Australia's Household Expenditure Survey
This is an important national survey that collects information about the income, housing and living costs of Australian households and how they change over time.
Your participation is an opportunity to make a real difference. The information you provide will contribute to important decisions being made for your local area and the wider Australian community, such as decisions about income support, pensions and living costs like childcare.
Click the button below to start your Household Expenditure Survey by providing your phone number and a convenient time for an ABS Interviewer to call you. Alternatively, you can call us on 1800 060 050 and provide your details over the phone.
If you need help, please call one of our team on 1800 060 050 during business hours. For help outside these hours, please leave a message with your contact details and we will call you back as soon as possible.
If you would like to know about how the ABS is responding to the recent spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) click here.
Frequently Asked Questions
I've been chosen to be in the Household Expenditure Survey – what is this?
This information is particularly important right now in measuring the impact that the spread of COVID-19 is having on people's ability to meet key living costs, and the broader Australian economy.
How is the information from this survey used and why is it important?
Results are used by governments, researchers and community groups to better understand the social and economic wellbeing of people in Australia.
By taking part, you can ensure that your experiences and circumstances become part of the story of life in Australia today. Decisions about income support, pensions, plans for retirement and living costs such as housing and childcare can be made by analysing the data from this survey. The information you provide will help to shape policies and services which improve the lives of all Australians.
Why was my household selected?
Rather than survey the whole population, we use a scientific sampling process designed to collect data which builds a picture that includes people from all areas of Australia. All households have a chance of being selected for this important national survey.
Once a household has been selected, another household cannot be substituted in its place, as changing the random selection could mean some parts of the community are under or over represented.
It is important that all selected households complete the survey in order to make sure the results represent the whole community. This means that decisions made about services provided by government, local councils and community groups are made using the most accurate information.
To start the survey, you will need to provide your contact details so that an ABS Interviewer can call you to arrange a time to complete the survey with you. You can either start your survey online or call 1800 060 050.
If we don’t hear from you before the due date (shown on the letter we sent), an Interviewer will make contact with your household to complete the survey. ABS Interviewers will always identify themselves as an ABS officer, and show you their official ABS photo identification. They will conduct the interview using a laptop computer. If you have any concerns, you can call us on 1800 060 050 and we will verify your selection in the survey and the Interviewer who is contacting you.
For information about the ABS response to COVID-19, and how the ABS is safely collecting data during this time, click here.
One person in the household will be asked to answer some general questions about the household and its finances. Then, each person aged 15 years or older will be asked to answer questions about their income, education and other topics. They will also need to record all payments and purchases for one week in an individual expenditure diary.
All people completing the survey may need to refer to financial records in order to answer their part of the survey.
For people in the household that are between 15 and 17 years of age, the consent of a parent or guardian is required before they complete the survey. Alternatively, the parent or guardian can answer the survey on their behalf.
What financial records might be useful to complete the survey?
Examples of records that may be useful are:
Housing costs and household loans:
Income and personal finances:
What kinds of questions will you ask?
For the rest of the survey, we will ask each person in your household, aged 15 years or over, about their income, education and other topics.
All people in the household (aged 15 years and over) will also need to record all payments and purchases for one week in an individual diary. Recording this information every day provides vital information on the spending habits of Australian households.
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.
If you have any concerns, you can call us on 1800 060 050 and we will verify your selection in the survey and the identity of the Interviewer who is contacting you.
What happens if there are people in my household who don't speak English?
Will I be paid for my time?
How will you keep my information safe, secure and confidential?
All ABS employees have signed a legally enforceable Undertaking of Fidelity and Security 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 agreement applies to ABS employees for the rest of their lives, even if they leave the ABS. The penalty for breaching this is two years jail, a $26,640 fine, or both.
How can I provide feedback about my experience in the Household Expenditure Survey?
You can use our feedback form to provide us with feedback. For this survey, please select the option "Participation in an ABS Household Survey".
Who can I contact for more information?