Latest release
Survey of Income and Housing, User Guide, Australia
Reference period
2019-20 financial year


The Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) collects a range of data about superannuation. This allows analysis of both the accumulation and the disbursements of superannuation by households and persons.

All superannuation information is collected at the person level. It can therefore be analysed by person or by household characteristics. For analysis of income and wealth accumulation it is usually most relevant to analyse the circumstances of the household.

Some information is also collected about the individual superannuation accounts people hold.

Personal income

Salary sacrifice superannuation arrangements of employees

This is a component of employee income and has been available since 2003–04. The relevant person level data item is:

  • Current weekly employee income salary sacrificed for superannuation

Superannuation contributions paid to employees by their employer at a level that exceeds the minimum compulsory contributions

This is a component of employee income and has been available since 2003–04. The relevant person level data item is:

  • Current weekly benefit from employer provided superannuation (above minimum - non salary sacrifice)

From 1 July 2002 to 30 June 2013, the superannuation guarantee rate was 9%, which then rose to 9.25% for the 2013–14 financial year, then to 9.5% as of 1 July 2014 and then remained at 9.5% as of 1 July 2015. However some individual workplace agreements or enterprise bargaining agreements provide for employer superannuation contributions that exceed these rates. Respondents may therefore interpret this question in different ways.

Regular income from superannuation, annuities or private pensions

This is a component of 'Other income' and is available for current income financial year income. It has been collected in all previous cycles of the SIH and its precursors. The relevant person level data items is:

  • Current weekly income from superannuation/annuity/private pension

This is the only retirement income from superannuation, annuities and private pensions that contributes to estimates of current and previous financial year household and personal income. Irregular lump sum withdrawals are not included in this measure of income.

Superannuation funds

​​​​​​​Balance in superannuation funds

This is a component of financial assets and has been available since 2003–04 in every SIH except for 2007–08, when wealth data was not collected. The relevant person level data item is:

  • Balance of total superannuation accounts

Respondents were encouraged to refer to their last superannuation statement for fund balances.

​​​​​​​Superannuation accounts

From 2013–14, information is available about the individual superannuation accounts people held. The complete list of data items for 2019–20 SIH are available from the 'Downloads' tab of this publication as an Excel spreadsheet, and super account items can be found under the 'Superannuation accounts' section on the 'Person' level. The different types of information are:

  • income by type of pension or annuity
  • total number of superannuation or retirement benefit scheme accounts
  • number of retirement schemes currently paying regular income by type of pension and their balance
  • number of retirement schemes currently paying no regular income and their balance
  • oldest age will be receiving income from a term annuity

The 'Superannuation' analysis level is available for the 2013–14, 2015–16, 2017–18 and 2019–20 SIH outputs to provide similar data about individual superannuation accounts. This data can only be analysed as a paid customised data request.

​​​​​​​Type of pension or annuity

For each superannuation account where current regular income is received, the type of account is collected. The different types of accounts are:

  • Allocated pension – are accounts where a regular pension is paid by a superannuation fund. On death, the balance of these funds can be paid as a lump sum to a designated beneficiary, used to buy a further pension for a surviving spouse or continued as a reversionary pension. This category includes self-managed superannuation funds.
  • Lifetime guaranteed pension – are pensions which are payable for the life of the member, or for the reversionary beneficiary’s life on the death of the member. Payments are made at least annually; they are a fixed amount and generally only varied by indexation. These are also sometimes called lifetime annuities.
  • Term annuity – are fixed-term products that give people a guaranteed income for a specified term. Involves a series of payments purchased with a lump sum, usually from an insurance company.
  • Transition to retirement scheme – under new transition to retirement rules introduced in 2016, if you have reached your preservation age, you may now be able to reduce your working hours without reducing your income. You can do this by topping up your part-time income with a regular ‘income stream’ from your super savings. Previously, you could only access your super once you turned 65 or retired.
  • Other account type – includes any other type of pension or annuity.

'Other account type' descriptions provided by respondents were recoded where possible to the appropriate pension or annuity type. This method was improved for 2015–16 SIH and repeated for 2017–18 and 2019–20, reducing the overall instances of 'Other account type'. Therefore type of pension or annuity is not directly comparable to 2013–14 SIH estimates.

​​​​​​​Lump sum superannuation payments

Value of lump sum superannuation payments

The value of lump sum superannuation payments received in the last two years that were in total worth $500 or more, has been collected since 2003–04. It enables analysis of how people are using their superannuation funds other than as a source of regular income. These payments do not contribute to current weekly estimates of personal or household income. 

The relevant person level data item is:

  • Personal irregular receipts from superannuation payments over last 2 years

Use of lump sum superannuation payments was not be collected in the 2019–20 SIH.

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