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4363.0.55.001 - National Health Survey: Users' Guide - Electronic Publication, 2007-08  
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This document was added 09/17/2009.



Document content:


CONTENTS

Demographics

      Age
      Sex
      Registered marital status
      Social marital status
      Country of birth
      Year of arrival in Australia
      Indigenous status
      Language mainly spoken at home
      Proficiency in spoken English
Education
      Current study
      Highest year of school completed
      Educational attainment
Employment
      Labour force status
      Status in employment
      Working arrangements
      Occupation
      Industry of employment
      Industry sector
      Hours worked
      Type of shift work
      Duration of unemployment
Income Source(s) of cash income
      Main source of cash income
      Type of pension, benefit or allowance
      Gross cash income
Health cards
Housing
      Household and family level characteristics
      Household characteristics
      Characteristics of families
      Equivalised income
      Socio-economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFAs)
Geographic classifications


DEMOGRAPHIC AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS

In addition to the specific health information collected, the 2007-08 NHS obtained a range of information describing the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the survey population. These characteristics can be linked with the health data obtained in the survey to analyse the health status and other health characteristics of particular groups in the community, e.g. overseas born, the aged, low income earners. For presentation in this publication, the characteristics obtained have been grouped under the following headings:
  • Demographics;
  • Education;
  • Employment;
  • Income;
  • Health Cards;
  • Housing;
  • Family/household/income unit; and
  • Geographical classifications.

Only the more commonly used output data items available from the survey are outlined below. For a full list of demographic and socio-economic variables available, see the list of output data items available available from the downloads tabs of the National Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2007-08 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.001) and the National Health Survey: Data Reference Package, 2007-08 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.002).


Interpretation

In considering demographic and socio-economic characteristics, there are some general points about aspects of the sampling within households, collection methodology, definitions and processing arrangements which need to be borne in mind as they may affect the data:
  • Summary characteristics of all usual residents of selected households were recorded from information supplied by any 'responsible adult' resident of the household (the ARA). Characteristics recorded were sex, age, marital status, whether currently attending school/educational institution, country of birth, year of arrival in Australia, Indigenous status and relationship to other household members.
  • Those selected as respondents for the survey were asked additional questions regarding their education, language, labour force, housing and income characteristics.
  • Within selected households, one adult and one child aged 0-17 years (where applicable) were enumerated in the NHS. If a dwelling contained only usual residents under the age of 18, two people (where applicable) were selected.
  • The selected adult was randomly selected by the survey instrument, therefore in households with parents and adult children, the selected adult may have been one of those children.
  • In households with children under the age of 15, an adult was nominated by the household to respond about the randomly selected child - this person is referred to as the child proxy. This may have been the selected adult or another adult member of the household. In 2007-08, it was assumed that children aged 15 to 17 years would answer survey questions themselves, but parents who were not comfortable with that were able to answer the questions on their child's behalf. Output items are available to determine if the child or a proxy responded to the questions.
  • The selected adult was asked to provide general income information for each household member aged 15 years and over (total income and reference period), as well as more specific details about their own income.
  • Housing information was also obtained from the selected adult. Where appropriate, housing tenure takes into account the tenure of spouse/partner or parent; see the Housing section of this chapter for further details.

As a result of these arrangements, not all the data items described below are available for all adults, child proxies or children enumerated.

Although basic demographic information was collected about all household members in the 2001, 2004-05 and 2007-08 NHSs, processing arrangements in place in 2001 did not allow these details to be retained on the final survey data file. This data was retained for all persons from 2004-05 onwards.


DEMOGRAPHIC CHARACTERISTICS

Age

Age as reported was recorded in single years. Standard output categories differ according to the topic to which the data relates. Age in five or ten year groups is most commonly used in survey output. Other non-standard groupings are available on request.


Sex

Male or female as reported.


Registered marital status

Registered marital status was recorded as reported for persons aged 15 years and over, in the following categories: Never married, Widowed, Divorced, Separated, Married in a registered marriage, Other - de facto, and Other - Single/not married.


Social marital status

Social marital status was derived for persons aged 15 years and over, and was classified as:
  • Married - if living with another person in a couple relationship, which was reported as either a registered marriage or a defacto marriage. Included are persons living with a person of the same sex in a couple relationship.
  • Not married - if not living with another person in a couple relationship. Includes persons living alone, with other family members, or in shared accommodation. Includes persons in a registered or defacto marriage whose partners are not usually resident in the household.


Country of birth

Classified from reported country of birth to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2nd edition, 2nd Edition, Revision 2.03 (cat. no. 1269.0), a hierarchical classification based on the concept of geographic proximity. Standard output for this classification is discussed in Appendix 4 of this Users' Guide. Other groupings are available on request.


Year of arrival in Australia

This item refers to the year in which a person, reporting a country of birth other than Australia, first arrived in Australia to live for a period of one year or more. Individual year of arrival was recorded and can be grouped as required for output.


