Creating Additional Census Income Topics from Linked Administrative Data

Main Article Content

James Mowle


The Census is the largest statistical collection undertaken by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), with its data critical to informing the planning and delivery of Government and community services. While the Census measure of income supports a wide range of analysis, demand exists for additional income topics to complement and extend the range of socio economic analysis that can be undertaken. The ABS has recently developed three experimental income topics for the 2016 Census using linked administrative data: main source of income; main source of government payments; and previous financial year income.

Objectives and Approach
This research utilised administrative data integrated by the ABS for the Multi-Agency Data Integration Project (MADIP). Taxation data from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and social security data from the Department of Social Services (DSS) were used in conjunction with the 2016 Census data to derive the additional topics.

Overall, the three measures compare relatively closely to similar measures from the ABS Survey of Income and Housing (SIH). The ‘Main source of income’ and ‘Main source of government payments’ measures exhibit similar distributions to those from the SIH. The ‘Previous financial year income’ measures compare more closely with Census and SIH at the higher end of the income distribution, with some differences apparent at the lower end of the income distribution.

Conclusion / Implications
This work demonstrates the potential to supplement and enhance existing Census topics with linked administrative data. Further research, development and consultation with data users and the Australian community is needed.

Article Details

How to Cite
Mowle, J. (2020) “Creating Additional Census Income Topics from Linked Administrative Data”, International Journal of Population Data Science, 5(5). doi: 10.23889/ijpds.v5i5.1482.