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Household finances: Household debt

Household debt

While household debt can support the purchase of capital assets or provide short-term funds if a household experiences an unexpected large expense, high debt levels can leave households vulnerable to financial hardship if their economic circumstances change.

The number and proportion of households with debt are published in the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) Household Income and Wealth, Australia. The publication presents a summary of findings from the biennial ABS Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) and the ABS Household Expenditure Survey (HES) conducted every six years. The SIH and HES are household surveys and collect information on sources of income, amounts received, household net worth, housing, household and personal characteristics, household expenditure and financial stress for those aged 15 years and over in private dwellings throughout Australia (excluding very remote areas). Debt refers to loans outstanding including: mortgages, credit card debt, investment loans, borrowings from other households, other loans e.g. personal loans to purchase vehicles and study loans.

Data from the Household Income and Wealth publication are also used in the following dashboard menu options: Household income, Household wealth, Household wealth - housing tenure status and Wealth distribution - household characteristics.

See ABS – Household Income and Wealth, Australia ( for further information, including in-depth commentary and analysis, in particular the source data Quality Declaration. Source reference tables 3.3 and 3.5.