The description of particular tasks that were being done during a person's day.
Describes all the things which related to a particular activity; for whom, what else was being done, physical and spatial location, mode of transport used, communication or technology used during the activity and who else was there, at any particular time. A change in any of these elements identified a new activity episode.
Any activity recorded in the diary is coded to a different activity type depending on whether it was described in the first diary column 'What was your main activity' or in the third diary column 'What else were you doing at the same time'. If it was described as a main activity it is stored on the computer file as the item Primary Activity. If the description occurred in diary column 3, it was stored as the item Secondary Activity.
Refers to the whole population of the particular group being examined, for instance, the whole population of Australians, or of males, or of women in full-time employment. There are only a few activities that everybody does every day. Most activities are done by different numbers of people. In order to compare times between different countries or groups of people, the time spent on activities by the people who reported doing them was distributed over the whole population, and presented as average time spent by all persons.
Persons 60 years or older and persons with a restriction which has lasted or is likely to last 6 months or more were asked if they receive help with a range of tasks. These include:
Assistance to child with a disability
- meal preparation;
- laundry and linen;
- light housework;
- heavy housework;
- home maintenance;
- gardening/mowing; and
Assistance is identified for a child aged under 15 years who receives more than usual assistance with the following tasks:
- bathing or showering;
- dressing or undressing;
- eating or feeding;
- using the toilet;
- bladder or bowel control;
- moving around at home;
- moving around away from home; and
- understanding or being understood in own language.
The intention was to identify households which included children (and adults) with limitations in personal activity, who required more intensive care than usually provided. The presence of people needing care is likely to have an effect on the activity patterns of many or all of the people in that household. Detailed information about people with disabilities and their level of limitation is collected regularly by the ABS, most recently in the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers
conducted in 2003 (Cat. no. 4430.0)
Average time spent
The time spent by each person on a particular activity in a day was added to the time spent on that activity by everyone else. For 'average time spent by all persons', divide the total time spent on an activity, by the whole population (see All persons). For 'average time spent by participants' divide the total time spent on an activity by the number of persons engaged in that activity (see Participants). In an 'All persons' average time table, the time spent on activities by a particular population, for example 'males', can be added together. The time spent on activities by participants cannot be added together, as the average time calculation is based on a different population for each activity.
A carer is a person in the household specified as the provider of assistance to a person with a disability; or a person who identifies him/herself as the provider of assistance to a person with a long-term illness or disability living in another household.
Caring for adults
This activity category included physical care and emotional support as well as any other activities done for anyone outside the household who was sick, frail or who had a disability.
A person of any age who is a natural, adopted, step, or foster son or daughter of a couple or lone parent, usually resident in the same household. A child is also any individual under 15, usually resident in the household, who forms a parent-child relationship with another member in the household. This includes otherwise related children and unrelated children under 15. In these cases in order to be classified as a child, the person can have no child or partner of their own usually resident in the household. For the purpose of asking about the presence of a child with disabilities in the household, a child is defined as aged under 15 years; for questions about use of child care, the relevant age is under 13 years.
Child care activities
A major activity classification group which relates to all activities done for children aged under 15 years. It contains activities such as the physical and emotional care of children, teaching, reprimanding, playing with and talking to children. It also includes minding children and visiting child care establishments or schools.
Commercial or service area
Includes banks, shops, offices and hospitals.
Describes activities to which a person has committed him/herself because of previous acts or behaviours or community participation such as having children, setting up a household or doing voluntary work. The consequent housework, care of children, shopping or provision of help to others are committed activities. In most cases, services could be bought to provide the same activity (e.g. an exchange could be made of time for money). The activity classifications of domestic work, child care, purchasing goods and services, and voluntary work and care are all included in this time category.
This was recorded when a person reported any type of communication or use of technology. It is used to describe how a person is communicating with others (e.g. in person, by phone) or the technology that they are using during the activity.
Concordance of activities
A concordance has been derived on activities to allow for comparison of data from 1992 with 1997 and 2006.
The maintenance of privacy of information that has been provided by individual respondents, and assurance that information about individual respondents cannot be derived from published survey results.
