In 2008, the Conference of European Statisticians (CES) completed an in-depth review of statistics on income, living conditions and poverty. The importance of this work was reinforced by the release of the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission Report on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress (2009), which includes recommendations about the need to focus on the household perspective and distributional aspects of economic well-being.
An outcome of the CES review was the formation of a small international Task Force to undertake a limited update of the Final Report and Recommendations of the Expert Group on Household Income Statistics (2001), commonly referred to as the Canberra Group Handbook. The purpose of the update was to incorporate new developments in the area of household income measurement and to expand the guidelines to take into account these new developments. The objective was to help achieve greater harmonisation of income concepts and measurement at the household level across countries.
The 2001 Canberra Group Handbook was the result of the work of an International Expert Group on Household Income Statistics, known as the 'Canberra Group', that was established in 1996 at the initiative of the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The initiative was in response to a growing awareness of the need to address the common conceptual, definitional and practical problems that national statistical offices faced in the area of household income distribution statistics.
The first edition of the handbook significantly advanced the available guidance on the production, dissemination and analysis of household income statistics and provided a significant reference point for national and international statistical agencies. It was also highly influential in the development of new international standards for micro level household income statistics, as set out in the resolution on standards for household income statistics adopted by the International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) in December 2003 (ILO, 2004).
In principle, there is no difference between the ICLS definition of household income and the concept of household income in the 2001 Canberra Group Handbook. The ICLS standard also follows, to a large extent, the definitional recommendations put forward by the first edition of the handbook. The only exceptions are in regard to the Value of unpaid domestic services and the Value of services from household consumer durables. These components were not included in the conceptual income definition of the first edition of the handbook, but listed as 'issues for the future'. In this second edition of the handbook the two components have been included in the conceptual definition to align with the 2004 ICLS standard.
The Canberra Group Handbook on Household Income Statistics, Second Edition (2011), provides a consolidated reference for those involved in producing, disseminating or analysing income distribution statistics. It reflects the current international standards, recommendations and best practice in household income measurement. It also contains updated and expanded information about country practices in this field of statistics and provides guidance on best practices for quality assurance and dissemination of these statistics.
Custodian: United nations Economic Commission for Europe - UN/ECE
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