Child Care Survey

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    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)


    The Child Care survey is a continuation of a series of surveys on this topic conducted since 1969. The previous survey was in June 1999. The major aim of the survey is to collect data on the supply of, and demand for, child care for children aged less than 12 years. Information is also collected on the use of the Childcare Cash Rebate as well as the working arrangements of parents with children under 12.


    The data will be used for the policy planning and funding of child care services. Specifically, information from the survey will be applied to:

    • Plan levels and types of child care services;
    • Provide updated data on usage of different types of formal and informal care and fees paid;
    • Assess levels and types of employer support for child care and provide updated data to gauge changes in support over time;
    • Assess unmet demand for child care services;
    • Assess the extent of awareness of the Child Care Cash Rebate amongst those who are eligible and indicate their characteristics;
    • Ascertain current arrangements for working parents for care of sick children and the relationship between child care needs and working arrangements;
    • Assess the effect of sick care arrangements on working parents' leave.


    This survey is conducted as part of the Monthly Population Survey, which comprises the Labour Force Survey and, in most months, a supplementary survey topic.

    SCOPE - Labour Force Survey

    The Labour Force Survey includes all persons aged 15 and over except:

    • members of the permanent defence forces;
    • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from census and estimated populations;
    • overseas residents in Australia; and
    • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants) stationed in Australia.

    From July 1993 Jervis Bay Territory is also excluded from the scope of the survey. Before July 1993 it was included in estimates for the Australian Capital Territory.

    SCOPE - Childcare Survey

    A questionnaire is obtained for each child aged 0-11 years who is a usual resident in the selected dwelling.

    Also excluded are an estimated 7,000 children living in remote and sparsely settled parts of the Northern Territory. These children are estimated to account for around 18% of the Northern Territory's population under 12 years of age.

    From July 1997, all supplementary surveys excluded persons in remote and sparsely settled areas of Australia. The exclusion of these persons has only a minor effect on estimates for individual States or Territories.

    COVERAGE - Labour Force Survey

    In the Labour Force Survey, coverage rules are applied which aim to ensure that each person is associated with only one dwelling, and hence has only one chance of selection. The chance of a person being enumerated at two separate dwellings in the one survey is considered to be negligible.

    Persons who are away from their usual residence for six weeks or less at the time of interview are enumerated at their usual residence (relevant information may be obtained from other usual residents present at the time of the survey).


    Conceptual framework

    Child Care relates to those types of care for children described as formal child care or informal child care

    Formal child care is regulated care away from the child's home, which includes:

    • Preschool
    • Before and after school care
    • Long day care
    • Family day care
    • Occasional care
    • Other formal care

    Informal care is non-regulated care either in the child's home or elsewhere. It includes care by:
    • (step)brothers or (step)sisters
    • relatives (including non-custodial parents)
    • non relatives (including friends, neighbours, babysitters

    It may be paid or unpaid.

    Main outputs

    Publication : Child Care, Australia. ABS Cat. No : 4402.0

    Characteristics of interest/Data Items:

    • Demographic items
    • Number of children aged under 12 in family
    • Sex of child
    • Age of child
    • Country of birth of child
    • Year of arrival of child
    • Whether language other than English spoken at home
    • Main language spoken at home
    • School attendance
    • Total income of each parent
    • Main source of income
    • Family type
    • Area of usual residence
    • Child care arrangements
    • Type of care arrangements used
    • Days of attendance
    • Hours of care
    • Time of day of care (only available for Informal Care and Before and After School Care)
    • Cost of care
    • Reasons for use of child care
    • Childcare Cash Rebate (CCR)
    • Whether the CCR was claimed
    • Reasons for not claiming
    • Type of care for which CCR claimed
    • Demand for formal care
    • Type of formal care required
    • Number of days (additional) formal care required
    • Reasons for requiring/not requiring (additional) formal care
    • Reasons (additional) formal care not available
    • Reasons for not using (additional) formal care if available
    • Employer assisted child care
    • Type of child care assistance provided by employer
    • Whether employer assistance used by parent


    Children aged 0-11 years (who were usual residents of a private dwelling).

    Major Populations

    Population 0: Partners in all couple families

    Population 1: Families with at least one child aged 0-11 years

    Population 2: First and second selected children aged 0-11 years

    Population 3: First and second selected children attending Formal Care

    Population 4: First and second selected children attending Informal Care

    Population 5: First and second selected children who have an unmet/undermet demand for formal child care

    Population 6: All children aged 0-11

    Population 7: Third, Fourth and Fifth selected child aged 0-11


    Demographics: State, Area, Region, Sex, Marital Status, Relationship in Household, Period of Arrival and Age.

    Country of Birth: The Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC).

    Other concepts (summary)

    Not applicable

    1. National & State/Territory\1.01 Australia
    1. National & State/Territory\1.02 All States & Territories
    2. Parts of State\2.12 Other Geographic Areas\2.12.03 Part of State Metropolitan
    2. Parts of State\2.12 Other Geographic Areas\2.12.04 Part of State-Extra Metropolitan

    Comments and/or Other Regions

    Not all data available for all areas.

    3 Yearly

    Frequency comments

    Initially conducted in May 1969, then in May 1973, May 1977, June 1980, November 1984 then 3 yearly in June from 1987 except in 1990 and 1996 when the topic was conducted in November and March respectively.


    The ABS has conducted a similar survey approximately every three years since 1969.


    Data availability comments

    Publication Child Care, Australia (ABS Cat. No 4402.0)

    20/02/2003 05:43 PM