Indigenous status

Refers to whether the person is of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin, as identified by an adult spokesperson within each household, i.e. not necessarily self-identification. Status is classified as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and neither Aboriginal nor Torres Strait Islander.


Language mainly spoken at home

Obtained for persons 15 and over only, as reported. Language was classified at the finest level of the Australian Standard Classification of Languages 2005-06 (cat no. 1267.0). The abbreviated classification used in most standard output is shown in Appendix 4 of this Users' Guide.


Proficiency in spoken English

Persons aged 15 years and over who reported they mainly spoke a language other than English at home were asked how well they spoke English. Responses were recorded as reported by respondents against the categories very well, well, not well, or not at all.


EDUCATION

Children aged 6-14 years were assumed to be attending school. For persons aged 15 years and over, information was obtained about study at school or another educational institution and the highest non-school educational qualification they had obtained.


Current study

Obtained for persons aged 15 to 19 years not currently attending school, and for persons 20 years and over.

Information is collected about the type of educational institution at which currently enrolled (secondary school, university/other higher education, TAFE/technical college, business college, industry skills centre, other) and whether the current study is full-time or part-time. The status of these items is determined by the way the respondent's enrolment is classified by the educational institution they are attending; if uncertain, the respondent's reported status was recorded. Apprentices who attend one day per week or on block release are classified as in part-time study.

Enrolment in adult education courses, hobby and recreation courses is excluded.


Highest year of school completed

Obtained for persons aged 15 to 19 years not attending school, and for persons 20 years and over. For years up to and including Year 11, the term 'completed' means to attend for the full school year such that progression to the following year of school is enabled. For Year 12, 'completed' requires only attendance for the full year. Further details of the definitions used are available on request.

Output categories are: Year 12, Year 11, Year 10, Year 9, Year 8 or below, Never attended school, Not stated, and Not asked (still at school).


Educational attainment

Persons aged 15 to 19 years not attending school, and persons 20 years and over were asked if they had completed a trade certificate, diploma, degree or any other educational qualification. Those who answered 'Yes' were asked to provide details of that qualification, including level and field of study. Several output data items, relating to the level and field of study, are derived from the text descriptions recorded by interviewers. These include:
  • Level of highest non-school qualification. This item refers to the qualification level classified to the level of education component of the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED) 2001 (cat no. 1272.0). Highest level of post-school educational attainment. This item refers to the level of the highest post-school qualification reported, classified to the ABS Classification of Qualifications (ABSCQ), 1993 (cat no. 1262.0). Output categories are generally classified as follows:
      • Postgraduate degree;
      • Graduate diploma/Graduate certificate;
      • Bachelor degree;
      • Advanced diploma/Diploma;
      • Certificate III/IV;
      • Certificate I/II;
      • Certificate not further defined;
      • No non-school qualification; and
      • Level not determined.
  • Main field of highest non-school qualification. This item refers to the field of study of the highest non-school qualification reported, as classified to the field component of the ASCED. For standard survey output, detailed categories are commonly grouped as follows:
      • Natural and physical sciences;
      • Information technology;
      • Engineering and related technologies;
      • Architecture and building;
      • Agriculture, environmental and related studies;
      • Health;
      • Education;
      • Management and commerce;
      • Society and culture;
      • Creative arts;
      • Food, hospitality and personal services;
      • Mixed field programmes; and
      • Inadequately described.


EMPLOYMENT

Information about employment was obtained about persons aged 15 years and over. The questions used in the 2007-08 NHS are a short-form version of the questions used in the ABS Monthly Labour Force Survey. Use of the reduced set of questions may have resulted in small differences in classification of labour force status and full-time/part-time employment, compared with the results that would have been derived had the full standard question module be used.

Some of the employment items below (e.g. occupation, industry, working arrangements) relate to the respondent's main job. For respondents who had more than one job at the time of the interview, main job was defined as the paid job in which they usually worked the most hours .


Labour force status

Persons were classified as either employed, unemployed or not in the labour force based on criteria relating to whether the person had a job in the week prior to interview, whether those who did not have a job were actively seeking work, and whether those actively seeking work were available to start work.
  • Employed persons were those aged 15 years and over who reported that in the preceding week they had worked in a job, business or farm, or who had a job but were absent during that week. Includes people who reported they had a job but who also reported they usually worked no hours.
  • Unemployed persons were those aged 15 years and over who were not employed in the reference week, who actively looked for work some time during the previous four weeks and were available to start, or waiting to start within the following four weeks.
  • Persons not in the labour force were those aged 15 and over who were not employed or unemployed, as defined.

For the NHS 2007-08, labour force status is categorised as:
  • Employed full-time (if usually work 35 hours or more a week (in all jobs);
  • Employed part-time (if usually worked less than 35 hours a week (in all jobs);
  • Unemployed looking for full-time work (actively seeking full-time work in last 4 weeks);
  • Unemployed looking for part-time work (actively seeking part-time work only in last 4 weeks); and
  • Not in the labour force.


