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Household Economic Survey (Income): Year ended June 2015
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  26 November 2015

About the survey

The Household Economic Survey (HES) is run every year between 01 July and 30 June the following year.

HES (Income) is a shortened version of the detailed three-yearly HES (Expenditure). The shorter survey runs each year between HES (Expenditure) years.

HES (Income) provides a comprehensive range of statistics on household and personal income, housing-cost expenditure, personal and household demographics, and material well-being. The survey collects income from all sources at both the person and household levels.

The main differences between the two surveys is that in HES (Income), expenditure data only relates to some types of housing costs (rent and mortgages, property rates, and building-related insurance) and there is no other expenditure information (eg food, clothing, transport).

Data from HES (Income) can be compared with that from HES (Expenditure) for most measures. However, differences in the questionnaires can affect the numbers reporting expenditure from mortgages and loans.

More definitions

Aggregate is the sum of all the values of a certain indicator. For example, aggregate income from wages and salaries for total New Zealand is the sum of wages and salaries income in New Zealand earned by the population. 

Average (mean) is the average value – the mean is calculated by adding two or more figures and dividing the sum by the number of figures. 

Building-related insurance A household has expenditure on building-related insurance when it pays premiums to an insurance company or broker for coverage in the event of damage occurring to a dwelling. Where building-related insurance is part of a combined insurance policy, the expenditure may also include premiums paid for house contents and vehicles. 

Deciles are formed by dividing the population into 10 equal groups, from lowest to highest. The bottom decile (decile 1) is the lowest 10 percent of the population, while the top decile (decile 10) is the highest 10 percent

Dwelling ownership is an aggregation of categories from the 'tenure of household' classification. Tenure refers to the occupancy a household has in a private dwelling. It does not refer to the tenure of the land on which the dwelling is situated. 

The dwelling can be classified in two ways:

  • Owned or partly owned: includes dwellings that are held (or not held) in a family trust, regardless of whether mortgage payments are made or not made for the dwelling.
  • Dwelling not owned: covers dwellings where the household does not own the dwelling, and either pays rent or lives there rent-free.

Expenditure is the amount of money spent on specified items or services. All expenditure includes goods and services tax (GST) and excise duties. 

For those making mortgage/rent payments includes only households who say they make either a mortgage or rent payment. 

Household is either one person who usually resides alone, or two or more people who usually reside together and share facilities (such as for eating or cooking) in a private dwelling. A household may contain one or more families, other people in addition to a family, or no families at all, such as unrelated people living together.

Housing-costs-to-household-income ratio is the aggregate housing costs for all households as a proportion of the aggregate household income for all households. This measure is often used as an indicator of housing affordability.  

However, it is typically calculated by using disposable household income (gross income minus income tax) instead of before-tax (gross) income. Only gross income is reported in this release.

This means that the housing costs to (gross) household income ratios may be slightly lower than ratios reported from other data sources. This measure includes households that do not make mortgage or rent payments.

Imputation replaces missing values with actual values from similar respondents. For more information, see Imputation in Data Quality.

Income before-tax (gross) income. Income in this release is not equalised. That is, it is not adjusted to remove the effects of household size or household type (eg the number of dependent children).

Income received from this source includes only people or households that receive the specified source of income used in calculating averages and medians (so excludes those who reported no income from the specified source).

Investment income is the net profit or loss received from investments. Investments captured in this collection are rent, rents from Māori land or other leased land, dividends from New Zealand companies, royalties, or interest from banks, other financial institutions, bonds, stocks, money market funds, debentures, or securities.

Irregular income includes income from inheritances, matrimonial settlements, lump-sum life insurance pay-outs, lump-sum bursaries and prizes, and gifts of money from other New Zealand households.

Median is the point where half the population is above and half below the stated amount.  

Mortgage payments consists of mortgage principal repayments, mortgage interest payments, and application and service fees for mortgages..

New Zealand Superannuation and war pensions cover New Zealand Superannuation and veteran’s pension, war disablement pension, surviving spouse pension and overseas pension top-up payment made by Work and Income New Zealand 

Other government benefits includes all family assistance payments such as those made as part of the Working for Families package. This category also includes benefits such as Jobseeker Support, Sole Parent Support, Supported Living Payment, Youth Payment, Young Parent Payment, Emergency Benefit, and Emergency Maintenance Allowance, Student Allowances, Orphan’s Benefit and supplements.

Other sources of regular and recurring income includes income received from trusts, annuities, alimony, educational scholarships, and income protection insurance.

Percentage of households reporting is the sum of the households reporting expenditure or income, divided by the number of households in the population.

Private superannuation income includes income received from both job-related superannuation schemes and other private schemes.

Quintiles are formed by dividing the population into five equal groups, from lowest to highest. The bottom quintile (quintile 1) is the lowest 20 percent of the population, while the top quintile (quintile 5) is the highest 20 percent. 

Region The HES sample design has five broad regions. The Wellington and Canterbury regional council areas, and the Auckland Council area, are separate regions. The remaining regional council areas are grouped as:

  • Rest of North Island: Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Taranaki, and Manawatu-Wanganui
  • Rest of South Island: Nelson, Marlborough, Tasman, West Coast, Otago, and Southland.  

Rent payments include rent paid for primary property, and for other properties, and other payments connected with renting – that is, bonds, ground rent, and easements. 

Rents are rent payments paid by the household. Imputed rent (the estimated benefit value from home-ownership of not having to pay rent, partly offset for home-owners by the expenses of home ownership) is not reported in this release. 

Sampling weights: the number of units in the population represented by the sample member.

Self-employment income is the net profit or loss received from all self-employment jobs held over the reference period. It includes drawings (cash or goods the respondent takes out of the business instead of a 'wage'). 

Statistical significance: in statistics, a result is considered significant not because it is important or meaningful, but because it is predicted as unlikely to occur by chance alone.

Total housing costs consists of expenditure from the following sources: mortgage principal repayments, mortgage interest payments, mortgage application fees, rent payments, other payments associated with renting (for example bonds paid in the last 12 months), property rates payments (both regional and local government), and payments associated with building related insurance.  

Wages and salaries consists of income received from all wage and salary jobs held over the reference period. This includes any job-related bonuses, commissions, redundancies, or other taxable income such as honoraria or directors fees. A respondent can have an employment status of ‘self-employed’, but receive wage and salary income instead of self-employment income.  

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