Income survey questions ethnicity survey

Discover the Role of Income Survey Questions in Business


Table of Contents

What is income survey?

Income survey is a type of demographic survey, conducted with an intention of understanding the financial situation of an individual. This generally brings out how much a person earns annually, be it an individual income or a family income, it depends on the questions asked. 

But why do companies need their customers’ income? Well, many types of businesses be it banks, money lending business or even a product based company, they all run on one factor and that is “Customers”. In order to predict the customer’s financial status will help banks and money lending businesses to see whether the customer will be able to repay the loan or not. In case of product driven companies, an income survey will tell them what kind of customer base they have with respect to the financial standards and whether they can afford their products or not.

Isn’t income a sensitive topic? Almost all the businesses face this issue while asking for demographics from the customers or responders. Most of the respondents feel hesitant while providing their personal information in a survey, mostly their income. It makes them feel that income showcases their growth and status hence end up feeling embarrassed about it. 

Apart from these moral obligations, businesses use income survey result for identifying their target audience, planning better product prices and marketing and their over al betterment. It helps the researcher to know where to place the products and its prices in a way that it appeals to a larger customer base of all sorts of income ranges. 

Example: a home décor shop wishes to find their target audience and a price range for their products for which they conduct an income survey. In such demographic surveys, the business will ask the customers to fill in their age, sex, income, etc. which will help them draw a better picture of their narrow target audience and plan their strategies accordingly.

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Income survey questions tips

Here are 5 elite tips for you to frame a perfect set of income survey questionnaire in order to get the desired results from the customers:

  • Knowing your audience 

Before framing the income survey questions, it is important to KNOW your audience. For example, if you are a business who provide online courses for engineering degrees, you will look for the audience who is pursuing their degree in engineering or teaching the subjects related to that. You will not look for students and teachers from MBA courses. 

According to your target audience, depending on their ability to spend on an online courses, you will frame your questions shedding some light on their expectations and capabilities. 

  • Precise instructions

Make sure you communicate with the respondents clearly. They should understand your questions thoroughly and easily. 

For example, be clear about “What is your total household income?’ and “What is your individual income?” 

Make sure you frame your questions this straightforward to let tit not make any confusion while answering. 

  • Proper wording

It is really important to watch out for your words and language while asking such sensitive demographic questions to the customers. The reason behind it is, demographic questions are already sensitive and risky enough to put the respondents off guard and you don’t want to piss them off by making it more offensive and intrusive for them.

For example, avoid asking very narrow and personal questions like “How much is your partner’s salary?”, “How much was your salary this month?”

  • Relevant questions 

Make sure you avoid asking too many income-related questions back to back, provided your information gathering is not just focused on the income of the customers. You might find it intriguing to ask as many income-related questions as possible so that you can get a closer look at their income background. But it is not at all pleasant for the respondent. 

For example, you can ask a generic question like “How much is your annual family income?” and avoid asking questions like “What is your parent’s income?”

  • Use approximate number ranges

Make it easier for the respondent by giving them a range of income. 

For example:

Income survey questions ethnicity survey

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Income survey questions

In this section we will look at some commonly asked income survey questions which yield good results:

  1. Which of these describes your individual income last year?


           $1 – $50,000

           $50,000 – $100,000

           $10,000 – $150,000

           Prefer not to say

  1. What is your total household income?


          $1 – $50,000

          $50,000 – $100,000

          $10,000 – $150,000

          Prefer not to say

  1. Do you have income from any sources other than salary?



            Prefer not to say

  1. Did you receive any social security benefits or disability income in the    

    last year?   



   Prefer not to say

  1. Did you receive any money from selling stocks/bond/real estate last 




            Prefer not to say

  1. Have you received any monetary contributions of gifts that included rent 

    or utility payments from someone who does not live with you?



           Prefer not to say

  1. List all the sources of your income?

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Pros and cons of income survey question

Pros of income survey question:

  • Allow the researcher to see how the factors like income affect the purchase decision of the customers.
  • Most of the government and social help bodies benefit through income surveys by knowing which groups of people need more attention based on their income standards and providing the necessary support.
  • Income survey questions help the businesses to target their products and services in a way that they will afford to all the income categories. 
  • It also helps businesses to plan their strategies in the future. 

Cons of income survey question:

  • As discussed earlier, respondents feel embarrassed to mention their income, resulting in incorrect or untrustworthy answers. 
  • People might find the questions too confusing or too revealing if you ask in-depth income questions.
  • People find it as a matter of self-worth and embarrassment to reveal their income, especially when it is low. 
  • There is a high chance that for legal and tax reasons, people may fill in fake income, resulting in incorrect conclusions. 

Explore all the survey question types
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