1200.0.55.006 - Age Standard, 2014, Version 1.7  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/03/2014  First Issue
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The standard term for the variable is 'Age'.


Nominal definition
Age is defined as the measure of the time elapsed from date of live birth to a specific point in time, usually the date of the collection of the data. Age is an attribute of the counting unit 'person'.

Operational definition
Age is measured by calculating the time elapsed (usually in complete years) between date of birth and a specific point in time (e.g. date of a particular survey).


In 1982, The United Nations (U.N) set out provisional guidelines on standard international age classifications. Based on existing national practices and international recommendations, the U.N recommended the following:

  • The development of international age classifications into 12 different subject areas available at three different levels of detail:
  • The highest level uses combinations of single and five year groupings ending on four and nine
  • The medium level uses combinations of five and ten year groupings
  • The lowest level consists of six broad population groups -comparable to infancy, youth, young adulthood, middle adulthood, older adulthood to average retirement and retirement (under 1, 1-14, 15-24, 25-44, 45-64 and 65 and over).
ABS practices align reasonably well with these guidelines as age output is generally in single, five or ten year age groupings. However, some ABS survey collections vary with legitimate reasons from standard age output categories. For example, the Labour Force Survey is restricted to persons 15 years and older, and surveys concerned with perinatal deaths require age in terms of minutes, hours and days.

Age may be measured in different 'time units'. Infants under one year are measured in minutes, completed days, weeks or months of life, while persons over one year are measured in complete years.