Status in employment

This item refers to a respondent's position in relation to the main employment (job) in the enterprise in which they work and is determined by the following criteria:
  • whether a person operates their own economic enterprise or engages independently in a profession or trade, and hires one or more employees;
  • whether a person operates their own economic enterprise or engages independently in a profession or trade and hires no employees;
  • whether a person works for a public or private employer and receives remuneration; and
  • whether a person works in an economic enterprise operated by a relative without remuneration.

Four output categories are available:
  • Employee: A person who works for a public or private employer and receives remuneration in wages, salary, a retainer fee by their employer while working on a commission basis, tips, piece-rates or payment in kind, or a person who operates their own incorporated enterprise with or without hiring employees;
  • Employer: A person who operates their own unincorporated economic enterprise or engages independently in a profession or trade, and hires one or more employees;
  • Own Account Worker: A person who operates their own unincorporated economic enterprise or engages independently in a profession or trade and hires no employees; and
  • Contributing Family Worker: A person who works without pay in an economic enterprise operated by a relative.


Working arrangements

This item refers to the working or payment arrangements of the respondent in their current main job. Data are recorded as reported by respondents against the following categories:
  • unpaid voluntary work;
  • contractor/sub-contractor;
  • own business/partnership;
  • commission only;
  • commission with retainer;
  • family business without pay;
  • payment in kind;
  • paid by piece/item produced;
  • wage/salary earner; and
  • other.


Occupation

For this survey, occupations have been classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), First Edition, Revision 1, 2006 (cat. no. 1220.0) and the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO), Second Edition, 1997 (cat. no. 1220.0 (past release)). An occupation is a collection of jobs that are sufficiently similar in their title and tasks, skill level and skill specialisation, which have been grouped together for the purposes of classification. An occupation code was assigned based on the description of the type of work performed by the respondent in their main job.

The major groups of occupations according to ANZSCO are managers and administrators; professionals; technicians and trades workers; community and personal service workers; clerical and administrative workers; sales workers; machinery operators; and drivers and labourers. For most output purposes, occupation is classified to these eight major groups or to sub-major group level (see Appendix 4 of this Users' Guide).


Industry of employment

For this survey, industry of main job was office coded to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (Revision 1.0) (cat. no.1292.0) based on the description provided by the respondent of the business or activity carried out by their business/employer, and the name of the business/employer. Industry was classified to the 3 digit Group level of the ANZSIC, and details can be made available at this level on request, although for many groups observations in the survey are relatively few, and therefore the reliability of the data will be significantly reduced.

For most output purposes, industry is classified to the following divisions:
  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing;
  • Mining;
  • Manufacturing;
  • Electricity, Gas and Water Supply;
  • Construction;
  • Wholesale Trade;
  • Retail Trade;
  • Accommodation, Cafes and Restaurants;
  • Transport and Storage;
  • Communication Services;
  • Finance and Insurance;
  • Property and Business Services;
  • Government Administration and Defence;
  • Education;
  • Health and Community Services;
  • Cultural and Recreational Services; and
  • Personal and Other Services.

For more details on industry classifications, see Appendix 4 of this Users' Guide.


Industry sector

This item was coded for respondents who were wage and salary earners or owners of a limited liability company in their main job, and refers to the sector (public or private) in which their business/employer operates. The public sector includes all government entities including local, state and federal government departments, non-market non-profit institutions that are controlled and mainly financed by government, and corporations and quasi-corporations that are controlled by government.


Hours worked

Refers to reported hours usually worked (in all jobs) per week by persons currently employed. Hours in single units are recorded, but are grouped for standard outputs, as follows: No hours or less than 1 hour; 1-15 hours; 16-24 hours; 25-34 hours; 35-39 hours; 40 hours; 41-48 hours; and 49 hours or more.


Type of shift work

Recorded for employed persons who reported doing any shift work in their main job, in the 4 weeks prior to interview. Categories available are:
  • Rotating shift which changes periodically;
  • Regular evening, night or graveyard shift;
  • Regular morning shift;
  • Regular afternoon shift;
  • Irregular shift;
  • Split shift (2 distinct periods per day);
  • On call; and
  • Other.


Duration of unemployment

Derived for persons classified as unemployed at the time of the survey. This item refers to the period from the time a person began looking for work or was stood down, to the end of the survey reference week. For persons who began looking for work while still employed, the item refers to the period from the time the person last worked full-time for two weeks or more until the end of the reference week. The item is a continuous variable, measured in completed weeks.

For standard output, periods are grouped as follows: Less than 4 weeks; 4 to less than 8 weeks; 8 to less than 13 weeks; 13 to less than 26 weeks; 26 to less than 52 weeks; and 52 weeks or more. Long-term unemployment is defined as unemployment for a period of 52 weeks or more.


INCOME

In the 2007-08 NHS, income information relates primarily to regular/recurring cash income only.