Includes paid work and regular education. Activities within this category have explicit contracts which control the periods of time in which they are performed. These activities, therefore, constrain the distibution of other activities over the rest of the day. The activity classification of employment related activities and education activities are included in this time category.
Core activity limitation
Limitation in one of the three core activity areas namely self-care, mobility and communication, because of a long term health condition.
A couple refers to two usual residents, both aged at least 15 years, who are either married to each other or living in a de facto relationship with each other.
Couple family with dependent children
See family types.
All persons aged under 15 years; and persons aged 15-24 years who are full-time students, have a parent in the household and do not have a partner or child of their own in the household.
Whether has a disability, the level of core-activity limitation, and whether has a schooling or employment restriction. A disability or long-term health condition exists if a limitation, restriction, impairment, disease or disorder, had lasted, or was likely to last for at least six months, and which restricted everyday activities.
It is classified by whether or not a person has a specific limitation or restriction. Specific limitation or restriction is further classified by whether the limitation or restriction is a limitation in core activities or a schooling/employment restriction only.
There are four levels of core activity limitation (profound, severe, moderate, and mild) which are based on whether a person needs help, has difficulty, or uses aids or equipment with any of the core activities (self care, mobility or communication). A person's overall level of core activity limitation is determined by their highest level of limitation in these activities.
The four levels are:
- profound - always needs help/supervision with core activities
- severe - does not always need help with core activities
- moderate - has difficulty with core activities
- mild - uses aids to assist with core activities.
Persons are classified as having only a schooling/employment restriction if they have no core activity limitation and are aged 15 to 20 years and have difficulty with education, or are less than 65 years and have difficulty with employment.
A major activity classification group (See Total housework and Total other household work).
Duration of unemployment
The elapsed period to the end of the reference week since the time a person began looking for work, or since a person last worked for two weeks or more, whichever is the shorter.
Eating and drinking locale
Includes pubs, cafes, restaurants and food courts. Excludes canteens or eating areas in the workplace.
A major activity classification group relates to formal education and training such as attending school, university and technical college courses, job related training (including time spent at professional conferences), studying and breaks at the place of education. As for 1997, but unlike in 1992, eating lunch or morning or afternoon tea at a school or other place of education is not included in Educational activities.
Includes preschools, schools, universities, TAFE, technical colleges, colleges etc.
Employment related activities
A major activity classification group which includes activities carried out in paid employment, or unpaid work in a family business or farm; job search activities such as travel to work or in the course of job search, and time spent in the workplace during work breaks. Looking at job advertisements in a newspaper, has been coded as job search. As for 1997, it does not include eating lunch or coffee breaks etc. In cases where respondents who were not in the labour force according to their interview, reported doing clerical and related work at home, and their spouse was self-employed, these activities were coded as unpaid work in a family business.
Persons aged 15 years and over who, during the week before the interview:
Equivalised gross weekly household income
- worked one hour or more for pay, profit, commission, payment in kind in a job or business, or on a farm (includes employees, employers and own account workers)
- worked one hour or more, without pay in a family business or on a family farm
- had a job, business, or farm but was not at work because of holidays, sickness or other reason.
Total household income that has been adjusted for the number of adults and children in the household using an equivalence scale. For a lone person household, it is equal to income received. For a household comprising more than one person, equivalised income is an indicator of the household income that would be required by a lone person household in order to enjoy the same level of economic wellbeing as the household in question.
Two or more persons, one of whom is at least 15 years of age, who are related by blood, marriage (registered or de facto), adoption, step or fostering; and who are usually resident in the same household. The basis of a family is formed by identifying the presence of a couple relationship, lone parent-child relationship or other blood relationship. Some households will, therefore, contain more than one family. For the purposes of the Time Use diary, family members who are usually resident in the same household are referred to as 'in household' family while family members who live outside of the household are referred to as family 'living elsewhere'.
Families are classified to one of the following categories:
Formal child care
- Couple only - two persons in a registered or de facto marriage who usually live in the same household.
- Couple family with dependent children - a family consisting of a couple with at least one dependent child. The family may also include non-dependent children, other relatives and unrelated individuals.
- One parent family with dependent children - a family comprising a lone parent with at least one dependent child. The family may also include non-dependent children, other relatives and unrelated individuals.
