Microdata and TableBuilder: Income and Housing, Australia

Microdata products provide estimates of income, wealth and housing

Introduction

This product provides information about the release of microdata from the Survey of Income and Housing (SIH), Australia, 2017-18, including TableBuilder, a Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF) and a Detailed Microdata File available via the DataLab. Included is information about the following: 

  • The survey
  • The microdata products and content
  • An explanation of how to use the files
  • The Data Item List
  • The conditions of use
  • Information on the quality of the microdata

Microdata are the most detailed information available from a survey and are generally the responses to individual questions on the questionnaire or data derived from two or more questions. This level of detail is released with the approval of the Australian Statistician.

Available products

The following microdata products are available from this survey:

  • TableBuilder - helps users customise and export tables of weighted counts, proportions and other mathematical functions.
  • DataLab - approved users can access a remote desktop environment for in-depth analysis using a range of statistical software packages.
  • Basic CURF - datasets available on MicrodataDownload.

Further information about these services, and other information to assist users in understanding and accessing microdata in general, is available from the Microdata Entry Page.

Before you apply for access, you should read and familiarise yourself with the information contained in the Responsible Use of ABS Microdata, User Guide.

Apply for access

To apply for access and subscribe to the TableBuilder product use the How to Apply for Microdata.

To apply for access to the DataLab, please register using the 'How to Apply for Microdata' link above and contact microdata.access@abs.gov.au to arrange a session.

Further information

Further information about the survey and the microdata product:

About the survey

The Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) was conducted during 2017–18 to facilitate analysis and monitoring of the social and economic wellbeing of Australian households.

SIH collects statistical information about household income, wealth, housing characteristics and a range of demographic and socio-economic characteristics. This survey was last run in 2015–16.

The main statistical publications for SIH are: 

For more detailed information about SIH, users may refer to the Survey of Income and Housing, User Guide, Australia (cat. no. 6553.0). The SIH 2017–18 User Guide includes information about the purpose of the survey, the concepts and contents, and the methods and procedures used to collect the data and derive the estimates.

The remaining sections in this product provide information that is specifically relevant to using microdata release files.

File structure

Record level types

The 2017–18 Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) Basic Confidentialised Unit Record File (Basic CURF) contains four levels of record files: Household, Income Unit, Person and Loans. The Detailed Microdata File and TableBuilder includes more levels including Superannuation, Child care and Wealth.

Different information is available for each record level.

The Household level includes information on: 

  • State or territory of usual residence
  • Area of residence (Greater Capital City Area/Rest of state)
  • Housing characteristics such as tenure type and housing costs
  • Dwelling characteristics such as the number of bedrooms in the household
  • Household type and composition such as the number of families in the household
  • Household income
  • Household child care costs, benefits, rebates, number of hours of child care
  • Main source of income such as employee income or government pensions and allowances
  • Household wealth
  • Net imputed rent and gross imputed rent
  • Information relating to the household reference person

The Income Unit level includes information on:

  • Income unit income
  • Source of income such as employee income or government pensions and allowances (as for household level)
  • Weekly rent payments
  • Income unit type such as couple with dependants or lone person
  • Selected housing characteristics (including tenure type and landlord type)
  • Child care use, costs and subsidies
  • Demographic information

The Person level includes information on:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Marital status
  • Relationship in household
  • Country of birth
  • Year of arrival in Australia
  • Family type
  • Income unit type such as couple with dependants or lone person (as for income unit level)
  • Labour force details such as employment status and hours worked per week
  • Occupation and industry
  • Education status
  • Education qualifications and education institution attending
  • Income
  • Source of income
  • Barriers to labour force participation due to child care related reasons
  • Carer payment and supplement
  • Information on personal assets, accounts with financial institutions and offset accounts
  • Superannuation
  • Disability, including type and severity

The Loans level contains information about the characteristics of each loan such as:

  • Main purpose of loan such as housing or vehicle
  • Characteristics of loan such as:
    • Security
    • Amount borrowed
    • Principal outstanding
    • Weekly repayment

The following levels are only present in the Detailed Microdata File (DataLab) and TableBuilder products.

The Child care level contains information about the characteristics such as:

  • Cost of care
  • Type of care
  • Child care rebate and benefit
  • Income units

The Superannuation level contains information about the characteristics such as:

  • Age at which recipient receives regular income from account
  • Type, value and duration of Superannuation account
  • Income units

The Wealth level contains information about the characteristics such as:

  • Value and Type of wealth

The Household, Income Unit and Person levels are hierarchical: a person is a member of an income unit, which is a member of a household. The Loans and Wealth levels are members of the household level. Superannuation and Child care are members of the person level.