Information was collected about the personal income of the selected adult in each sampled dwelling. The selected adult within each household was also asked to provide information about the combined income of all other household members aged 15 years and over.

In cases where income was not reported, values were not imputed and missing data appears as 'not stated' or 'not known' values in survey output. If any contributing income item at the person level has a value of 'not stated' or 'not known', then totals derived from these items are also set to 'not stated' or 'not known'.


Gross cash income

Gross cash income refers to total cash income from all sources before tax or anything else (except business expenses) is taken out. Respondents were asked to report:
  • the gross cash income they currently received from wages or salary, a government pension or allowance, child support or maintenance, superannuation or annuity, workers' compensation or any other regular source. The period to which that reported income related could be recorded in weeks or months; and
  • the gross cash income they expected to receive from profit or loss from their own unincorporated business or share in a partnership; profit or loss from rental property; or dividends or interest in the current financial year. Provision was made to record nil income.

Income from all sources was combined to produce a total personal cash income, which is usually expressed for output in annual or weekly income ranges. Incomes in reported dollar amounts and in deciles are stored on the data file.

Total cash income at the household level is also available, in dollar amounts (reported and equivalised), and deciles. These are further explained in the section of this chapter entitled 'Household, Family and Income Unit level characteristics'.


Comparability with 2004-05

In the 2007-08 NHS, personal income was only collected from persons aged 18 years and over, while in 2004-05, this data was collected from persons aged 15 years and over.

Care must be taken in any comparisons between the two surveys that the same age groups are being used.


Sources of cash income

Wages and Salaries

Respondents aged 18 years and over were asked whether they received income from wages and salaries (including from their own incorporated business), and if so, how much, and the period the amount covered. This topic included wages and salaries from all jobs, whether full-time or part-time; wages and salaries paid to a respondent from their own incorporated business; and commissions paid to sales staff. It excluded dividends received from shares in an incorporated business; and Newstart or Youth Allowance received under the Work for the Dole Scheme.

Government pensions, allowances and benefits

Respondents were then asked whether they currently received a government pension, allowance and benefit, and if so, were sequenced to a series of questions to determine the specific pension, benefit or allowance, as follows:
  • Australian Age Pension;
  • Service pension from the Department of Veteran's Affairs (excluding Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits (DFRDB);
  • Disability Support Pension from Centrelink;
  • Newstart Allowance;
  • Carer Payment;
  • Partner Allowance;
  • Widow Allowance from Centrelink;
  • Wife Pension;
  • Mature Age Allowance;
  • Sickness Allowance; or
  • Special benefit.

Only one of these pensions, benefits or allowances could be selected. If any of the above were selected, the amount received and the period that amount covered were asked.

Respondents were then asked whether they currently received Family Tax Benefit (FTB) as regular payments from the Tax Office, and if so, the amount received and the period that amount covered. FTB is a Australian Government benefit to assist with the cost of raising children that consists of two components: Part A, the basic benefit, which is income assessed; and Part B, which gives assistance to sole parent families and to two parent families with one main income where one parent chooses to stay at home or to balance some paid work with caring for their children. Both Part A and Part B were included in this topic.

FTB can be paid as fortnightly payments from the Family Assistance Office, as a lump sum payment from the Family Assistance Office after the end of the financial year, and as a lump sum through the tax system. Recipients of this last system can anticipate the lump sum by asking their employer to take less tax out of their wages during the year. Recipients can also choose to receive some of their entitlement in fortnightly payments and some as a lump sum after the end of the financial year. For the purposes of this question, only FTB income received as regular fortnightly payments was included.

Then, using a prompt card, respondents were asked whether they currently received any of the following, and if so, the amount received and the period that amount covered:
  • Parenting Payment;
  • Youth Allowance;
  • Carer Allowance;
  • War Widow's or Widower's Pension from the Department of Veteran's Affairs, including the Income Support Supplement;
  • Disability Pension from the Department of Veteran's Affairs;
  • Overseas government pension; or
  • Any other government payment.

Other sources

Also using a prompt card, respondents were asked whether they currently received any income from the following sources, and if so, the amount received and the period that amount covered:
  • Child support or maintenance;
  • Superannuation/annuity/private pension; or
  • Workers' compensation

Respondents were then asked to report:
  • the expected profit or loss for the financial year from their own unincorporated business or share in a partnership (excluding wages/salary drawn from own limited liability company);
  • the expected profit or loss for the financial year from rental property;
  • expected dividends or interest for the financial year, including dividends from own limited liability business as well as other companies, but excluding bonus share values received with or in lieu of dividends; and
  • current income from any other source.

Where the respondent was a registered dealer, income from share trading was recorded as business income. In other cases, income from share trading was recorded as 'other regular income'.

Persons who reported income from their own unincorporated business, share in a partnership, or rental property were asked to report the total amount received from these sources in the last financial year (before tax but after business expenses). 'Don't know' and refusal options were allowed.

