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Person—source of cash income (principal), code N

Identifying and definitional attributes

Metadata item type:Help on this termData Element
Short name:Help on this termSource of principal income
Synonymous names:Help on this termMain income source
METeOR identifier:Help on this term321063
Registration status:Help on this termCommunity Services (retired), Standard 29/04/2006
Definition:Help on this term

The source from which a person derives the greatest proportion of his/her income, as represented by a code.

Context:Help on this termAn indicator of the needs and circumstances of individuals and sometimes used in assessment of income equity.
Data Element Concept:Person—source of cash income (principal)

Value domain attributes

Representational attributes

Representation class:Help on this termCode
Data type:Help on this termNumber
Format:Help on this termN
Maximum character length:Help on this term4
Permissible values:Help on this term
1Employee cash income
2Unincorporated business cash income
3Government cash pensions and allowances
4Other income
Supplementary values:Help on this term
8Nil income
9Not stated/not known/inadequately described

Collection and usage attributes

Guide for use:Help on this term

A person with more than one source of income should be categorised only to the value domain category, which best describes their primary source of income.

The value domain categories shown above can be linked to broad sources of cash income specified in the Statistical Concepts Library of the Australian Bureau of Statistics. 'Sources of cash income' and 'Principal source of cash income' are classified to the Standard classification of sources of cash income. This is a three level hierarchical classification and is described in detail at the broad (one-digit), narrow (two-digit) and detailed (four-digit) levels.

CODE 1     Primary cash income:

Payments from an employer or own limited liability company, including wages or salary, tips, piece rates, penalty rates, loadings, regular bonuses, payment for time not worked (sick leave, recreation leave, public holidays etc.) and director's fees. An employee is classed as receiving cash from an employer or his/her own incorporated enterprise.

CODE 2     Unincorporated business cash income:

Unincorporated business cash income is net of operating expenses including: labour costs in the form of wages, salaries and supplements; the value of raw materials and services purchased; the repair and maintenance of equipment (including vehicles); the purchase of fuel; indirect taxes; interest paid in connection with the business; and rent paid for buildings and land used in the business. Unincorporated business cash income is also net of depreciation of capital, such as machinery, vehicles and tools used in the business.

CODE 3     Government cash pensions and allowances

All government cash pensions, benefits and allowances.

CODE 4     Other income:

Includes cash income deriving from the ownership of assets (comprising returns from financial assets, physical assets and from intellectual assets), superannuation/annuities, transfers from private organisations (e.g. workers compensation), transfers from other households (e.g. child support payments) and scholarships.

Collection methods:Help on this termPlease note the difference between the permissible values of this Value domain and the ABS classification (that is, Code 4 of this Value domain maps to code 9 of the classification and Code 9 of this value domain is a supplementary value.).

Source and reference attributes

Reference documents:Help on this term

Statistical concepts library, Standards for Social, Labour and Demographic Variables, Cash Income Variables, Framework for Standard Cash Income Variables, Classification and Coding, Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Reference online through:

Ausstats Standards for Social, Labour and Demographic Variables, Cash Income Variables

Data element attributes

Collection and usage attributes

Guide for use:Help on this term

If the person has multiple sources of income and none equal to or greater than 50%, the one, which contributes the largest percentage, should be counted.

If there is more than one source and they are exactly equal, list the source of income which the person most identifies as receiving from the primary occupation.

Included is cash income that may be received from employment (Employee cash income), as a profit or loss from an unincorporated enterprise (Unincorporated business cash income), from the ownership of assets (Property cash income). Income may also be derived from current transfers from government (pensions and benefits) or from private sources, such as superannuation funds. An individual may receive cash income from more than one source.

Excluded from this concept is income in kind e.g. barter for goods or services.

Collection methods:Help on this term

This question is not asked of person's aged less than 15 years because they are generally dependants.

While this standard specifies the collection of data at the 1-digit level, individual community services data collections may use more detailed categories for one or more of the above for program or service-specific purposes. For example, the Commonwealth State Disability Agreement National Minimum Data Set separately identifies disability support pension recipients and other pension/benefit recipients.

It is permissible for agencies to collect at 2- or 4-digit as well, if this suits their purposes.

'Principal source of cash income' may classify the same person (or household, family, or income unit) to different categories, depending upon the level of the classification at which it is collected and output. For example, if a person receives 40% of their income from wages, 35% from Rent, and 25% from Interest, then when collected at the base level of the classification, the Principal source will be ‘Employee cash income’ (Wages). When collected at the two digit level, it will be ‘Property cash income’ (rent 35% and Interest 24% combined), and at the top level, it will be Other cash income.
Please note the difference between the permissible values of this Value domain and the ABS classification (that is, Code 4 of this Value domain maps to code 9 of the classification and Code 9 of this value domain is a supplementary value.).

The 2- and 4-digit levels are described below:

Narrow 2 digit representation

11 Employee cash income
21 Unincorporated business cash income
31 Allowances for students and the unemployed
32 Centrelink pensions for the aged and persons with a disability
39 Other Government cash pensions and allowances
41 Property cash income
42 Superannuation/annuities
43Transfers from private organisations
44 Transfers from other households
43 Scholarships
49 Other cash income
88 Nil income
99 Not stated/not known/inadequately described

Detailed (four-digit) representation

1101 Employee cash income
2101 Unincorporated business cash income
3101 Newstart allowance
3102 Youth allowance
3103 Mature age allowance
3104 Sickness allowance
3105 Austudy payment
3106 ABSTUDY payment
3201 Age pension
3202 Disability support pension
3901 Family Tax Benefit (Parts A and B)
3902 Parenting Payment
3903 Double Orphan Pension
3904 Carer Allowance
3905 Wife Pension
3906 Bereavement Allowance
3907 Widow Allowance (Widow B Pension)
3908 Carer Payment 
3911 Service pension (DVA)
3912 Disability pension (DVA)
3913 Partner Allowance
3914 War Widow's Pension (DVA) 
3915 Special Benefit
3916 Mobility Allowance
3917 CDEP Participant Supplement
3918 Pensions and allowances from overseas governments 
3999 Other Government cash pensions and allowances, n.e.c
4101 Interest
4102 Dividends
4103 Rent
4104 Royalties
4199 Other property cash income, n.e.c
4201 Superannuation/annuities
4301 Workers compensation/sickness/accident insurance
4399 Other transfers from private organisations, n.e.c
4401 Child support
4402 Gifts from relatives
4499 Other cash transfers from other households, n.e.c
4501 Scholarships
4999 Other cash income, n.e.c
8888 Nil income
9999 Not stated/not known/inadequately described


Source and reference attributes

Submitting organisation:Help on this termAustralian Institute of Health and Welfare for the National Community Services Data Committee.

Relational attributes

Related metadata references:Help on this term

Supersedes Person—income source (principal), code N[N] Community Services (retired), Superseded 29/04/2006

See also Person—source of cash income (all) code NN Community Services (retired), Standard 29/04/2006

See also Person—source of cash income (all), code NNNN Housing assistance, Standard 23/08/2010, Homelessness, Standard 23/08/2010

See also Person—source of cash income (all), housing assistance code N[.N.N.N] Housing assistance, Standard 01/05/2013

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