There are several identifiers on records at each level of the file. Weights are also included to enable population estimates. In the Basic CURF children under 15 years do not have their own person level record on the file. However, information on the number and ages of such children was collected and is included on the household and income unit level files. A complete list of the data items available on each record level is available from the Data downloads section.

Record counts

Table 1 below shows the number of records on each level of the 2017–18 SIH Basic CURF. The number of records on the unconfidentialised file are also included in the table for comparison.

Table 1 - Record counts, SIH 2017-18
 SIH BasicSIH Unconfidentialised
no.no.
Household14,06014,060
Income Unit16,82016,848
Person33,43933,593
Loans9,0429,042

 

Data items

The 2017–18 Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) collected information using household and individual questionnaires.

The Data Item List includes record level items, populations and classification details. It contains the following worksheets: 

  • A Contents page with links to the different sections of the Data Item List.
  • Subject index, which includes both item descriptions and identifiers. It can be used to locate a variable by subject when the item name is not known.
  • Field index, showing item identifiers and numbers only. It is sorted alphabetically by item name, and presents a consolidated list of survey variables.
  • Household level data items, which provides a full listing of items that are output at Household level.
  • Income Unit level data items, which provides a full listing of items that are output at Income Unit level.
  • Person level data items, which provides a full listing of items that are output at Person level.
  • Loans level data items, which provides a full listing of items that are output at Loans level.
  • Child care data items, which provides a full listing of items that are output at child care level.
  • Superannuation data items, which provides a full listing of items that are output at Superannuation level.
  • Wealth data items, which provides a full listing of items that are output at Wealth level.
  • Detailed categories for the Wealth classification.
  • Other Classifications.
  • Contents of the Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF).
  • Changes from 2015–16.

The Data item list is available in the Data downloads section and contains information about the data items available on the different detailed microdata products.

Basic CURF

The Basic CURF contains information at Household, Income Unit, Person and Loan levels for the SIH.

Users intending to purchase the Basic CURF should ensure the 2017–18 SIH suits their data needs. Please review the data item list to see the topics and the level of detail that is available for the Basic CURF.

For confidentiality and/or usability reasons, some data item values have been collapsed and/or restricted for use on the microdata products. Additionally, data may have been masked on the Basic CURF to prevent identification of persons.

TableBuilder and Detailed Microdata File (DataLab)

The TableBuilder and Detailed Microdata File (DataLab) products contain information at Household, Income Unit, Person, Superannuation, Wealth, Child care and Loan levels for the SIH.

Users intending to use either of these products should ensure the 2017–18 SIH suits their data needs. Please review the data item list to see the topics and the level of detail that is available for TableBuilder or the Detailed Microdata File.

For further information about how to access detailed Microdata refer to The Responsible Use of ABS Microdata, User guide.

Notes on specific data items

Many of the data items included on the CURF are self-explanatory. The Glossary in the Survey of Income and Housing, User Guide, Australia provides links to terms and definitions for most of the survey's data items. However, some items that require further explanation are defined below.

Identifiers

There are several identifiers on records at each level of the file.

Each household has a unique random identifier. This identifier appears on the household level (ABSHID), and is repeated on the income unit, person, loans level records relating to that household.

Each family within the household is numbered sequentially. Non family members, single person households and persons in group households have a sequential "family number" commencing at 50. Family number (ABSFID) appears on the income unit level and the person level. The combination of household and family number uniquely identifies a family.

A family has one or more income units and each income unit within the family is numbered sequentially. Income unit number (ABSIID) appears on the income unit level and the person level. The combination of household, family and income unit number uniquely identifies an income unit.

An income unit has one or more persons and each person within the income unit is numbered sequentially. Person number (ABSPID) appears on the person level. The combination of household, family, income unit and person number uniquely identifies a person.

A household may have one or more loans and each loan within the household is numbered sequentially. Loan number (ABSLID) appears on the loans level. The combination of a household and loan number uniquely identifies a loan.

Additional detail and data items on Basic CURF

Continuing the approach from SIH 2015–16, a selection of data items and additional detail of high user interest on previous Expanded CURF are now available instead on the Basic CURF. These include:

  • Continuous age
  • Detailed occupation and industry codes
  • Detailed hours worked (individual hours) and duration of unemployment (individual weeks)
  • Separating NT and ACT
  • Detailed age and sex of children between the ages of 0 and 14 years, represented as counts on the income unit level.