Output Classifications

For output, sources of income are classified as follows:
  • Wage or salary
  • Profit or loss from own unincorporated business or share in partnership
  • Any government pension or allowance
  • Other cash income
      • Profit or loss from rental property
      • Dividends or interest
      • Child support or maintenance
      • Superannuation/annuities
      • Workers' compensation
      • Other cash income nec

Type of pensions received are also available for output. For more details, please refer to the survey data item list available from the downloads tabs of the National Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2007-08 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.001) and the National Health Survey: Data Reference Package, 2007-08 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.002).


Main source of cash income

Main source of income is derived for the items above, and is available as a separate output item.


Household income

The selected adult was asked to report the combined income details of all persons aged 15 years and over in their household. Two question were used, asking how much income in total was received from all sources, and the period that total amount covered. Don't know and refusal options were allowed. The approach used in the survey relies on the selected adult's knowledge of the income of other household members, and their willingness to report information about other household members which they may see as sensitive.


HEALTH CARDS

Definition

This topic refers to coverage by specific government-issued cards which entitle the card holder, and in some cases their dependents, to a variety of health benefits or concessions (e.g. medical care, hospital treatment/accommodation, and supply of pharmaceuticals, free of charge or at reduced rates). Cards are provided primarily to recipients of Australian government pensions or benefits.

The specific cards covered in the 2007-85 NHS were:
  • any treatment entitlement card from the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA);
  • Health Care Card (including for low income earners and foster carers);
  • Pensioner Concession Card; and
  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

For details of the persons eligible for these cards (or coverage under these cards) and the range of entitlements available to card holders, please contact the relevant authority.


Methodology

Respondents aged 15 years and over were asked whether they have a DVA Treatment Entitlement Card, and the colour of the card; gold, white, or other. Respondents were also asked if they were covered by any of the other government health concession cards listed above. Multiple cards could be reported. Interviewers were supplied with supplementary information about the cards to assist if queried by respondents.


Data items

Data items and related output categories for this topic are available from the data item list on the downloads tabs of the National Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2007-08 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.001) and the National Health Survey: Data Reference Package, 2007-08 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.002).


Interpretation

Points to be considered in interpreting data for this topic include the following.
  • Although prompt cards were used, some respondents may have incorrectly reported other types of cards in answer to these questions; for example, State Seniors Cards, which provide access to non-health services or entitlements (e.g. transport).
  • Depending on the person in the household chosen as the selected adult, they may have been unaware of their coverage under another person's (e.g. a parent's) card.


Comparability with 2004-05

At the broadest level of whether has/covered by a DVA or other Government Health Card, the data are considered directly comparable between surveys. However in making comparisons consideration should be given to changes which may have occurred between 2004-05 and 2007-08 in terms of eligibility for cards, and the levels and types of entitlements they provide.


HOUSING

Definition

This topic refers to the dwelling type and location and number of bedrooms of the dwelling in which respondents were enumerated; in most cases, usual place of residence; and to the respondent's tenure in that dwelling.


Methodology

'Dwelling type' refers to the structure in which the household resides, as recorded by interviewers and based on their observations at the time of the interview. Information was recorded against the following categories;
  • Separate house;
  • Semi-detached/row or terrace house/town house(one storey; two or more storeys);
  • Flat attached to house;
  • Other flat or apartment (in 1 or 2 storey block; 3 storey block; 4 or more storey block);
  • Caravan, cabin or houseboat;
  • Improvised home, tent, camper out; or
  • House or flat attached to shop, office, etc.

'Dwelling location' refers to where the dwelling was situated, as recorded by the interviewer. Categories for the item are caravan park; marina; manufactured home estate; self-care accommodation for the retired or aged; or other (including residential dwelling blocks and farms).

The selected adult was asked to report the number of bedrooms in the dwelling. The item refers to the number of rooms on the dwelling plans as bedrooms, even though they may be currently used for other purposes. Information from both these questions was recorded at the household level.

Respondents aged 18 years and over were also asked on behalf of themselves, their spouse/partner, or parent (if the respondent was an adult child living with a parent), whether the dwelling was:
  • being paid off;
  • owned outright;
  • being rented;
  • being purchased under a rent/buy or shared equity scheme;
  • being occupied under a life tenure scheme; or
  • whether they paid board or lived there rent free.

Those who reported they paid rent or board (including those purchasing the dwelling under a rent/buy or shared equity scheme) were also asked who it was paid to (e.g; real estate agent, housing authority, parent).


Data items

Data items and related output categories for this topic are available from the data item list on the downloads tabs of the National Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2007-08 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.001) and the National Health Survey: Data Reference Package, 2007-08 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.002).


Interpretation

Points to be considered in interpreting data for this topic include the following:
  • Some respondents may not be aware of the designated usage of rooms specified in building plans, and may report other rooms currently used as bedrooms.
  • Some care should be taken in relating the health characteristics of respondents with their housing characteristics, since information is not available from the survey to indicate their length of residence in that dwelling.


