Data collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in its surveys of household income and expenditure are widely used to examine poverty, disadvantage and income distribution and how they have changed (ABS 2002a; Barrett, Crossley and Worswick 2000; Bray 2001; Harding, Lloyd and Greenwell 2001; Saunders 2001). These data are also used to estimate how household living standards vary over time (Whiteford and Bond 2000) and across the population (McColl, Pietsch and Gatenby 2001). They also form the basis of microsimulation models that extrapolate how incomes change in response to changes in external economic and demographic conditions (Harding 1996; Polette and Robinson 1997). Modified data from the income surveys are used by the Luxembourg Income Study to compare patterns of economic inequality and poverty in Australia with those in other countries (Bradbury and Jäntti 1999; Burniaux et al. 1998; Smeeding 2000).