4159.0 - General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia, 2014 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/06/2015   
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For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


The 2014 General Social Survey (GSS) provides information on a range of demographic, social and economic indicators, including: personal and household characteristics; geography; language; cultural activities; social networks and support; health and disability; discrimination; education; employment; financial stress and resilience; income; transport; volunteer work; personal safety; sports participation; internet use; crime and housing; and sexual orientation. Information from the GSS contributes to existing data on the Australian population and the formulation of government policies and legislation.

The GSS provides information to analyse differences in outcomes and well-being indicators for different populations who may be more vulnerable to disadvantage, such as people with a mental health condition, people with a disability, recent migrants, sole parent families and lone person households.

In the 2014 GSS, the survey scope was increased to include sample from the 15 to 17 year age group to aid better understanding of the outcomes for this population group.

The GSS is conducted every four years, with the first survey conducted in 2002.


Data from the survey are released approximately twelve months after they have been collected.


Estimates from the GSS are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors. Information on sampling and non-sampling errors is provided in the Technical Note.

The GSS was designed to produce reliable estimates at the national level and for each state and territory. However, in the 2014 GSS, people from the lowest socio-economic areas had a higher probability of being selected in the sample in order to provide quality estimates representing people in disadvantaged areas. An additional socio-economic area benchmark was therefore incorporated into the weighting process.

Only estimates (numbers and proportions) with RSEs less than 25% are considered sufficiently reliable for most purposes. Estimates with RSEs between 25% and 50% have been included and are annotated to indicate they are subject to high sample variability and should be used with caution. In addition, estimates with RSEs greater than 50% have also been included and annotated to indicate they are considered too unreliable for general use.


Each cycle of the GSS collects comparable information to allow for analysis of changes over time.

However, comparisons of the 2014 GSS data, with data from previous GSS iterations, should only be made using proportions (%), not estimates ('000). The Estimated Resident Population estimates have been revised for the last 20 years. However, the previous GSS iterations have not been revised. Consequentially, estimates of particular populations in the 2014 GSS may be lower than those published in previous iterations.

After each Census, population estimates are normally revised back five years to the previous Census year. As announced in the June 2012 issue of Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0), intercensal error between the 2006 and 2011 Censuses was larger than normal due to improved methodologies used in the 2011 Census Post Enumeration Survey. The intercensal error analysis indicated that previous population estimates for the base Census years were over-counted. An indicative estimate of the size of the over-count is that there should have been 240,000 fewer people at June 2006, 130,000 fewer in 2001 and 70,000 fewer in 1996. As a result, Estimated Resident Population estimates have been revised for the last 20 years rather than the usual five.

The ABS seeks to maximise consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to the survey. Sound survey practice, however, requires ongoing development and maintenance to maintain the integrity of the data and the efficiency of the collection.

The 2014 GSS includes additional information on discrimination, sexual orientation, long term health conditions and education qualification of parents. More detailed information on volunteering was also included to allow comparison with the 2006 GSS volunteering data.

The GSS provides baseline information to compare with other surveys that collect data on topics in greater depth, and provides data which aligns with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) to provide comparison between the populations.


Detailed information on the terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with the GSS can be found in the Explanatory Notes, Technical Notes and Glossary included with this release.


Tabulated data and associated RSEs are available in Excel spreadsheets which can be accessed from the Downloads tab.

It is expected that a TableBuilder and an expanded confidentialised unit record file (CURF) will be produced from the GSS, subject to the approval of the Australian Statistician. The expanded CURF will be available via Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL) and ABS Data Laboratory (ABSDL), and the TableBuilder will be accessible via the ABS website, using a secure log-on portal. For further details, refer to the Microdata Entry Page on the ABS website. It is expected that the TableBuilder and expanded CURF will be available in September 2015.

Data are also available on request. Note that detailed data can be subject to high relative standard errors which in some cases may result in data being confidentialised. A data item list is available from the Downloads tab.

For further information about these or related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070, or email client.services@abs.gov.au. The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.