- Other families:
- one couple with their non-dependent children only
- one couple, with or without non-dependent children or other relatives, plus unrelated individuals
- a lone parent with his/her non-dependent children, with or without other relatives and unrelated individuals
- two or more related individuals where the relationship is not a couple relationship or a parent-child relationship (e.g. two brothers).
Formal child care refers to regulated care away from the child's home for children 12 years and under. This includes:
- before and after school care centres;
- long day care centres;
- family day care;
- preschool and kindergarten centres;
- occasional care centres; and
- other formal care.
In column two of the diary, persons reported for whom they were doing the main activity. This information was used to gain details on the purpose of the activity performed. The 'for whom' code was used to identify voluntary work, caring activities and helping activities.
The amount of time left when committed, contracted and necessary time have been taken out of a person's day. Social and community interaction and recreation and leisure activities are included in this time category.
Education classified by an educational institution as being full-time.
A student classified by an educational institution as being full-time.
For employed persons, full-time/part-time status is determined by the actual hours worked in the reference week or, as in this survey, the usual number of hours worked in a week in all jobs. For unemployed persons, it is the respondent's perception of whether the work sought is full-time or part-time. Full-time work is defined as 35 hours or more per week.
A household consisting of two or more unrelated persons where all persons are aged 15 years and over. There are no reported couple relationships, parent-child relationships or other blood relationships in these households.
Helping, doing favours
This category includes any activity that is performed for people outside the household who are not sick and do not have a disability.
One or more persons, at least one of whom is at least 15 years of age, usually resident in the same private dwelling.
Persons were asked if particular household items were present in their household. These items included the number of televisions, motor vehicles and whether they had a computer, dishwasher or a clothes dryer in their household.
Hours usually worked each week
Hours usually worked each week is the amount of time a person usually spends at work each week as reported on the personal questionnaire, not the time diary. The time includes all paid and unpaid overtime but excludes time off.
An impairment is a physical, psychological, intellectual or sensory loss of function. See 'Person with a disability' for list of impairments and restrictions used by the ABS to identify disability.
Regular and recurring cash receipts including money received from:
- wages and salaries (whether from an employer or own incorporated enterprise), including income provided as part of a salary sacrifice arrangement
- profit/loss from own unincorporated business (including partnerships)
- investment income (interest, rent, dividends, royalties)
- government pensions and allowances
- private cash transfers (e.g. superannuation, regular workers' compensation, income from annuities, child support, and other transfers from other households).
Gross income is the sum of the income from all these sources before income tax or the Medicare levy are deducted. See also Equivalised gross weekly household income.
Index of relative socio-economic disadvantage
Persons area of residence ranked according to the 2001 Census-based Index of Disadvantage. Greater disadvantage is at the low end of the scale.
Informal child care
Informal child care refers to non-regulated care for a child under 12 years, in either the child's home or elsewhere. Care may be charged for or provided free of charge. It includes care provided by:
Labour force status
- child's (step)brother or (step)sister;
- child's grandparents;
- child's other relative; and
- other people.
Classifies all persons aged 15 years or over as employed, unemployed or not in the labour force (according to the relevant definitions), during the specified reference week.
Leisure, culture or sport establishment
Includes indoor sports centres, museums, cinemas and theatres, public swimming pools, gyms etc.
Location refers to where the person was when an activity was taking place. This includes a person's physical location e.g. at home, at work or in a street; and spatial location e.g. indoors, outdoors, or in transit.
A person who has no spouse or partner present in the household but who has a parent-child relationship with at least one dependent or non-dependent child usually resident in the household.
Lone person household
A household consisting of a person living alone. See also Non-family households.
Major activity groups
There are nine major activity groups within the activity classification. These are at the one digit code level. They are: personal care activities; employment related activities; education activities; domestic activities; child care activities; purchasing goods and services; voluntary work and care activities; social participation; and recreation and leisure.
The person's description of an activity in the first diary column is designated as their main activity. In many countries, only one activity is collected for a time slot. Thus main activity tables are required for some comparability between countries. For many time periods, only one (the main) activity is described by respondents.