Users are advised that for the following geographies on the SIH 2017–18 Basic CURF there are no boundary differences between the 2011 ASGS and 2016 ASGS.

  • Area of usual residence
  • State or Territory of usual residence

As a result, Area of usual residence ASGS 2011 (GCCSA) (AOURBC) and State or Territory of usual residence 2011 (STATEHEC) can also be used when 2016 geographies are required.

Imputation flags

Imputation flags exist for each module in the questionnaire, rather than for specific data items. A value of 1 indicates partial imputation where at least one question in the module was imputed. Referring to the contents of the questionnaire module can provide an indication of whether particular data items may have included imputed data. The number of flags with a value of 1 for a particular record provides an indication of the extent of imputation in that record. Imputation flag variable names generally start with "IMP".

Multiple response data items

A number of topics in 2017–18 SIH contain multiple response data items, including housing, child care, disability and superannuation. In these instances, respondents were able to select one or more response category within a question.

Using child care as an example, in these items the output data is multi-response in nature. Child care data items on the Basic CURF are:

  • Income unit level - Types of formal child care income unit used in the last 4 weeks (TYPFCIUA--TYPFCIUF)
  • Person level - All reasons lack of child care prevents parent from working (UNMET07A--UNMET07J)

These items capture multiple responses where a person provides more than one type of child care. The first response is captured in the first, or 'A', position (e.g. TYPFCIUA), and additional responses are in the second and then third and higher, or 'B' and 'C' and higher, positions (e.g. TYPFCIUB, TYPFCIUC). If only one response is possible, for example 'none of the above' then this response may also appear in the 'A' position. Where a data item does not apply, (e.g. an income unit does not use child care) then a value of 9 or 99 for 'Not applicable' will appear in the first position (e.g. TYPFCIUA). The 'Null response' (value of 0 or 00) is a default code and should be ignored. All of these categories should be used in analysis. For specific information on the number of item repeats and the category labels and values refer to the Data Item List available from the Data downloads section.

Using the CURF

About the CURF

The 2017–18 Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) Basic CURF contains information at Household, Income Unit, Person and Loan levels. More information can be found at the 'File Structure' section of this publication.

CURFs allow users to interact with survey data to their own, unique specifications. Uses include: 

  • Investigating data
  • Producing tabulations
  • Undertaking statistical

While CURFs provide a great deal of flexibility, limitations on analysis can be impacted by factors such as sample size, the data classifications used, and conditions of use for the file.

More information on the additional detail and data items on the Basic CURF can be found at the 'Data Item' section of this publication.

Protective provisions

The 2017–18 SIH Basic CURF is released under the Census and Statistics Act 1905. The Act allows for the release of unit record data, provided this information is not likely to identify an individual person or organisation. As a result there are no names or addresses of survey respondents on the Basic CURF. Other steps, including the following list of actions, have been taken to protect the confidentiality of respondents. The 2017–18 SIH Basic CURF contains unit records relating to most survey respondents.

Protective provisions include:

  • On the Basic CURF, households with seven or more persons were reduced to a maximum size of six persons. This reduction also resulted in the deletion of several whole income units, mainly single person records.
  • Most income items, and some wealth and loan data items have been protected using perturbation. During this process, selected item values are adjusted to prevent identification of survey participants while preserving the overall statistical validity of the data.
  • Some variables have had values ranged or collapsed, or had maximum values reduced. The latter is a process called topcoding whereby all variable values that exceed a threshold value are reduced.
  • For records with unusual combinations of characteristics, a household or person level item was changed to decrease the chance of identification. Details that were commonly changed include geography, age, country of birth, industry or occupation.

As a result of these protective measures, population estimates obtained from the Basic CURF are slightly different to the other 2017–18 SIH products. Variation in key items and populations are addressed in the Basic CURF sample reconciliation tabulations document available from the 'downloads' tab. This table provides a guide to the difference between CURF and the unconfidentialised file, using indicators such as mean, percentiles and ratios.

