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1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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Household economic wellbeing


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander average real equivalised disposable household weekly income

Refers to people aged 18 years and over. Data for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is derived from the 2004-05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS) and the 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS). Corresponding figures for the non-Indigenous population are derived from the 2004-05 and 2007-08 National Health Survey (NHS).

The mean weekly equivalised gross household income estimates from the 2004-05 NHS, 2004-05 NATSIHS and 2007-08 NHS have been adjusted for inflation to account for enumeration period differences with 2008 NATSISS. Original CPI indexes (Australia) were used to adjust for inflation. Estimates of household income have been produced based on known income only. Approximately 19% of households had a not stated or not known income in the 2008 NATSISS.


Assets are entities functioning as stores of value and over which ownership rights are enforced by institutional units, individually or collectively, and from which economic benefits may be derived by their owners by holding them, or using them, over a period of time (the economic benefits consist of primary incomes derived from the use of the asset, and the value, including possible holding gains/losses, that could be realised by disposing of the asset or terminating it).


Groupings that result from ranking all households or persons in the population in ascending order according to some characteristic such as their household income and then dividing the population into 10 equal groups, each comprising 10% of the estimated population.

Disposable income

Gross income less income tax and the Medicare levy, i.e. remaining income after direct taxes are deducted, which is available to support consumption and/or saving. Income tax and the Medicare levy are imputed based on each person's income and other characteristics as reported in the survey. Disposable income is sometimes referred to as net income.

Equivalised income

Measures of household income (including the headline indicator) and wealth are adjusted or equivalised to take account of differing household size and composition. The equivalised measure factors in the sharing of income between household members and takes into account the economies of scale that arise from the sharing of dwellings, whilst also recognising that larger households need greater income levels to maintain the same standard of living as smaller households. The equivalence factor used gives a weighting of 1.0 to the first (or only) adult, a weight of 0.5 for each additional adult, and a weight of 0.3 for each child aged under 15. The equivalised income or wealth of lone person households is the same as the unequivalised value. For households comprising multiple people, the equivalised value is less than the total unequivalised value but greater than the per person share of the unequivalised value.

Final consumption expenditure

The acquisition of goods and services used for the direct satisfaction of individual or collective wants.

Financial assets

An asset whose value arises not from its physical existence (as would a building, piece of land, or capital equipment) but from a contractual relationship. Financial assets are mostly financial claims (with the exception of shares). Financial claims entitle the owner, via a contractual relationship, to receive a payment, or a series of payments, from an institutional unit. Examples include accounts held with financial institutions, ownership of an incorporated or unincorporated business, shares, debentures and bonds, trusts, superannuation funds, and loans to other persons.

Government pensions and allowances

Income payments from government to persons under social security and related government programs. Included are pensions and allowances received by aged, disabled, unemployed and sick persons, families and children, veterans or their survivors, and study allowances for students. All overseas pensions and benefits are included here, although some may not be paid by overseas governments. The one-off payment to seniors paid in 2000–01, the one-off payment to families paid in 2003–04 and the one-off payments to carers paid in 2003–04, 2004–05 and 2005–06 are included. Family tax benefit is also regarded as income. However, prior to 2005–06, family tax benefit paid through the tax system or as a lump sum by Centrelink was only included in disposable income, and not gross income.

High income group

Refers to the 20% of people in the 9th and 10th deciles after being ranked from lowest to highest, by their equivalised disposable household income.


A person living alone or a group of related or unrelated people who usually live in the same private dwelling.

Household income

The aggregate of the incomes of all members of a household.

Household net worth or wealth

At any point in time is the difference between the value of the assets and liabilities of households or of the household sector.

Households sector

An institutional sector comprising resident households, including resident household unincorporated enterprises and non-profit institutions, such as churches and sporting and social clubs, serving households.


Income consists of all current receipts, whether monetary or in kind, that are received by the household or by individual members of the household, and which are available for, or intended to support, current consumption.

Income includes receipts from:
  • wages and salaries and other receipts from employment (whether from an employer or own incorporated enterprise), including income provided as part of salary sacrificed and/or salary package arrangements
  • profit/loss from own unincorporated business (including partnerships)
  • net investment income (interest, rent, dividends, royalties)
  • government pensions and allowances
  • private transfers (e.g. superannuation, workers' compensation, income from annuities, child support, and financial support received from family members not living in the same household).
Gross income is the sum of the income from all these sources before income tax, the Medicare levy and the Medicare levy surcharge are deducted. Other measures of income are Disposable income and Equivalised disposable income. Final income takes account of goods and services provided by governments to households either free of charge or at a subsidised rate, and deducts indirect taxes, such as GST.

Note that child support and other transfers from other households are not deducted from the incomes of the households making the transfers.


Refers to people who identified themselves, or were identified by another household member, as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.


A liability is a contractual obligation which requires one unit (the debtor) to make a payment or a series of payments to the other unit (the creditor) in certain circumstances specified in a contract between them.

Low income group

Refers to the 20% of people in the second and third lowest income deciles after being ranked from lowest to highest, by their equivalised disposable household income.

Middle income group

Refers to the 20% of people in the fifth and sixth income deciles after being ranked from lowest to highest, by their equivalised disposable household income.

Principal source of household income

Refers to the source from which the most income is received. As households can have several sources of income, the principal source may account for less than 50% of total income.

Reference person

The reference person for each household is chosen by applying, to all household members aged 15 years and over, the selection criteria below, in the order listed, until a single appropriate reference person is identified:
      • one of the partners in a registered or de facto marriage, with dependent children
      • one of the partners in a registered or de facto marriage, without dependent children
      • a lone parent with dependent children
      • the person with the highest income
      • the eldest person.
      For example, in a household containing a lone parent with a non-dependent child, the one with the higher income will become the reference person. However, if both individuals have the same income, the elder will become the reference person.


Groupings that result from ranking all households or persons in the population in ascending order according to some characteristic such as their household income and then dividing the population into five equal groups, each comprising 20% of the estimated population.

Real (income)

It is possible to deflate measures of income and wealth by a price index in order to measure changes that abstract from the price effects captured in the index. Aggregates deflated in this way are generally described as "real". Real income or wealth is measured with reference to the price level in some selected reference year. Thus real values cannot exist in isolation, rather they vary depending upon the choice of reference year.


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