Main English-speaking countries
The list of Main English Speaking countries provided here is not an attempt to classify countries on the basis of whether or not English is the predominant or official language of each country. It is a list of the main countries from which Australia receives, or has received significant numbers of settlers from overseas who are likely to speak English. These countries comprise the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Canada, United States, New Zealand and South Africa.
Adjustment of variable values, for individual records, for the purpose of avoiding a possible breach of confidentiality.
Unit record level statistical data.
Mode of transport
Mode of transport refers to the way in which people were travelling when they reported travel, e.g. driving or being driven in a car, walking, riding a bike, in a bus or train.
Nature of activity
Describes what people are actually doing regardless of the purpose.
Includes activities which serve basic physiological needs such as sleeping, eating, personal care, health and hygiene. These activities are identified in the activity classification as personal care activities.
Persons aged 15 years and over who:
- do not have a spouse or offspring of their own in the household
- have a parent in the household
- are not full-time students aged 15-24 years.
A household that consists of unrelated persons only. Non-family households are classified to one of the following categories:
- Group household - a household consisting of two or more unrelated persons where all persons are aged 15 years and over. There are no reported couple relationships, parent-child relationships or other blood relationships in these households.
- Lone person household - a household consisting of a person living alone.
Non-school qualifications are awarded for educational attainments other than those of pre-primary, primary or secondary education. They include qualifications at the Post Graduate Degree Level, Master Degree Level, Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate Level, Bachelor Degree Level, Advanced Diploma and Diploma Level, and Certificates I, II, III and IV levels. Non-school qualifications may be attained concurrently with school qualifications.
A combination of those people not in the labour force and unemployed. See Not in the labour force and Unemployed.
Not in the labour force
Persons not in the categories employed or unemployed as defined.
Occupation is coded according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), 2005 (Cat. no. 1221.0) from the respondents' descriptions of the kind of work they perform.
People aged 65 and over.
One parent family
A family which consists of a lone parent with at least one dependent or non-dependent child (regardless of age) who is also usually resident in the household. The family may also include any number of other dependent children, non-dependent children and other related individuals.
Other family member
A related individual who is not the spouse, child, parent or ancestor of any usual resident.
Other free time
An aggregation of activities such as relaxing, resting, thinking, worrying, drinking alcohol, smoking, enjoying memorabilia and interacting with pets.
Defined in respect of a particular activity, participants are those respondents who reported some time spent on that activity on a diary day.
The proportion of the whole population who reported on at least one of their diary days that they were taking part in a particular activity. Whole population refers to the population used for a table, or for part of a table. For example, where a table shows a disaggregation by sex, the male participation rate reflects the proportion of total males. Activity participation rates compare usefully between different populations within the table, but they do not present a similar proportion to the proportion of the population who report taking part in an activity during a longer reference period.
For activities that take place on every day of the week, such as sleeping, the participation rate will be similar to a weekly rate. For activities that take place at regular intervals, such as sports events at weekends, the relevant weekday or weekend participation rate will be more realistic than the participation rate for the whole week. For irregular and occasional activities the participation rate cannot be used as an accurate representation of the population taking part in the activity. In this case the participation rate is likely to be either an overcount or an undercount of the real value because the activity occurs at irregular periods of time which may or may not have occurred during the time when the survey was conducted.
Education classified by an educational institution as being part-time.
A student classified by an educational institution as being part-time.
Person with a disability
A person of any age with one or more of the following impairments or restrictions which has lasted or is expected to last 6 months or more:
Person with severe or profound limitation in personal activity
- loss of sight;
- loss of hearing;
- speech difficulties;
- blackouts, fits or loss of consciousness;
- difficulty learning or understanding things;
- incomplete use of arms or fingers;
- difficulty gripping or holding things;
- incomplete use of feet or legs;
- nerves or emotional conditions which require treatment;
- restriction in physical activities or in doing physical work (e.g. back problems, arthritis);
- any disfigurement or deformity;
- needs/requires help or supervision in doing things due to a mental illness or condition;
- long-term effects as a result of a head injury, stroke or other brain damage;
- treatment or medication for a long-term condition or ailment and is still restricted by that condition; or
- any other long-term condition such as asthma, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, dementia etc. which is restricting.
A person with a severe or profound limitation in personal activity is one who requires personal assistance with personal care, mobility or communication tasks. See 'Assistance to child with a disability' for list of tasks.