Steps to confidentialise the datasets that are available on the Basic CURF are taken for three main purposes:

  • Maintain the confidentiality of survey respondents
  • Ensure the integrity of the datasets
  • Maximise the value of survey content

Prospective users should first ensure that the SIH CURF product will suit their data needs. Prior to purchase, you can review whether the topics and level of detail you require are available on the 2017–18 SIH Basic CURF. As an alternative measure, data that has been obtained in the SIH but is not contained on the CURF files may be available via DataLab, TableBuilder, or a tailored service request to client.services@abs.gov.au. The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS handles any personal information that you provide to us.

Using the DataLab

The DataLab allows interactive (real time) access to microdata files from the Survey of Income and Housing (SIH), through a portal to a secure ABS environment. The level of detail provided within DataLab exceeds that of the Basic Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF) and provides researchers greater access to the data.

The SIH detailed microdata from 2017–18 are available via DataLab and the Data Item List can be found in the Data downloads section

For further information about data available in this data series visit the Available Microdata page.

The Expanded CURF and the use of the Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL) have been discontinued for this collection. Users are encouraged to consider DataLab as an improved mechanism to access detailed microdata.

About the DataLab

Detailed microdata files on the DataLab can be accessed on-site at ABS offices or in a secure virtual environment from your own computer or networks. All unit record data remains in the DataLab environment, and any analysis results or tables are checked by the ABS before being provided to the researcher. More information about the DataLab can be found at the About the DataLab page.

The 2017–18 SIH detailed microdata files contain information at Household, Income Unit, Person, Superannuation, Child care, Wealth and Loan levels for SIH. More information about the detailed microdata files can be found at the File Structure and Data Items sections of this publication.

DataLab test file

A Test File has been created for the 2017–18 SIH to enable researchers and analysts to become more familiar with the data structure and to prepare code and programs prior to applying for, or commencing, a DataLab session. This aims to maximise the value of sessions by saving users time and resources once they enter the DataLab environment.

The Test File does not contain real data, and cannot be used for analysis. It mimics the structure of the microdata from the Collection as it has the same data items and allowed values. All data on the file is false, created through a randomisation process.

The Test File is available as a free download through the Data downloads section in csv format.

Using the TableBuilder

This page provides specific information relevant to the Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) TableBuilder product. It will assist users in understanding and interpreting specific data items and functions relevant to specific SIH estimates.

For general information relating to TableBuilder, or instructions on how to use features of the TableBuilder product, please refer to the TableBuilder, User Guide.

Detailed information about the survey including scope and coverage, survey collection methodology, estimation method and reliability of estimates can be accessed from the Survey of Income and Housing, User Guide, Australia.

The Data Item List for the SIH TableBuilder product is available from the Data downloads section.

Continuous data items

The TableBuilder file contains a number of continuous data items that are available for selection from the 'Summation Options' in the 'Customise Table' panel. Continuous data items are those data items which can have a response value at any point along a numeric continuum. Examples of continuous data items are total current weekly household income from all sources, total value of household assets, usual hours of child care per week. To create tables for continuous variables, the user must first either create ranges or if interested in sums, medians or means, the user then chooses the appropriate option and adds it to the wafer, row or column.

Only one continuous item can be in the 'wafer' at any one time in TableBuilder, this is particularly important if categorical data items will be added to the row or column. A separate table needs to be created for each continuous item (one table per item with the relevant item in the 'wafer').

There are also continuous hybrid variables containing categories such as 'not applicable'. In these cases the variable can be found under 'Summation Options' and also under the appropriate level in the list of data items. Hybrid variables on the SIH file include variables such as Debt-to-gross income ratio and Capacity of solar electricity power system (Number of kW of system); a full list can be found In the data items list.

For these continuous hybrid data items there are special codes allocated for certain responses (e.g. 9999 = 'Not applicable' or 99999999 = 'Negative or zero debt'). When creating ranges in TableBuilder for such continuous items, special codes will automatically be excluded from calculations of sums, means, medians or ranges. When added to the table, it enables comparisons across populations, i.e. comparing households with a debt ratio to those without.

Limits for ranging continuous items are detailed in the data item list which can be accessed from the Data downloads section.

  • Once a quantile or range has been created based on a continuous item, it can be found by selecting the ranges button (below summation options):
Data item list

Below are TableBuilder outputs containing examples of data items with continuous hybrid variables:

Example 1: Debt-to-gross-income ratio - Number of households

Columns: Debt-to-gross-income ratio
Wafer: Number of households (default)

The number of households with a debt to gross income ratio are contained in the 'A valid response was recorded' column. The 'Negative or zero debt' column includes households that do not have a debt, or that have a negative debt to income ratio. These instances are excluded from the calculation of Quintiles and Custom Ranges as shown in the tables below.

