2901.0 - Census Dictionary, 2006 (Reissue)  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/07/2007  Reissue
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Contents >> Short Definitions and Classifications - 2006 >> Child Type (CTPP) - Characteristics 2006

Child Type

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Quality Statement


This classification identifies children according to different types of parent-child relationships within families and is applicable to all children irrespective of their age, present in the household.

A natural, adopted, foster, or otherwise related child may be in a one or two parent family. Cross classification with Family Composition (FMCF) allows analysis of different family types. More Detailed Description


Applicable to: All children

1. Natural, or adopted child of both parents or lone parent
2. Step-child of male parent
3. Step-child of female parent
4. Foster child, so stated
5. Otherwise related child (under 15)
6. Unrelated child (under 15)
@ Not applicable
V Overseas visitor

Total number of categories: 8

More Detailed Description

Quality Statement - Child Type (CTPP)

There are many aspects which can affect the quality of Census data; the following information should be considered when viewing data on Child Type (CTPP).

In the Census, data on the child/parent relationships within the same dwelling is mainly derived from Question 5 on the Census household form, which asks for each person’s relationship to Person 1 on the form. This data is captured automatically as check box responses in 92% of cases, with the remainder obtained from written responses to the question.

Priority is given to identifying those relationships which form a ‘family nucleus’, i.e. partnerships and parent/child relationships and for many households, identifying relationships to assist the coding of family or household structure for that dwelling is quite straightforward. However, across the community, a wide variety of living arrangements exists and family structures can be complex and dynamic in nature, and so the quality of family data in the Census is partly dependent on people’s ability to describe these relationships within the constraints of the generalised questionnaire format required by a Census. This is particularly the case for those dwellings containing blended families or multiple generations of a family.

All persons aged under 15 years are regarded as children, and where no natural, adoptive, step-, foster, or grand- parent is identified for these children within the dwelling, they are coded to “Otherwise related child” (if they are living with another adult relative, such as an older sibling or aunt or uncle) or to “Unrelated child” if no relative is identified within the same dwelling. Persons aged over 15 years are only regarded as children if they are living with a natural, adoptive, step-, foster or grand- parent. The 2006 Census shows a very small proportion (0.01%) of persons aged 80 years and over who were living with a parent. The ABS plans to do further analysis for this group to identify any data quality issues which may be affecting this result.

In some cases, children are listed on the Census form as Person 2. However if both parents are usual residents, the response "Child of both Person 1 and Person 2" is not available in the relationship question (Q5) for Person 2. In these cases coders would attempt to establish whether the child was a step child or child of both parents using other information such as surname. Preliminary analysis of the data indicates that despite these attempts there may be a small proportion of children coded to "step-child" who may be a child of both parents.

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.

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