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ABS responds to 'Families Surviving on Hand-outs' published in 'The Age' on 11 March

Dear Sir

'Incorrect information on incomes'

The article 'Families Surviving on Hand-outs' published in 'The Age' on 11 March (Page 3) contains incorrect information about the level of income of certain wage and salary earners.

    Summary results from the ABS 2002 General Social Survey, which is part of the ongoing ABS household survey program, were published on 18 December 2003 (ABS Cat no. 4159.0). The statistics quoted in the article were supplied to a client as part of the ABS service whereby we make more detailed analyses available on request.
      The numbers of people experiencing various aspects of financial stress are correctly reported in the article. However, the maximum income reported in article for these people's families ($569 a week or $29,600 a year) were standardised to a single person household and do not represent the actual gross incomes of these households. The average (median) gross household income of the people referred to in the article was $46,000 per annum.
        ABS acknowledges that 'The Age' accurately quoted the incorrect numbers from another source.
          Yours sincerely
            Susan Linacre
            Deputy Australian Statistician
            Australian Bureau of Statistics

            12 March 2004

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