Debt-to-gross-income ratio
Example 2: Debt to gross income ratio - Ranged - Numbers of Households

Columns: Debt-to-gross-income ratio
Rows: Ranged debt-to-gross-income ratio
Wafer: Number of households (default)

The 'Negative or zero debt' column includes households that do not have a debt or have a negative debt to income ratio (income is higher than debt). These instances are excluded from the calculation of Custom Ranges.

Range Debt-to-gross inc by Debt-to-gross-income ratio
Example 3: Mean gross income by Family composition of household for households with and without a debt ratio

Wafer: Weighted mean of Total current weekly income from all sources (Household level)
Rows: Family composition of HH (brief)
Columns: Debt-to-gross-income ratio

In this example the hybrid continuous variable (debt-to-gross-income ratio) is cross tabulated with a categorical value (Family composition of HH (brief)). This will enable comparisons across populations, i.e., comparing households with a debt ratio to those without. To demonstrate, the mean value of a continuous item (Total current weekly HH income from all sources) was added to the wafer, and the mean value for both columns is displayed. The 'not applicable' category is included in the calculation of the totals.

Weighted mean of Total current weekly HH income from all sources by Family composition of HH (brief) by Debt-to-gross income ratio

Note: If a continuous variable has a very limited range on the Data Item List between 0 and 0 then this means that there are too few contributor to this variable and therefore only estimates of weighted sum, weighted mean and weighted median can be derived and ranges cannot be created.

Differences with published estimates

Ranging continuous items will not provide the same output as published data which is based on the SIH (i.e. Household Income and Wealth, Australia, and Housing Occupancy and Costs, Australia). This is due to additional confidentiality measures applied to ranged continuous items.

Quintile cut-offs in TableBuilder for continuous data items are defined according to whole numbers, whereas in published estimates they are defined according to two decimal places. This will cause slight variations between TableBuilder and published estimates based on the SIH.

Flag items

Flags have been created to indicate modules in the questionnaire that have imputed data in them. If imputed values are to be removed from the analysis, this can be done by only including the 'not applicable' category. The data item list contains all the flag variables.

File structure

The 2017–18 SIH TableBuilder contains seven levels of record files: Household, Income Unit, Person, Childcare, Superannuation, Loans, and Wealth. Different information is available for each record level, and each level contains counts of the number of instances, or units, of the item in each category.

For example, if a person has more than one superannuation account, there will be multiple superannuation records for that person on the superannuation level.

Mortgage(s), motor vehicle loan(s), and personal loan(s) are all examples where a household may have multiple types of items, which means there will be multiple records for that household on the Loans level.

    Example of file structure showing the seven levels of record files

    Example of file structure showing the seven levels of record files

    Example of file structure showing the seven levels of record files

    This image displays that the 2017–18 SIH TableBuilder contains seven levels of record files.

    The seven levels are:
    Household Level
    Income Level
    Loan Level
    Wealth Level
    Person Level
    Child care Level
    Superannuation Level

    Multiple response data items

    A number of questions included in the survey allow respondents to provide more than one response. The data items resulting from these questions are referred to as 'multiple (or multi) response data items'.

    The example below displays 'Types of formal child care income unit used in the last 4 weeks'.

    Types of formal child care income unit used in the last 4 weeks

    When a multi-response data item is tabulated, the same record is counted against each response provided. As a result, some household units utilising multiple forms of formal child care are counted multiple times. Consequently, the sum of individual multi-response categories can be different to the population or actual number of people applicable to the data item, as respondents are able to select more than one response.

    Multi-response data items are identified in the data item list (available via the Data downloads section).

    Counting units and weights

    The Summation Options section in the Customise Table panel contains the counting units/weights that are available. It is critical that the correct weight (or summation option) is used when specifying tables for counts of persons or proportions. As a general rule of thumb, use the weight which corresponds to the level of analysis you are undertaking, i.e. household level weight with household level items, the person level weight with person level items. To analyse persons in households, use the person level weight with household level items.

    The Household level weight is the default in SIH TableBuilder. The weights are located under the relevant level in the Summation Options. Below is a list of the levels and corresponding weights. To change the weight from the default, click on the "Sum" box in the appropriate level:

    Summation options

    The default summation option will be automatically added to a table when the table is being specified, therefore care needs to be taken that this is the correct weight for the particular tabulation. If the default weight is not the required weight, select the appropriate weight from the Summation Options list and add either to the 'filter' or the 'wafer' (either will override the default of household level in the 'filter') for categorical data items. This needs to be done when obtaining counts and proportions. It is not necessary (or possible) for tables which have a continuous item in the wafer.