Comparability with 2004-05

Data for dwelling type and number of bedrooms is considered directly comparable between the 2004-05 and 2007-08 surveys. Information about personal tenure was not collected in 2007-08.


HOUSEHOLD, FAMILY AND INCOME UNIT LEVEL CHARACTERISTICS

In addition to data obtained about individual respondents in the survey, other data are available about the households, families or income units to which they belong. This information enables some understanding of the situation in which people live, which may impact upon their health and related characteristics.


Household characteristics

A household is defined as one or more persons, at least one of whom is aged 15 years and over, usually resident in the same private dwelling.

Household level estimates are available from this survey for household size, type and composition, geographic location, dwelling characteristics, income and SEIFA characteristics of the area in which the dwelling is located. Selected items are discussed below. A full list of output data items is available from the downloads tabs of the National Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2007-08 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.001) and the National Health Survey: Data Reference Package, 2007-08 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.002).

In addition to the items describing the characteristics of household units, basic information is available about each member of the selected households. This enables the circumstances of the respondent to be better understood and provides scope to rework some items (e.g. equivalised income) to suit particular needs. Items available for each member of the household are sex, age, Indigenous status, relationship in household, family composition, country of birth, marital status and survey status (selected child or adult, or not selected).


Household composition

Households are allocated to categories of the 'Household composition' classification on the basis of:
  • the type of families identified in the household;
  • whether unrelated household members are present in a family household; and
  • whether the number of household members is greater than one in a non-family household.

The standard 'Household composition' classification comprises the following categories:
  • One family household with only family members present
  • Two family household with only family members present
  • Three or more family household with only family members present
  • One family household with non-family members present
  • Two family household with non-family members present
  • Three or more family household with non-family members present
  • Lone person household
  • Group household

A definition of 'family' is provided in Characteristics of families, below.


Household structure

This refers to the composition of the household, based on the information about the residents of the household provided by the responsible adult (ARA). Output categories are:
  • Person living alone;
  • Couple only;
  • Couple with unmarried child(ren) aged 15 years and over;
  • Couple with child(ren) aged less than 15 years;
  • Couple with child(ren) aged less than 15 years and unmarried child(ren) aged 15 years and over;
  • Lone parent with unmarried child(ren) aged 15 years and over;
  • Lone parent with child(ren) aged less than 15 years;
  • Lone parent with child(ren) aged less than 15 years and unmarried child(ren) aged 15 years and over; and
  • All other households.


Relationship in household

This item was derived from information supplied by the responsible adult who answered the initial survey questions for each household (the ARA), about all usual residents of the household. It describes the relationship of each person in a household to the ARA (i.e. wife, son, not related). Output categories are:
  • Husband, wife or partner;
  • Lone parent;
  • Child aged less than 15 years;
  • Dependent student;
  • Non-dependent child;
  • Other related person;
  • Non-family member; and
  • Visitor.


Number of persons in household

This refers to a count of persons who are usual residents of the household dwelling and members of the household to which the respondent belongs.


Number of daily smokers in household

As reported by the selected adult respondent - see Smoking, in Chapter 4, Health Risk Factors.


Household income

As reported by the selected adult respondent - see Income, in this Chapter.


Characteristics of families

A 'family' is defined as 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, therefore, contain more than one family.

This is a more restrictive definition than the ordinary notion of the term 'family' which generally includes relatives whether they live together or not. This is a reflection of the fact that for survey-based research it is necessary to place some physical bound on the extent of family, for the purposes of being able to collect family data.


Family composition

Family composition is defined as the differentiation of families based on the presence or absence of couple relationships, parent-child relationships, child dependency relationships or other familial relationships, in that order of precedence. The 'family composition' of a particular family is created through the relationships that exist between a single 'responsible adult' and each other member of that family living in the household. Family composition is then allocated on the basis of whether the types of relationships given below are present or not in the family in the following order of precedence:
  • Couple relationship - defined as a registered or de facto marriage, including same-sex relationships;
  • Parent-child relationship - defined as a relationship between two persons usually resident in the same household. The child is attached to the parent via a natural, adoptive, step, foster or child dependency relationship;
  • Child dependency relationship - defined as including all children under the age of 15 (whether related or unrelated to the family reference person) and those natural, step, adopted or foster children who are full-time students 15-24 years of age; and
  • Other relationship - defined as including all those persons related by blood or by marriage who are not covered by the above relationships.

