Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Catalogue Number
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
1286.0 - Family, Household and Income Unit Variables, 2005  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 01/06/2005   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product  
Contents >> Relationship in household >> Collection methods


46. The method of obtaining data on 'Relationship in household' is direct question. The standard questions for this variable are documented below.

Interviewer-based collections

47. The initial requirement in the interviewer based question module is to determine the usual residents of the household. This is achieved by asking the following question:

'What are the names of all the people who usually live here?'

48. Each person named is assigned a row number and a person number. The first person named is identified as Person 1, the second person as Person 2 and so on (see Appendix A, Identifying Family and Household Reference Persons).

49. Q1 below is asked of all usual residents of the household, except for Person 1:

Q1. What is (Your/the Person's) relationship to (Person 1)?

50. Q2 below is then asked only if the response to Q1 is anything OTHER than 'spouse', 'partner', 'father', 'mother', 'son', 'daughter', 'brother' or 'sister' AND there are more than two usual residents in the household. It enables the identification of additional families within the household. It may be asked of some, all or none of the usual residents of the household.

Q2. Are/Is (You/the Person) more closely related to anyone else in the household? (For example, as a Husband/Wife, Partner or Child.)

51. For interviewer-based collections, it is important that interviewer instructions are adapted to ensure that same-sex relationships are treated appropriately. These instructions should explicitly state that interviewers should not ask whether any household members form a same-sex de facto relationship. The instructions should also state that, if identified by appropriate means, persons in such relationships are to be reported as de facto partners.

52. It is not necessary to ask specific questions of a personal nature to identify couple relationships. The identification of de facto couples (including same-sex couples) is reliant on respondents volunteering this information in reply to general questions about relationships between members of the household. More detailed questioning on this subject is considered intrusive.

53. The remaining questions are asked of usual residents of the household. However, they can be restricted to persons aged between 15-24 years if it is operationally feasible. The following question is used to determine whether persons who are 15 to 24 years of age are dependent children. In some collections the information obtained from Q3 (and Q4) below on student status is instead obtained from question modules on education topics and where this occurs these questions need not be asked as part of the 'Relationship in household' module.

Q3.Is [the person]/are you currently studying at a school, TAFE college, university or other educational institution as a full-time student?

54. In collections where data on part-time students are also required, then the following questions are asked instead of the question above:
Q3.Is [the person]/are you currently studying at a school, TAFE college, university or other educational institution?
Yesto Q4

Q4.Is [the person]/are you currently studying full-time or part-time?

Self-completed collections

55. The standard question module for self-completed collections consists of two questions.

56. Self-completed collections do not have the benefit of an interviewer to help select the appropriate household reference person. Therefore, a simple statement should be included as part of the instructions for question 1. In the 2001 Census of Population and Housing, the instructions were:

"Enter the householder or any adult household member as 'Person 1', and if present, the spouse or partner as 'Person 2'."

57. As shown below, using this question does not require a response for Person 1. For each subsequent person, the respondent is required to fill in the appropriate tick box in response to the above instruction. The set of response categories for Person 2 differs from those used for Person 3 and onwards.

Q1.What is the person's relationship to Person 1/Person 2?
Person 1Person 2Person 3
No answer required.Husband or wife of Person 1Child of both Person 1 & Person 2
De facto partner of Person 1Child of Person 1 only
Child of Person 1Child of Person 2 only
Step-child of Person 1Brother or sister of Person 1
Brother or sister of Person 1Unrelated flatmate or co-tenant
of Person 1
Unrelated flatmate or co-tenant
of Person 1
Other relationship to Person 1
Other relationship to Person 1please specify
please specify

58. The second question is asked of all usual residents of the household. Responses to the question determine whether any person aged 15 to 24 years is classified as a dependent child.

Q2.Is the person attending a school or any other educational institution?
Include external or correspondence students
Yes, full-time student
Yes, part-time student


59. 'Relationship in household' data, as originally collected, are dependent upon whom the respondent nominates as Person 1. Usually the selected Person 1 proves to be an appropriate reference person on which to base 'Family composition' coding. However as this is not always the case, for example when a non-dependent child is selected rather than that person's parent, raw data must be further processed in order to obtain the input categories of the 'Relationship in household' classification (see Appendix A, Substituting a suitable reference person).

60. As mentioned in the section on 'Discussion of Conceptual Issues' above, the input categories for Relationship in household' vary according to the method of collection used, as follows:

Interviewer-based collections

61. The 'Relationship in household' categories used for household surveys are designed specifically as input for the process of family formation. Any requirement for detailed 'Relationship in household' data to be obtained from household surveys necessitates asking for additional information and would usually only take place in the context of a household survey which is intended to investigate such issues.

62. The input categories used for household surveys are as follows. They describe the relationships of persons in the household to the person identified as Person 1 on the household form, who may not be the appropriate Reference Person. No code numbers are given for the categories because any codes relating to the category names are used only for processing those categories into family formations. There are nine groups of categories.

Household reference person


De facto husband
De facto wife

Adopted son
Foster son
Adopted daughter
Foster daughter

Adopted father
Foster father
Adopted mother
Foster mother

Adopted brother
Foster brother
Adopted sister
Foster sister

Son in-law
Daughter in-law

Father in-law
Brother in-law
Mother in-law
Sister in-law

Not applicable
Not related

Self-completed collections

63. The standard input categories used for 'Relationship in household' in self-completed collections are the level 2 categories of the 'Relationship in household' classification. For operational reasons, the supplementary codes 9 and 99 are used to code responses of 'Visitor' when they are considered in scope of the collection. Census uses an additional supplementary code 'VV' to identify overseas visitors.

Previous PageNext Page

Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.