This publication presents a summary of the findings from the 2019–20 Survey of Income and Housing (SIH). The survey collected detailed information about the income, wealth and household characteristics of persons aged 15 years and over in private dwellings throughout Australia, excluding very remote areas.
The Survey of Income and Housing, User Guide, Australia, 2019–20, referred to as the User Guide, is intended to assist users ability to understand and utilise results from the SIH.
The SIH was conducted continuously from 1994–95 to 1997–98, and then in 1999–2000, 2000–01 and 2002–03. From 2003–04 the SIH was conducted every two years. The 2019–20 SIH collected information from a sample of 15,011 households over the period July 2019 to June 2020.
Previous surveys of household income were conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in 1979, 1982, 1986 and 1990. These surveys were generally conducted over a two-month period, compared to a twelve-month period for the SIH. The SIH also included improvements to the survey weighting and estimation procedures, changes to the scope and coverage of household income and changes to interviewing methods from 1994–95 onwards.
In 2003–04, 2009–10 and 2015–16 the SIH was integrated with the Household Expenditure Survey (HES). In 2005–06, 2007–08, 2011–12, 2013–14, 2017–18 and 2019–20, the SIH was run as a stand-alone survey.
Changes in this issue
Key changes in 2019–20 compared with 2017–18 include:
- collection methodology for 2019–20 included the introduction of an online form (formally; computer assisted web interview, or CAWI), where the respondent could self report (without interviewer assistance). As a result, estimates may not be directly comparable to previous cycles (See collection Method section for more information).
- a general review of the questions, populations and sequencing was undertaken to optimise survey content for online collection
- the Household Form was redesigned as part of the Integrated Household Surveys Program to produce common content across various household surveys
- cyclical housing content was collected this cycle, including changes in rent payments which was last collected in 2007–08
- the child care module was largely restructured for online collection and to address payment changes. The Child Care Rebate (CCR) and Child Care Benefit (CCB) were no longer collected for children aged 12 and under. The Child Care Subsidy (CCS) replaces the CCR and CCB and is now collected for children aged 13 and under.
- superannuation: use of lump sum payments is not collected
- financial stress indicators have been altered comparative to what was collected in the combined SIH and HES from 2015-16 (HIES) ie. the $500 emergency funds, heat cool home, dental treatment. Additional content on financial behaviours and resilience have been included, in line with the General Social Survey
- Additional content on financial behaviours and resilience have been included, in line with the General Social Survey
- Social transfers in kind (STIK) data is no longer collected in cyclical housing years
- changes in Government payments and allowances categories to reflect Department of Social Security reporting (such as Newstart allowance changed to JobSeeker allowance)
- family changes and smoking status modules were not collected for this cycle.