Family composition is categorised as follows:
  • Couple family with no children under 15
      Couple family with no children under 15 and no dependent students
  • Couple family with children under 15
      Couple family with children under 15 and dependent students
      Couple family with children under 15, dependent students and non-dependent children
      Couple family with children under 15, dependent students and no non-dependent children
  • Couple family with children under 15 and no dependent students
      Couple family with children under 15, no dependent students and with non-dependent children
      Couple family with children under 15, no dependent students and no non-dependent children
  • Couple family with no children under 15
      Couple family with no children under 15 and with dependent students
      Couple family with no children under 15, and with dependent students and non-dependent children
      Couple family with no children under 15, and with dependent students and no non-dependent children
  • Couple family with no children under 15 and no dependent students
      Couple family with no children under 15, no dependent students and with non-dependent children
  • One parent family with children under 15
      One parent family with children under 15 and dependent students
      One parent family with children under 15, dependent students and non-dependent children
      One parent family with children under 15, dependent students and no non-dependent children
  • One parent family with children under 15 and no dependent students
      One parent family with children under 15, no dependent students and with non-dependent children
      One parent family with children under 15, no dependent students and no non-dependent children
  • One parent family with no children under 15
      One parent family with no children under 15 and with dependent students
      One parent family with no children under 15, with dependent students and non-dependent children
      One parent family with no children under 15, with dependent students and no non-dependent children
      One parent family with no children under 15 and no dependent students
      One parent family with no children under 15, no dependent students and with non-dependent children
  • Other family


Equivalised income

Differences in household types and compositions, and their requirements relative to income, can be taken into account by the application of equivalence scales. These scales are a set of ratios which, when applied to the income of different household or income unit types, produce standardised estimates of income which reflect the households' relative wellbeing. The NHS 2007-08 uses the modified OECD equivalence scale (1994).

Equivalised income is derived by calculating an equivalence factor and then dividing income by that factor. The equivalence factor is built up by allocating points to each person in the unit (household or income unit) and summing those points. One point is allocated to the first adult in the unit, 0.5 points for each other person aged 15 years and over, and 0.3 points for each person aged less than 15 years. For example:
  • a single person household has a factor of one. Equivalised income is therefore the same as reported income.
  • a household comprising two adults and a child aged less than 15 years would have a factor of 1.8. Equivalised income for this household is therefore the household income divided by 1.8.

Equivalised income is available in dollar amounts and deciles.


Income deciles and quintiles

Income deciles are groupings that result from ranking either all households or all persons in the population in ascending order according to some characteristic, such as income, and then dividing the population into ten equal groups, each comprising 10% of the estimated population. The first decile contains the bottom 10%, the second decile contains the next 10%, and so on. Quintiles are derived by adding together the first and second decile for the first quintile, third and fourth decile for the second quintile, etc.

To assist in the use and interpretation of income deciles or quintiles at the person or household level, it is necessary to exclude income which is not stated or not known. If one or more of the contributing person records in a household has a value of 'not stated' or 'not known', then household income and derived income deciles are set to '98. Not stated' or '99. Not known' as it is not possible to determine an accurate value. Care should be taken to exclude these codes when categorising higher income values, and when calculating means, medians and other summary statistics.

For 2007-08, the dollar ranges covered by deciles in all income items can be found at Appendix 6: Income deciles.


Socio-economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFAs)

From information collected in the Census of Population and Housing, the ABS has developed indexes to allow ranking of regions/areas, providing a method of determining the level of social and economic wellbeing in that region. There are four indexes:
  • the Index of Relative Socio-economic Advantage\Disadvantage, which is a continuum of advantage (high values) to disadvantage (low values) that takes into account variables like the proportion of families with high incomes, people with a tertiary education, and employees in skilled occupations;
  • the Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage, which is derived from variables such as income, educational attainment, unemployment, and dwellings without motor vehicles. Attributes summarised by this index include low income, low educational attainment, high unemployment and jobs in relatively unskilled occupations;
  • the Index of Economic Resources, which focuses on variables concerning the income, expenditure and assets of families, such as family income, rent paid, mortgage repayments and dwelling size; and
  • the Index of Education and Occupation, which includes variables relating to the educational and occupational characteristics of communities, such as the proportion of people with a higher qualification or those employed in a skilled occupation.

Both the 2001 and 2006 versions of SEIFA are available for use in relation to information collected in the 2007-08 NHS. It is emphasised, however, that these indexes relate to the area in which the survey respondent lived, and are not necessarily indicative of an individual respondent's socio-economic status. The 2001 index scores have been mapped to the NHS sample at both the CD and SLA levels.

For further information about the indexes, see Information Paper: Census of Population and Housing - Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), 2006 (cat. no. 2039.0).

The Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage is the SEIFA index most frequently used for analysis of health characteristics. In the 2007-08 NHS summary publication, the area-based CD level index deciles for 2001 were used.


SEIFA deciles/quintiles

SEIFAs are commonly used to group populations into deciles or quintiles of a particular index. In the NHS, this enables comparisons to be made between the health characteristics, for example, of people living in less advantaged areas with those in more advantaged areas.

