Notes on the data: Housing/ Transport

Households in dwellings receiving rent assistance from the Australian Government, June 2020

Policy context: Affordable, secure and safe housing is fundamental to one's health and wellbeing, employment, education and other life opportunities. Rent assistance assists low-income people in housing need. It is a subsidy paid largely to people who get social security or other income-support benefits from the Commonwealth government, and who rent in the private rental market, in community housing, and in other renting situations. Most recipients of rent assistance would be paying more than 30% of their gross income on rent if rent assistance was not available - a situation referred to as ‘housing stress’ [1].

In 2019, 43% of all Commonwealth Rental Assistance (CRA) recipients were single with no dependent children. Sole parent families represented 21% of the total rent assistance population. Around 1 in 5 received Newstart Allowance (20%), the Age Pension (22%) or a Disability Support Pension (20%) as their primary pension, allowance or benefit. If not for CRA received, nearly 7 in 10 CRA recipients (69%) would have been in rental stress [2].


  1. Randolph B, Holloway D. Commonwealth rent assistance and the spatial concentration of low income households in metropolitan Australia. (AHURI Final Report Series, vol. 101). Melbourne: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) UNSW-UWS Research Centre; 2007 [cited: 2013 Oct 18]. Available from:
  2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Housing Assistance in Australia 2020. AIHW; 2020 [cited: 2020, Nov 16]. Available from:

Notes: The rent assistance data are provided for individual recipients, and there may be multiple individual recipients in a household: to the extent that this occurs, the proportion will be understated. However, dwellings are the most appropriate denominator available for this dataset. In addition, some recipients live in non-private dwellings, which are not included in the denominator: to the extent that this occurs, the proportion will be overstated. Note: The denominator - private dwellings - is based on the 2016 Census as private dwellings data are not available for a later time period.

Rent assistance at the PHA level has been confidentialised where it could identify confidentialised data from other sources at the SA2 level.

Geography: Data available by Population Health Area, Local Government Area, Primary Health Network, Quintile and Remoteness Area

Numerator: Renters receiving assistance from the Department of Social Services at June 2020

Denominator: All occupied private dwellings (2016 Census)

Detail of analysis: Per cent

Source: Compiled by PHIDU based on data from the Department of Social Services, June 2020; and ABS Census: Dwellings, 2016.

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