Australian Bureau of Statistics
Population Survey Monitor
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Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
The Population Survey Monitor (PSM) was a quarterly user funded survey which collected information from households throughout Australia (excluding sparsely settled areas). The survey collected information from a randomly selected person from each responding household. Data was collected on a variety of topics for government clients. Data is available at both the person and household level. National data only is available for topics collected in one PSM survey. State data is available for topics which have been included in four surveys.
The Population Survey Monitor (PSM) was available to all government departments and agencies willing to fund the ABS to collect data from households on a range of topics. The PSM was also used by the ABS to collect information for ABS sponsored topics.
All usual residents in private households are included in the PSM. The survey covers rural and urban areas across all States and Territories of Australia, except sparsely settled and Indigenous areas, which accounts for approximately 85,000 persons aged 18 years and over. The exclusion of these persons will have only a minor impact on any aggregate estimates that are produced for individual States and Territories, with the exception of the Northern Territory where such persons account for approximately 19% of the population. All persons living in non-private dwellings are excluded.
The scope of the collection includes all persons resident in Australia and aged 18 and over except:
Members of the permanent defence forces are in on scope.
In the PSM, 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
All usual residents are included even if away from the dwelling for six weeks or more.
Data are available for a large range of topics for both person and household level data items. While outputs vary for each Population Survey Monitor (PSM) collection, many data items were repeated to increase sample size. Core data items included in each quarterly collection are listed below. Following this list is a complete list of topics included in the PSM since 1995 with those topics marked with an * being available at the state or territory level.
Household Core Questions
1. Household Type
2. Number of person 18 years and over
3a. Age of eldest dependant child under 25 years
3b. Age of youngest dependant child under 25 years
4. Number of children in age groups
5. Number of 15-17 year old full-time students
6. Number of 15-17 year old NOT full-time students
7. Description of dwelling structure
8. Is the dwelling
- being paid off
- owned outright
9. If none of Q.8 does anyone in the household
- pay rent to live here
- pay board to live here
- live here rent free
10. If rent is paid in Q.8 to whom is rent paid
- Public Housing Authority
- Private landlord/Real Estate Agent
Personal Core Questions
1. If born overseas in what year did you arrive in Australia
2. Language mainly spoken at home
Education and Labour Questions
1. Do you currently attend a secondary school full-time
2. Completion of further educational qualifications
3. Highest qualification completed
In the last week:
4. Did you work in a job business or farm (not including voluntary work)
5. Did you do any work without pay in a family business
6. Did you have a job, business or farm that you were away from
7. more than one job
In your main job do you work:
8. For wages and salary
9. In your own business with employees
10. In your own business without employees
11. Without pay in a family business
12. Payment in kind
13. Unpaid voluntary work
14. How many hours do you usually work in a week?
15. What kind of work do you do in your main job?
- Australian Standard Classification of Occupations
16. What industry, business, or services is carried out where you work?
- Australia and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification code
In the last 4 weeks did you:
17. Look for full-time work?
18. Look for part-time work?
19. At any time in the last four weeks have you:
- Written, phoned or applied in person to an employer for work?
- Answered an advertisement for a job
- Looked in newspapers
- Checked factory notice boards or used the touch-screens at Centerlink
- Been registered with Centerlink as a job seeker
- Checked or registered with any employment agency
- Done anything else to try and find a job (contact relatives/friends)
- Only looked in newspapers
- None of these
20. If you had found a (part-time) job could you have started last week?
21. How do you currently spend most of your time?
- Home duties/caring for children
- Voluntarily out of workforce/retired
- Recovering from injury/illness
- Caring for and aged/disabled or sick person
- Voluntary work
Data items collected since 1995
*Work related health problems and Occupational Health and Safety
Persons 45-74 expected main source of retirement income
*Personal and household income
*Persons who have moved in the last 12 months
*First home owners
*Acceptability of medium density housing in local area
*Mortgage and rent repayments
*Tenure of current residence
*Migration and retirement intentions (Northern Territory only)
*Household use of computing equipment
*Household access to the internet
*Purchase of goods and services via the internet
*Time spent on the computer
*Satisfaction with services provided by police
*Contact with the police
Ranking of offence seriousness
Victims of crime
*Participation in sport and physical activities in the last 12 months
*Children's participation in club and organised sport
*Individual donation of money in the last 12 months
*Households intention to purchase selected items
*Fire Safety Measures Installed or followed by households
*Safety devices installed by households
*Main Energy Source used by households in New South Wales
*Main Energy Source used by households in South Australia
Main Energy Source used by households (Australia)
*General health issues
*Wine & Alcohol consumption in the last week
*Persons in the Northern Territory who smoke tobacco
*Botanical gardens usage
*Art and Craft purchases in the last 3 months
*Attendances at Arts Festivals in last 12 months
Support for the Arts
Attitudes to the Arts
*Work in culture/leisure activities
Concession card holders
*Opinions of environmental issues
ABS standard classifications were used for items describing standard demographic, socio-economic, education, labour force, housing, etc characteristics.
Industry - Australia and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) edition 1 - 1 digit level
Occupation - Australian Standard Classification of Occupations First Edition (ASCO FE) from August 1993,
Age - 5 year age groups
Highest education level completed
Household income decile
Personal income decile
Labour force status
Household / family classification
Nature of occupancy
Metropolitan / ex-metropolitan split
Other concepts (summary)
Comments and/or Other Regions
Excludes sparsely settled areas
The Population Survey Monitor (PSM) was first conducted in August 1993 and then each quarter in the months of February, May, August and November until the final survey in November 2000. The survey sample size was initially set at 2000 and was raised to 3,000 from the February 1996 collection.
Data availability comments
Data was published for each quarterly survey 6 weeks after the month of enumeration for all but the December quarters which was 8 weeks following enumeration.
The last publication of ABS Cat No. 4103.0 was released 1 February 2001.
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This page last updated 11 September 2008