Survey of Income and Housing

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Use the 'Complete your survey' button below to create and/or log in to your ABS survey account and access your survey.

Purpose of the survey

This is an important national survey that collects information about the income, housing and living arrangements of Australian households, and how they change over time.

Your participation is an opportunity to make a real difference. The information you provide helps governments, businesses, and organisations make important decisions about income support, childcare, housing affordability, and superannuation. To find out more about this survey, please see our Frequently Asked Questions below.

Thank you. We acknowledge and value your time and effort taking part in this survey. It is only with the support of people like you that we can continue to produce the statistics that inform Australia's important decisions.

Frequently asked questions

I've been chosen to be in the Survey of Income and Housing – what is this?

If you are reading this, it's likely to be because you have found a letter in your mailbox telling you that your household has been selected to be in the Survey of Income and Housing. This is an important national survey that collects vital information about the income, housing, and living arrangements of Australian households. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has run this survey for over 20 years. Information collected from the survey is used by government, businesses, and organisations to make important decisions that can affect you, your family, and people you know.

We need your help to get it right. Thousands of households take part in this survey. Unless everyone plays their part, we can't get a true picture of the cost of living in Australia. That is why, no matter what your circumstances are, we need all people aged 15+ in your household to complete the survey. Whether you are working, receiving income support, are retired, or studying, your answers will help to make sure everyone is represented in the survey results. This means policies and support services can focus on the right areas for those who need them most.

How do I complete the survey?

If you have been selected in this survey, you will have received a letter with instructions and a secure Form Access Code for you to complete the survey online. 

The easiest way to complete the Survey of Income and Housing is online. If you can’t go online, please call us on 1800 462 609 to discuss how you can complete your survey.

If you are having trouble accessing your form, completing your survey, or have lost your Form Access Code, please call us on 1800 462 609 and an ABS officer will help you.

If we don't hear from you an interviewer may contact you at your address to help you complete your survey. ABS interviewers will always identify themselves as an ABS officer and show you their official ABS photo identification. ABS interviewers are here to help, please treat them with courtesy and consideration. They will conduct the interview using a laptop computer. We would appreciate if you could provide a table and chair for the interviewer to use.

Why was my household selected?

Each year we collect information about all aspects of life from thousands of households around Australia. We take a sample of households from all over Australia so we can build a picture that includes people from all backgrounds and lifestyles. To do this, we use a fair statistical method to randomly select households. Once we select a household, another household cannot be substituted in its place. This is because other households have already had their chance of selection. Changing the selection could mean some parts of the community are under or overrepresented.

It is very important that all selected households complete the survey to make sure the survey results represent the whole community. This means decisions made based on the results of this survey, such as the services provided by government, local councils and community groups, are made on the right information.

What will you ask me?

The Survey of Income and Housing will ask each person in your household aged 15 years and over about their income, education, housing costs and other topics. These questions allow us to produce a range of statistics about cost of living for people in Australia. Full results of the survey are available free of charge for everyone on the ABS website.

The easiest way to complete your survey is by referring to your financial records to answer relevant questions. We do not require you to provide these records or documents. Examples of records that may be useful are:

Housing Costs and Household loans:

  • Council and water rates
  • Rental agreement or rent payment information
  • Household contents insurance policy (value of contents)
  • Statements for loans including mortgages and investment loans
  • Body corporate payments
  • Solar electricity capacity (kW) and feed-in tariffs.

Income and Personal Finances:

  • Employment income including pay slips, Centrelink, and Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA) payments
  • Income from investments such as shares, trusts, dividends and rental properties
  • Income from superannuation and/or pensions (government and/or private)
  • Bank account statements
  • Superannuation account statements
  • Statements for credit card (including store cards)
  • Buy Now Pay Later statements
  • Statements for loans including car loans, personal loans and student loans (i.e., HECS or HELP loans)
  • Childcare invoices
  • Profit or loss from businesses
  • Total value of shares and other investments
  • Current value of motor vehicles (cars, motorbikes, caravans, boats, bicycles, etc.).


How is the information from this survey used? Why is it important?

Your participation in the Survey of Income and Housing will help us to produce statistics about matters that affect the whole community.

This survey provides information about the cost of living for people in Australia. The information collected is used by government, businesses, and organisations to see how different groups of people in the Australian community are impacted by existing policies, and to inform future changes to policy. This includes making decisions about housing and childcare affordability, government income support and pensions, and superannuation.

By taking part you ensure that your experiences and circumstances are part of the bigger picture of life in Australia today and help to shape policies that affect everyone in the nation.

Full results of the survey are available free of charge for everyone on the ABS website.

Which people in my household will you require to take part?

