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4363.0.55.001 - Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/06/2013   
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Contents >> Population characteristics >> Financial Stress



The Financial Stress indicator used in the NHS looks at the ability of a household to meet urgent financial commitments. This is determined through a question that asks whether people thought their household had access to, or the ability to raise, $2,000 within a week for something important. The inability to access funds in an emergency is considered a form of financial exclusion.


Information was collected for persons aged 18 years and over in the NHS.


Adult respondents were asked if all of a sudden, they or their household had to get $2,000 for something important, could the money be obtained within a week. An example could be to pay unexpected bills. The households may get the money from any source e.g. they may draw on their savings, or they may get a loan from a financial institution or family. Responses could be yes, no or don’t know.

Data Items

The data items and related output categories for this topic will be available in Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads page of this product.

Please note that although the financial stress question was collected from the adult respondent, this item is presented on the household level due to being a household characteristic.


Points to be considered in interpreting data for this topic include the following:

  • 'something important' was left for the respondent to interpret
  • the respondent may get the money from a number of sources such as family or a financial institution.

The reason for raising the money was left open to interpretation, with the object being to determine whether people thought their household had access to, or the ability to raise, these resources within a week for something important.

Comparability with other surveys

Financial Stress is a new module for the NHS.

A number of other ABS surveys have collected this data, including the 2010 General Social Survey and 2009-10 Household Expenditure Survey. In addition, the 2012-13 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS) collects data using the same financial stress question, so comparisons may be possible with this survey.

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