding principal repayments) from loans to persons in other households.Investment income

Receipts that arise from the ownership of assets that are provided to others for their use. It includes returns from financial and non-financial assets and royalties.


Obligations or debts owed to another person or company, including bank loans and accounts payable.

Main source of income

The source from which a person, income unit, family or household receives the greatest amount of income, both monetary and in-kind.

Modified OECD equivalence scale

A scale used to calculate equivalised household income. The first adult in the household has a weight of one point, each additional person who is 15 years or older is allocated 0.5 points, and each child under 15 years is allocated 0.3 points. The sum of the equivalence points derived for the household is divided into total household income to calculate equivalised income.


Money in the form of currency, negotiable instruments such as cheques, or electronic transfer of funds.

Negative income

The loss incurred from rental property, the purchase of shares or units in public unit trusts, or by an unincorporated business, where the total of interest paid, other operating expenses and depreciation exceed the gross receipts. Excludes capital losses incurred from the sale of assets.

Net worth

The difference between the value of household assets (both financial and non-financial) and the value of household liabilities. Net worth is positive when the value of a household's assets exceeds the value of its liabilities. Net worth is negative when household liabilities exceed household assets.

Nominal definition

A definition that states what should, in principle, be included/excluded in a comprehensive measure of income, without regard to the feasibility of capturing the information required.

Non-cash income

See In kind incomeOperating expenses

The expenses incurred in deriving income from an unincorporated enterprise or rental property, including wages and salaries paid to employees, interest, rent, indirect taxes, and repairs and maintenance costs.

Operational income measures

Income items that are actually measured and contribute to income estimates. These are more limited in scope than the conceptual definition of income, due to data availability constraints and other operational considerations.

Payments from accident/sickness insurance

Payments from income protection insurance or life insurance annuities. Excludes workers' compensation payments from compulsory employer schemes.

Person unit

Individual members of households.

Private income

Total income less all benefits received from government, both monetary and in kind.

Production of household services for own consumption

Activities undertaken by a household that could be purchased in the market place. Includes unpaid domestic services such as cleaning, and the use of household assets such as houses and consumer durables such as fridges and televisions. See also Imputed rent.


The net receipts of an enterprise after deducting operating expenses and the value of depreciation of assets used in production. The concept also applies to income from rental properties.

Property income

Receipts accruing as a result of the ownership of assets. It comprises returns from financial assets (interest, dividends), from physical assets (rents) and from intellectual assets (royalties).Quantile

A grouping derived by ranking all units in the population in ascending order according to some continuous variable such as their income and dividing the ranked population into equal groups, each comprising a given equal percentage of the population. See, for example, 'Decile' and 'Quintile'.

Question module

A set of questions designed to collect data for the measurement of a particular variable or group of related variables.


A grouping derived by ranking all units in the population in ascending order according to some continuous variable such as their income and dividing the ranked population into five equal groups, each comprising 20% of the population.

Rental income

Profit or loss from rental properties after expenses such as interest, land rates, insurance and repairs and maintenance costs are deducted.


Payments made to the owners of intellectual property rights in return for the right to use the intellectual property.


Payments to students other than those paid as part of a government income support program, i.e. Youth Allowance, Austudy and ABSTUDY. Includes scholarships provided by government funded educational institutions.

Self-employment income

The profit or loss that accrues to owners of, or partners in, their own unincorporated business(es). Profit or loss is the value of the gross output of the enterprise (including the estimated value of goods and services produced for barter as well as goods produced for own consumption) less the deduction of operating expenses. It excludes profits from capital investments of partners who do not work in these enterprise, i.e. silent partners.

Source of income

The variable that classifies persons, income units, families and households according to the sources from which the unit receives income.

Statistical unit

The basic unit for which information is sought and for which statistics are compiled. The main statistical units for income data are: person, income unit, family, and household.Superannuation pensions and annuities

Receipts from superannuation funds and other retirement investment plans. Excludes retirement benefits paid as a lump sump.

Total income

Income from all sources, whether monetary or in kind, before income tax and the Medicare levy are deducted.


Income, both monetary and in kind, which are not paid as a return for labour or the use of capital. Includes government pensions and allowances and transfers from private organisations such as charities and other households.

Transfers from non-profit institutions

Money, goods and services provided free or at a subsidised rate to households by charities and other organisations whose status does not permit them to be a source of profit to the units that establish or control them.

Transfers from other households

Money, goods and services provided free or at a subsidised rate to households by private individuals who do not reside with the recipients. This includes child support, financial support from family members not living in the household, and any other transfers from other households.

Unincorporated business

A business enterprise that does not possess a separate legal identity from its owners, who bear full liability for any action or inaction of the business.

Unincorporated business income

See Self-employment income

Usual income

The income usually received around the time of a given reference period. Where there is significant variation from period to period, it is sometimes necessary to take an average of all receipts over a longer period, for example, the average of the three payments before interview.

Workers' compensation payments

Payments to workers injured as a result of their employment to compensate for foregone earnings and to meet ongoing medical costs.

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