    For example, if analysing counts of persons for person level items, select 'Person - Sum' as shown below, and add to the 'wafer', before running the table.

    Dataset: Income and Housing, 2017-18

    Weighting and defining quintiles

    Weighting quintiles

    Quintiles need to be weighted according to the corresponding level of the continuous item. For example, for quintiles based on 'Total current weekly HH income from all sources' (a Household level item), set the 'Equal distribution of ' box to 'Household level':

    Range of total current weekly HH income from all sources
    Using the 'Filter by' option

    The 'Filter by' option enables quintiles to be defined further, according to a categorical variable.

    To illustrate, in the example above, the quintiles for gross household income are based on the Australia wide population. This means that the entire population is divided into five equal sections and the quintile cut-offs will be based on the mean values for all households in Australia. Datacubes 13 and 14 in the Household Income and Wealth, Australia publication are state based, and the distributional analysis is also undertaken at the state level for these tables. This means that the quintiles are further defined by the relevant state.

    To replicate this in TableBuilder, use the 'Filter by' to add the relevant state as in the following image:

    Range of total current weekly HH income from all sources

    This means that the quintiles will be based on the population for NSW only.This means that the quintiles will be based on the population for NSW only.

    Weighting equivalised items

    Equivalised items are available at the household and the person level in TableBuilder. Equivalised items are household items which have been equivalised to take all persons in the household into account. All analysis using equivalised items in publication Household Income and Wealth, Australia, is done using the equivalised items on the person level with person weighting. Some equivalised analysis in the publication Housing Occupancy and Costs, Australia, is done at the household level with household weighting.

    Example 4: Mean equivalised disposable household income (EDHI) by equivalised disposable household income quintiles

    This example recreates a section of Table 5.4 in publication Household Income and Wealth, Australia 2017–18 where mean equivalised disposable household income is used at the person level, with person level weighting on the income quintiles:

    Household income and wealth, Australia 2017-18
    Creating the EDHI table in TableBuilder
    1. Range 'Current weekly HH equivalised disposable income (Person level)' into quintiles and apply the person weight (Person level in the 'Equal distribution of' box). Select 'Create'.
    Range of current weekly HH equivalised disposable income (person level)
    1. Add the EDHI quintiles defined in step 1 to the columns via the 'Ranges' drop down box (below summation options) in the data item list.
    2. Add 'Main source of current HH income' from the Household level categorical items to the rows.
    3. Add 'Current weekly HH equivalised disposable income (Person Level)' - Mean - to the wafer.
    4. Select 'Retrieve Data':
    Weighted mean of current weekly HH equivalised disposable income (person level)

    Note: Slight variations between TableBuilder and estimates published in the Household Income and Wealth, Australia publication are evident in this example. This is because quintile cut-offs in TableBuilder are defined according to whole numbers, whereas in the publication they are to two decimal places.

    More information regarding the use of household or person weights for equivalised items is located in publication Survey of Income and Housing, User Guide, Australia (refer to the 'Summary indicators of income and wealth distributions' and the 'Weights' sections).

    Confidentiality

    To minimise the risk of identifying individuals in aggregate statistics, a technique called perturbation is used in TableBuilder to randomly adjust cell values. Perturbation involves small random adjustments to 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 be consistent across all tables. However, adding up cell values to derive a total will not necessarily give the same result as published totals.

    Zero value cells

    Tables generated from sample surveys will sometimes contain cells with zero values because there were no respondents who satisfied the parameters of the cell in the survey sample. There may, however, still be persons or households within the general population with these characteristics. If all persons within the population had been enumerated (ie, a Census), there may have well been a value for that cell. This is an example of sampling variability which occurs with all sample surveys. Relative Standard Errors cannot be generated for cells with zero values.

    Searching data items

    It is possible to search for data items using the search function below the data item list. When searching for a data item label using the search box under summation options, the search will default back to displaying household level, but will be performed across all levels.

    Conditions of use

    User responsibilities

    The Census and Statistics Act 1905 includes a legislative guarantee to respondents that their confidentiality will be protected. This is fundamental to the trust the Australian public has in the ABS, and that trust is in turn fundamental to the high quality of ABS information. Without that trust, survey respondents may be less forthcoming or truthful in answering our questionnaires. For more information, see 'Avoiding inadvertent disclosure' and 'Microdata' on our web page How the ABS keeps your information confidential.

