Australian Bureau of Statistics
2901.0 - Census Dictionary, 2006 (Reissue)
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/10/2007 Reissue
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Applicable to: Employed persons
00-99 (0 to 99 hours singly)
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Total number of categories: 103
More Detailed Description
Quality Statement - Hours Worked (HRSP)
There are many aspects which can affect the quality of Census data; the following information should be considered when viewing data on Hours Worked (HRSP).
This data is automatically captured from written numeric responses (and check box responses for "None") and so the chances of processing error are low. All outlying values are checked to ensure that they match the actual response on the form, as all numeric responses are accepted as reported. The data is also subject to normal sample checks to ensure an acceptable level of quality.
The non-response rate for Hours Worked (HRSP) in 2006 was 2.8% compared with 3.0% in 2001. Unlike some other census variables the non-response rate for HRSP is not affected by persons who were imputed into dwellings that did not return a Census form, as HRSP is only applicable for persons with a labour force status of employed.
Comparison with Labour Force Survey data
The table below compares 2006 Census data with hours worked data from the August 2006 Labour Force Survey (the Labour Force Survey provides Australia's official estimates of employment and unemployment, and includes monthly information on hours worked). There are a range of differences in the scope, coverage, timing, measurement of underlying labour force concepts and collection methodologies of the two collections, and these are the major contributors to the differences in the counts of employed persons. Labour Force estimates of the employed population are generally higher than for Census data which is unadjusted for underenumeration and only includes those usual residents present in Australia on Census Night. In addition Census estimates are also affected by non-response (persons imputed into dwellings that do not return a Census form, as well as persons who are included on a completed form but did not respond to relevant labour force questions). LFS estimates only include fully responding questionnaires and are adjusted to account for any non-response. (In the table below, persons for whom Hours Worked (HRSP) was not stated have been removed to facilitate comparison).
The table below shows that in the Census, a higher proportion of persons reported working 40 hours, which may reflect some rounding in Census responses. In the Labour Force Survey trained interviewers are able to prompt for more exact hours worked if the initial response is vague.
Distribution of Hours Worked, 2006 Census and Labour Force Survey, August 2006, for Employed persons ('000s)
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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