All household members over the age of 15 are included in the Survey of Income and Housing and will be asked to answer questions about their income, education, and other topics. All people completing the survey may need to refer to financial records to answer their part of the survey.

People in the household that are between 15 and 17 years of age will need the consent of a parent or guardian before they complete the survey. Alternatively, the parent or guardian can answer the survey on their behalf.

Is the survey compulsory?

The questions included in this survey are being asked under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. Under the Act, you are obliged to provide the information we are requesting, unless otherwise stated.

If you do not complete and submit your form, or answer the questions asked by the interviewer, you may be issued with a Notice of Direction, which is a legal direction to complete the Survey of Income and Housing. Failure to comply with a Notice of Direction is an offence under the Census and Statistics Act 1905 and can result in prosecution and fines of up to $313 for each day you don't participate. It is also an offence to provide false or misleading statements or information. The penalty is a fine of up to $3,130.

What happens if there are people in the household who don't speak English?

An ABS interviewer who speaks the language of the householder will conduct the interview if possible. Alternatively, arrangements can be made to organise an interpreter to conduct the interview.

Please call 1800 462 609 so that we can help you with these arrangements.

I am retired, do I still complete the survey?

Yes, if you are retired you represent an important group of Australians. We need your information to make sure ALL Australians are represented in survey results. To provide accurate statistics we need to survey a sample of households that provide a balanced representation of all households across Australia. If we didn't include retired people in the survey, we would be unable to collect accurate information on the living and financial circumstances of retired Australians.

By participating you help to ensure accurate statistics are produced to understand Australia's cost of living, and policies focus on the right areas for those who need them most. If you need help completing the survey online or would prefer to complete over the phone, please call 1800 462 609 and an ABS officer will help you.

How will you keep my information safe, secure, and confidential?

The ABS takes the security of the information you provide to us very seriously.

All ABS employees have signed a legally enforceable Undertaking of Fidelity and Secrecy in which they agree to keep any information, including personal information which they may deal with in the course of their work, private and confidential. This applies to ABS employees for the rest of their lives, even if they leave the ABS. The penalty for breaching this is two years imprisonment, a $37,560 fine, or both.

The ABS complies with the Australian Privacy Principles. If you believe the ABS has breached these principles, you can find information on how to lodge a complaint in the ABS's own Privacy Policy

Will the information I provide be combined with other data?

The information you provide may be combined with the information from other respondents to produce vital statistics about Australian households.

The ABS is committed to maximising the value of data and statistics. One way to do this is to combine data from two or more sources together. This is known as data integration. The ABS does this to create new statistics and insights that help address important questions about Australia’s communities, economy, and environment, and to save you time when responding to surveys.

The new insights created through data integration assist policy makers and researchers to better understand Australian families, communities, industry and the economy. This wider understanding can help to improve the development and delivery of government services and programs in areas such as health, infrastructure, housing and other community services.

By reusing existing data, we can also reduce the amount or frequency of information needed from our surveys, saving you time, and using public money more effectively.

We take the security of your personal information seriously. Data integration protects your privacy by removing personal information before analysis.

You can learn more about data integration of the Survey of Income and Housing by visiting our Data Integration page or the Multi-Agency Data Integration Project.

How do I know the person contacting me is from the Australian Bureau of Statistics?

You will be sent a survey guide and invitation letter in the mail to advise that you have been selected in the Survey of Income and Housing and explain the purpose of the survey. For any personal visits, our staff will always identify themselves, show you their official ABS photo identification and clearly explain the information they are seeking and how this will be used.

You may receive calls from numbers that you are not familiar with including mobile phones or ‘unknown’ numbers. This is because many of our Interviewers are teleworkers and use ABS authorised mobile phones and office phones, connected to our highly secure networks, to conduct interviews over the phone.

Remember - The ABS will never ask you to provide or confirm your bank details or tax file number (TFN).

If you are concerned, you can call us on 1800 462 609 and we can confirm your selection in the survey and the identity of the staff member who is contacting you.

I'm having trouble completing the survey online - where can I find help?

Please see our Survey Account Help page for assistance with technical difficulties and answers to frequently asked questions on creating and using an ABS Survey Account.

You can also call us on 1800 462 609 and one of our team will be happy to help you.

Where do I find my Form Access Code?

Your secure Form Access Code is included in the letter that you will receive in the mail.

You'll need this code to link the Survey of Income and Housing to your ABS Survey Account. If you are having trouble finding or using your Form Access Code, please call 1800 462 609 and an ABS officer will help you.

Who can I contact for more information?

If you need help or more information about the Survey of Income and Housing, please call us on 1800 462 609 Monday to Friday 9am to 7pm AEST (9am to 8pm during daylight savings).

For help outside these hours please leave a message with your contact details and we will call you back.

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