Australian Bureau of Statistics
2901.0 - Census Dictionary, 2006 (Reissue)
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/07/2007 Reissue
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Language Spoken at Home (LANP)
On this page:
Applicable to: All persons
1. Northern European Languages
2. Southern European Languages
3. Eastern European Languages
4. Southwest and Central Asian Languages
5. Southern Asian Languages
6. Southeast Asian Languages
7. Eastern Asian Languages
8. Australian Indigenous Languages
9. Other Languages
Total number of categories:
one digit level 9
two digit level 60
three digit level 10
four digit level 430
More Detailed Description
Quality Statement - Language Spoken at Home (LANP)
There are many aspects which can affect the quality of Census data; the following information should be considered when viewing data on Language Spoken at Home (LANP).
The primary purpose of this question is to obtain data on languages spoken at home, other than English. Therefore the category "English" should not be used as a measure of spoken English, but rather where English only is spoken at home.
Most of the data (91.8%) is captured automatically from check box responses, so the risk of processing error is minimal. The remainder, consisting mainly of written responses, was coded by an automatic reading and coding process (7.3%), and clerically (0.9%). A very small number were difficult to clerically code (0.2%) and more relaxed rules were used by coders. All coding is subject to sample checks to ensure an acceptable level of quality.
The non-response rate for 2006 was 5.7% compared with 4.8% for 2001. Part of this non-response is attributable to the 4.1% of persons in dwellings which were occupied on Census Night but did not return a completed form. Persons are imputed into these dwellings together with some demographic characteristics, however the values for Language Spoken at Home (LANP) remain not stated. In 2001, 2.1% of persons were imputed into dwellings for which no form was received.
Inadequately described responses (written responses unable to be coded) comprised 0.05% of the data, down from 0.13% in 2001.
In a small proportion of cases (testing has shown that this is around 1%), respondents provided an incorrect number of responses (for LANP respondents are asked to only mark one response only). In these cases responses are accepted in the order they appear on the form and the extra responses are rejected.
In 2006, there were 1,755 persons who were recorded as speaking an Indigenous language at home but whose birthplace (BPLP) was recorded as being a country other than Australia. A small number of these were genuinely reported (that is 18 persons born in Papua New Guinea, 13 persons born in England). However, the majority of these instances are the result of errors introduced during the automated coding of languages during data processing which were subsequently not identified in quality assurance procedures. Occurrences of these errors, in cases of 50 or more persons, include:
In the 2001 Census, 201 persons were recorded as speaking an Indigenous language at home but whose birthplace (BPLP) was recorded as being a country other than Australia.
The ABS aims to produce high quality data from the Census. To achieve this, extensive effort is put into Census form design, collection procedures, and processing procedures.
There are four principal sources of error in Census data: respondent error, processing error, partial response and undercount. Quality management of the Census program aims to reduce error as much as possible, and to provide a measure of the remaining error to data users, to allow them to use the data in an informed way.
When completing their Census form, some people do not answer all the questions which apply to them. In these instances, a 'not stated' code is allocated during processing, with the exception of non-response to age, sex, marital status and place of usual residence. These variables are needed for population estimates, so they are imputed using other information on the Census form, as well as information from the previous Census.
The processing of information from Census forms is now mostly automated, using scanning, Intelligent Character Recognition and other automatic processes. Quality assurance procedures are used during Census processing to ensure processing errors are kept at an acceptable level. Sample checking is undertaken during coding operations, and corrections are made where necessary.
The Census form may be completed by one household member on behalf of others. Incorrect answers can be introduced to the Census form if the respondent does not understand the question or does not know the correct information about other household members. Many of these errors remain in the final data.
More detailed information on data quality is available in the 2006 Census Dictionary (cat. no. 2901.0), in the section titled Managing Census Quality.
This page last updated 20 May 2011
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