The National Social Housing Survey is a biennial survey of social housing tenants which complements administrative data collected by social housing providers and includes information on tenants and their social housing experiences.

Collection details

Temporal coverage

from 30 June 1996 to 30 June 2018

Geographical coverage

National and state

Data availability

  • Publications
  • Summary tables published in electronic form
  • Statistics
  • Client specified tables on request which may be subject to data provider approval (charges apply)
  • Restricted unit record access subject to Ethics Committee approval and/or the agreement of all relevant data custodians in all states and territories (charges may apply)
  • Restrictions and limitations govern the availability or use of data in this holding.

Data scope

Participants are randomly sampled from social housing programs e.g. Public Housing (PH), State Owned and Managed Indigenous Housing (SOMIH), Community Housing (CH) and Indigenous Community Housing (ICH).

The NSHS was conducted annually from 1996 to 2003 and has subsequently been conducted in 2005, 2007 and every second year from 2010.

AIHW holds unit record NSHS data collected from 1998.

The data collection has evolved over time. The first NSHS in 1996 surveyed only PH tenants. The survey has since expanded to include CH tenants (in selected years from 2001), SOMIH tenants (in selected years from 2005) and ICH tenants in Queensland (added in 2018). Before 2010, the survey content differed slightly across programs, reflecting different areas of interest in relation to each program. Since 2014, the adoption of more consistent survey instruments has allowed greater data comparability across social housing programs and over time.



Metadata information and data quality statement (DQS)

National Social Housing Survey, 2018 DQS

External links and information 

National Social Housing Survey report

Housing Assistance in Australia

Report on Government Services

Australia's Welfare


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