    Confidentiality

    In accordance with the Census and Statistics Act 1905, microdata are subjected to a confidentiality process before release. The release of microdata must satisfy the ABS legislative obligation to release information in a manner that is not likely to enable the identification of a particular person or organisation.

    This confidentiality process is applied to avoid releasing information that may lead to the identification of individuals, families, households, dwellings or businesses.

    Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURF)

    The Census and Statistics Act 1905 allows the Australian Statistician to approve release of unit record data. All CURFs released have been approved by the Statistician. Prior to being granted access to Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURF), each organisation's Responsible Officer must submit a CURF Undertaking to the ABS. The CURF Undertaking is required by legislation and states that, prior to CURFs being released to an organisation, a Responsible Officer must undertake to ensure that the organisation will abide by the conditions of use of CURFs. Individual users are bound by the Undertaking signed by the Responsible Officer.

    All CURF users are required to read and abide by the conditions and restrictions in the Responsible Use of ABS Microdata, User Guide. Any breach of the CURF Undertaking may result in withdrawal of service to individuals and/or organisations. Further information is contained in the Consequences of Failing to Comply with a Microdata Undertaking page.

    DataLab

    Prior to using the DataLab users must agree to and sign an Undertaking and a Declaration of Compliance.

    For more information on the DataLab, please refer to the About the DataLab page on the ABS Website.

    Conditions of sale

    All ABS products and services are provided subject to the ABS Conditions of Sale. Any queries relating to these Conditions of Sale should be emailed to intermediary.management@abs.gov.au.

    Price

    Microdata access is priced according to ABS Pricing Policy and Commonwealth Cost Recovery Guidelines. For microdata prices refer to the Microdata Prices page.

    Apply for access

    To apply for access to microdata products, follow the registrations instructions which are available via the Microdata Entry Page.

    Australian universities

    The ABS/Universities Australia Agreement provides participating universities with access to a range of ABS products and services. This includes access to microdata. For further information, university clients should refer to the ABS/Universities Australia Agreement page.

    Further information

    The Microdata Entry Page on the ABS website contains links to microdata related information to assist users to understand and access microdata. For further information users should email microdata.access@abs.gov.au or telephone 1300 135 070.

    Data downloads

    Data files

    Previous releases

     TableBuilder data seriesMicrodataDownloadDataLab
    Household Expenditure, Income and Housing, 2015-16 including Fiscal Incidence StudyTableBuilderBasic microdataDetailed microdata
    Household Expenditure, Income and Housing, 2009-10 including Fiscal Incidence Study Basic microdataDetailed microdata
    Household Expenditure, Income and Housing, 2003-04 including Fiscal Incidence Study Basic microdataDetailed microdata
    Household Expenditure, 1998-99 including Fiscal Incidence Study Basic microdata 
    Household Expenditure, 1993-94 Basic microdata 
    Household Expenditure Survey, 1988-89 Basic microdata 
    Household Expenditure, 1984 Basic microdata 
    Household Expenditure, 1975-76 Basic microdata 
    Income and Housing, 2013-14 Basic microdataDetailed microdata
    Income and Housing, 2011-12 Basic microdataDetailed microdata
    Income and Housing, 2007-08 Basic microdataDetailed microdata
    Income and Housing, 2005-06 Basic microdataDetailed microdata
    Income and Housing, 2002-03 Basic microdataDetailed microdata
    Income and Housing, 2000-01 Basic microdataDetailed microdata
    Income and Housing Costs, 1999-2000 Basic microdata 
    Income and Housing, 1997-98 Basic microdata 
    Income and Housing, 1996-97 Basic microdata 
    Income and Housing, 1995-96 Basic microdata 
    Income and Housing, 1994-95 Basic microdata 
    Income and Housing Costs and Amenities, 1990 Basic microdata 
    Income and Housing Costs and Amenities, 1986 Basic microdata 
    Income and Housing, 1981-82 Basic microdata 
    Australian Housing Survey, 1999 Basic microdata 
    Australian Housing Survey, 1994 Basic microdata 
    Domiciliary Services Victoria, 1986 Basic microdata 
    Rental Investors, 1997 Basic microdata 
    Rental Investors, 1993 Basic microdata 
    Rental Tenants, Apr 1994 Basic microdata 

    History of changes

    Show all

    04/02/2020

    A minor error in the SIH TableBuilder product was detected which impacted variables that contained medians, quintiles and deciles. This has now been corrected and data will now match published estimates. In addition, minor updates have been made to the 2017-18 SIH Data Item List, including corrections to some TableBuilder upper and lower boundaries.