Personal care activities
A major activity classification group which includes activities such as sleeping, personal hygiene, health care and eating and drinking.
Includes getting up, getting ready, bathing, using the toilet and grooming.
Personal medical care
Includes taking medications, vitamins, applying dressings or ointments, and exercising for specific conditions.
Adjustment of estimates to disguise individual values without affecting the statistical validity of aggregate data.
See Activity priority.
A primary carer provides the most assistance with the activities of self-care, mobility, or communication to another person who is either a co-resident or living elsewhere. The help or supervision has to be provided on a regular, unpaid, informal basis, because of the person's long-term health condition, or disability, and must be ongoing or likely to be ongoing for at least six months.
Principal source of cash income
Principal source of cash income refers to that source from which the greatest amount of cash income is received.
A residential structure which is self-contained, owned or rented by the occupants, and intended solely for residential use. A private dwelling can be a flat, part of a house, or even a room; but can also be a house attached to, or rooms above, shops or offices; an occupied caravan in a long-stay caravan park or boat in a marina; a houseboat, or a tent if it is standing on its own block of land. A caravan situated on a residential allotment is also classed as a private dwelling.
Includes streets, town halls, public gardens and churches.
Purchasing goods and services
A major activity classification group which includes activities such as purchasing consumer and durable goods, buying repair services and administrative services.
Purpose of activity
The reason why the person is doing what they are doing. For example, if someone is cooking for volunteer firemen, the purpose of the activity would be unpaid voluntary work. The nature of the activity is cooking. Purpose data is provided from the 'for whom' column.
Groupings that result from ranking all households or persons in the population in ascending order according to some characteristic such as their household income and then dividing the population into five equal groups, each comprising 20% of the estimated population.
Recreation and leisure activities
A major activity classification group which includes activities such as playing sport, walking, participating in games or hobbies, reading and watching television. Also included is other free time such as relaxing, thinking, smoking and drinking alcohol.
Within the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), 2001 (Cat. no. 1216.0) the Remoteness classification comprises five categories each of which identifies a (non-contiguous) region in Australia having a particular degree of remoteness. The categories range from ‘Major Cities of Australia’ to ‘Very Remote Australia’. The degree of remoteness of each Collection District (CD) was determined using the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA). CDs have then been grouped into the appropriate category of Remoteness to form non-contiguous areas within each state.
Defined as those dwellings from which no interviews or diaries were obtained for reasons other than non-response. This occurred in cases where all persons in the household were excluded on scope or coverage, the dwelling was vacant, or the dwelling was under construction, converted to non-dwelling use, derelict or listed in error.
Any recognised primary or secondary school, or secondary college. These include formal classes, correspondence and home tuition.
See Activity priority.
Section of state
This geographical classification uses population counts to define Collection Districts (CDs) as urban or rural and to provide, in aggregate, statistics for urban concentrations and for bounded localities and balance areas. Section of State represents an aggregation of non-contiguous geographical areas of a particular urban/rural type. The Sections of State defined include Major Urban (population clusters of 100,000 or more), Other Urban (population clusters of 1,000 to 99,999), Rural Locality (200 to 999), Rural Balance (remainder of State/Territory) and Migratory, and in aggregate cover the whole of Australia.
Self-assessed health status
Respondent's perception of their current health status.
Social and community interaction
A major activity classification group which includes activities relating to social interaction participation such as attending a concert, a library or amusement park. Also included are attending sports events, participating in religious ceremonies and community participation such as attendance at meetings.
Socio-economic status of area
Person's area of residence ranked according to the 2001 Census-based Index of Disadvantage. Greater disadvantage is at the low end of the scale.
Status in employment
Status in employment is a person's classification as being either an employee, employer, own account worker, or contributing family worker in respect to their main job.
Status of student
Whether a student undertakes study full-time or part-time.
Support for adults
An aggregate covering both the physical and emotional care for adults and helping or doing favours.
Time saving services
Persons were asked whether their household used services such as house cleaning services, clothes care or laundry services and gardening services. They were also asked how many times, in the previous two weeks, anyone in their household had a takeaway meal or had eaten a meal in a restaurant.