From this survey, SEIFA deciles/quintiles are derived in two ways - area-based and population-based:
  • Area-based deciles/quintiles are derived by grouping CDs or SLAs into 10/5 equal groups (equal number of CDs or SLAs in each group) and then allocating these groups to survey records in the same CD or SLA. Because all CDs and SLAs are not equal in size and because the NHS sample is not selected to ensure an equal sample distribution at the CD or SLA level, this method does not result in an equal number of people (either records or weighted estimates) in each decile/quintile.
  • Population-based deciles/quintiles are derived by splitting the Census population into 10/5 equal groups at CD/SLA level for each SEIFA index based on the SEIFA score for that index, and then allocating these groups to the survey records in the same CD or SLA. Although this methodology ensures an equal number of persons in each decile/quintile when the Census population is used, the method does not necessarily result in an equal number of people (either records or weighted estimates) in each decile/quintile in NHS data, as the scope and distribution of the NHS sample population differs from the Census population.


Interpretation

Confusion can arise about the ordering of the deciles/quintiles created from SEIFA indexes. ABS constructs all four indexes so that relatively disadvantaged areas (e.g. areas with many low income recipients) have low index values, and relatively advantaged areas (e.g. areas with many high income recipients) have high index values. Correspondingly, in ABS publications and other outputs, SEIFA deciles are numbered from decile 1 or lowest decile (most disadvantaged), to decile 10 or highest decile (least disadvantaged). Quintiles are labelled similarly.

For consistency, this ordering applies to all indexes, irrespective of whether they are named as indexes of advantage and/or disadvantage. Care needs to be taken in comparing SEIFA analyses undertaken by different agencies, as quintiles or deciles may be labelled in reverse order to the standard ABS order.

SEIFAs were not available for a small number of records obtained in the 2007-08 NHS, because some CDs do not have a SEIFA score calculated for them due to their very small population at the time of the Census. These records were excluded before SEIFA quintiles and deciles were created.


GEOGRAPHIC CLASSIFICATIONS

Several standard classifications of geographic area are available for use in output from this survey, based on Statistical Geography Volume 1 - Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), Jul 2006 (cat. no.1216.0). Output based on the 2001 edition of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification is also available.

The ASGC is a hierarchical system for the classification of statistical units by geographic areas. The basic spatial unit of the classification is the Census Collector's District (CD). Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) are the next level of the classification, and comprise one or more CDs. Under the hierarchical system of the ASGC, SLAs can be further grouped into larger units called Statistical Sub-Divisions, then still larger Statistical Division units. Other structures which are aggregations of SLAs (such as Local Government Areas) may also be available.

At each level of the classification, the units in aggregate cover the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. The ASGC also contains units based on populations and remoteness from services.

Although provision has been made to compile statistics from the survey in respect of geographic areas within States and Territories, there are limits to the extent to which survey data can usefully be compiled for those areas, particularity those with smaller populations. The ability of the survey to provide reliable estimates for sub-State areas varies from area to area, according to the number of persons in the area which were included in the sample, and the level of data disaggregation attempted (e.g. number of variables cross-classified, level of detail required for each variable).

The standard output of geographic area available for the 2007-08 NHS are:
  • States/Territories and Australia;
  • Capital cities/balance of State;
  • Section of State
  • Remoteness; and
  • Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA).


States/Territories and Australia

The Northern Territory was included in the survey, with a sample sufficient to contribute to national estimates, but not large enough to support most separate estimates for the NT.


Capital cities/balance of State

Used for each State where the capital city is defined as the area covered by the relevant city Statistical Division.


Section of State

CDs are grouped together to form defined areas according to population size criteria. The resulting areas are known as Urban Centres or Localities. The Section of State structure uses population counts of these Urban Centres/Localities to classify CDs into the following categories:
  • Major urban (urban centres with a population of 100,000 or more)
  • Other urban (urban centres with a population between 1,000 and 99,999)
  • Bounded locality (localities with a population of between 200 and 999)
  • Rural Balance (remainder of the State/Territory).


Remoteness

The ASGC Remoteness classification is based on the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA+), mapped to CDs from the Census of Population and Housing, and classified to the following categories:

ASGC remoteness category Index values

Major cities of Australia 0 up to and including 0.2
Inner regional Australia Greater than 0.2 up to and including 2.4
Outer regional Australia Greater than 2.4 up to and including 5.92
Remote Australia Greater than 5.92 up to and including 10.53
Very remote Australia Greater than 10.53



Each respondent is classified to the full 5 category classification above, based on the CD in which they resided (and were enumerated). For output purposes, some categories may need to be collapsed.

Both 2001 and 2006 versions are available for NHS 2007-08.


Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA)

CDs from the 2006 Census of Population and Housing have been mapped to ARIA categories. Overlaying this with CDs from the sampled population enables output from the 2007-08 NHS to be compiled by ARIA category - Highly Accessible, Accessible, Moderately Accessible, Remote, and Very Remote.

In addition to the geographic classifications outlined above, data from the 2007-08 NHS may be compiled in respect of other geographic units (to suit individual user requirements) on request. Such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis in terms of sampling, data reliability and confidentiality issues, and the additional costs to the user involved in programming to create the units. It is recommended that any such units be of a similar size to Statistical Divisions, and that the areas be defined in terms of component CDs or SLAs.



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