    13/11/2019

    The 'Using the CURF' section has been updated following the release of the CURF on 12/11/2019. Minor updates have also been made to the 'Introduction', 'File Structure' and 'Data Items' sections to reflect the release. The SIH 2017-18 Data Item List has also been updated with the CURF items now available.

    12/11/2019

    The 2017-18 Income and Housing Basic Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURF) are now available for download via the MicrodataDownload page. To apply for access to the Basic CURF, follow the instructions via the Microdata Entry Page.

    Quality declaration

    Institutional environment

    Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) is released as a Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF), Tablebuilder product and as a Detailed Microdata File in the DataLab.

    Microdata files are released in accordance with the conditions specified in section 15 of the Census and Statistics (Information Release and Access) Determination 2018, the Census and Statistics Act 1905. This ensures that confidentiality is maintained whilst enabling micro level data to be released. More information on the confidentiality practices associated with microdata can be found at: 

    For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.

    Relevance

    The SIH collects detailed information on income, wealth, housing, characteristics of individuals, income units and households from a sample of private dwellings throughout Australia.

    Income and wealth data are used by economic and social analysts and policy makers to:

    • understand the distribution of economic resources among private households in Australia
    • identify households most at risk of experiencing economic hardship
    • understand the effects of taxation and welfare payments on people and families

    Housing data are used for:

    • housing affordability studies
    • analysis of housing conditions and occupancy, including levels of home ownership and housing utilisation
    • tracking changes in housing costs by tenure type over time

    Timeliness

    The SIH is conducted every two years. The 2017–18 SIH collected information over the period July 2017 to June 2018. SIH was last conducted in 2015–16 which was combined with the Household Expenditure Survey (HES).

    The results from SIH 2017–18 were released on 12 July 2019, just over one year from the end of data collection. The next cycle of SIH is currently being conducted for the 2019–20 financial year. The next combined SIH and HES will be conducted in the 2021–22 financial year.

    Accuracy

    The microdata contains unit record level data from the SIH. Key findings from the surveys are available from:

    Users are reminded that the microdata, as with the published estimates, are sample data. Users are advised to:

    • use the sample weights to ensure estimates represent the population correctly
    • produce and use Relative Standard Errors (RSE's) when interpreting the precision of estimates
    • take note of the survey scope which covers residents of Private Dwellings in all areas except Very Remote Areas of Australia

    Steps are taken to confidentialise the data made available on the microdata files in a way that maximises the usefulness of the content while maintaining the confidentiality of respondents selected in the survey. As a result, it may not be possible to exactly reconcile all the statistics produced from the microdata with other published statistics. Further information about the steps taken to confidentialise the SIH microdata is available through How The ABS Keeps Your Information Confidential.

    Coherence

    Each cycle of the SIH collects comparable information to allow for analysis of changes over time.

    For more information on the changes to SIH over time, please refer to the Historical Information section in the Survey of Income and Housing, User Guide, Australia.

    The Basic CURF data item list can be found in the Data downloads section. This data item list includes variable comparisons with previous SIH CURFs, lists of new items, items no longer included, and a list of items which have had minor changes (e.g. changes to data item labels or categories).

    Further information about the steps taken to confidentialise the microdata is available through the Responsible Use of ABS Microdata, User Guide.

    Interpretability

    The information within this product should be referred to when using the microdata. It contains information including survey methodology, file structure, using the CURF and using the DataLab, conditions of use and the data item lists.

    Further information can be found in the Survey of Income and Housing, User Guide, Australia.

    Accessibility

    Microdata products are available to approved users. Users wishing to access SIH microdata should familiarise themselves with information available via the Microdata Entry Page.

    The SIH 2017–18 microdata can be accessed using a Basic CURF, detailed microdata via DataLab and TableBuilder.

    CURF Access Modes and Levels of Detail contains general information on different types of CURF access. A full list of available microdata can be viewed via Available Microdata. The SIH Basic CURF can be accessed on MicrodataDownload. If questions remain please phone microdata access on 1300 135 070.

    Previous catalogue number

    This release previously used catalogue number 6541.0.30.001.