Time stress questions
Persons were asked to fill in questions at the start of their diary. These questions asked for the person's perception on how often they felt rushed or pressed for time or whether they had time they didn't know what to do with. They were also asked the reasons why they felt this way.
Time use diary
The time use diary was used to collect information about people's daily activities. The diary was set out in columns requiring the respondent to enter what activity they were doing, who the activity was done for, if they were doing anything else at the same time, where they were and who they were with.
Reduction of all high values to a specified maximum value.
Total cash income
The sum of amounts of cash income from wages, salary, all government pensions and allowances, interest, dividends, superannuation, profit/loss from own business or rental property, and any other regular source reported for the applicable reference period in response to one or more questions, calculated as a weekly equivalent.
The activity group Domestic activities has been further divided into two sub-groups, 'Total housework' and 'Total other household work'. Total housework includes food preparation, service and clean-up; washing, ironing and clothes care; and other housework such as indoor cleaning and tidying activities. The reason for this division is that previous time use studies have shown men's domestic work is mostly identified in 'Total other household work', and women's domestic work is mostly identified in 'Total housework'.
Total other household work
Includes domestic management, home and car maintenance and improvement, pet care and care of the grounds. Associated travel is not included.
Travel associated with activities
Whenever a respondent reported an episode of travelling in their diary, the travel was assigned to a particular activity group such as purchasing goods and services, depending on the activity following the travel episode, such as shopping at the mall or the preceding activity in the case of travelling home after shopping.
Types of time
The four types of time are:
- Necessary time includes activities which serve basic physiological needs such as sleeping, eating, personal care, health and hygiene;
- Contracted time includes paid work and regular education. Activities within this category have explicit contracts which control the periods of time in which they are performed;
- Committed time describes activities to which a person has committed him/herself because of previous acts or behaviours or community participation such as having children, setting up a household or doing voluntary work. The consequent housework, care of children, shopping or provision of help to others are committed activities. In most cases, services could be bought to provide the same activity (e.g. an exchange could be made of time for money); and
- Free time is the amount of time left when the previous three types of time have been taken out of a person's day. Social and community interaction and recreation and leisure activities are included in this category.
This category is used where a characteristic for an activity, such as specific physical location, was not specified by the respondent in the diary entry.
Persons aged 15 years and over who were not employed during the week before the interview and had actively looked for full-time or part-time work at any time in the four weeks before the interview and:
Unpaid voluntary work
- were available for work in the week before the interview, or
- were waiting to start a new job within four weeks from the interview and would have started in the week before the interview if the job had been available then.
Activities which are performed for community organisations without pay.
Unpaid work in a family business or farm
Worked for one hour or more without pay in a family business or on a farm. Also includes reported episodes where diary schedule does not indicate employment and there is no earned income but the respondent was clearly doing clerical or other work for (usually the spouse's) business. It also includes activities such as when the respondent reported 'pottering on the farm'.
Usual resident (UR)
A person who lives in a private dwelling and regards it as his/her own or main home.
Voluntary work and care
A major activity classification group which includes physical and emotional caring activities for adults, unpaid work for organisations and assisting family, friends, neighbours and others.
Monday to Friday are regarded as weekdays, Saturdays and Sundays as weekends. All persons were asked to complete a diary for two days, either or both of which could be weekdays or weekends. The seven days were spread through the whole population as evenly as possible. The type of day (weekday/Saturday/Sunday) was used in the weighting procedure for time estimates and the underlying populations, and is outlined in Chapter 3 of this publication.
Other people present when an activity was taking place. In this survey, other people taking part in the activity are not identifiable. The emphasis was on all people within the area for which a person might be responsible. This means everyone at a person's home when that person reported being at home, and all the people accompanying him/her away from home. It is more likely that activities away from home are shared with the family or friends reported present. When the respondent is home, he/she may be reading, someone else watching television, a baby may be asleep and other children playing in the back yard; yet if the respondent is the only adult present there may be a monitoring role in respect of all these other people. For details of the 'who with' items classification, see the Data item list in Appendix 2.
Includes taking a break for OHAS exercises, waiting for a job to start, equipment to arrive etc.
Persons aged 15 to 24 years.
This page last updated 20 February 2008