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2007.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Consultation on Content and Procedures, 2016  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/11/2012   
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SUPPORTING INFORMATION ON TOPICS

Topics - Recommended for Retention
Topics - To Be Reviewed
Topics - Recommended For Exclusion
Potential New Topics

This appendix contains further information on the ABS topic proposals. These are the preliminary views of the ABS and are aimed at initiating the public consultation process.

The descriptions below include references to the question number for the 2011 Census Household Form, which may assist some people in understanding the topic. The Census Dictionary, 2011 (cat. no. 2901.0) is another source of information on Census data and classifications.


TOPICS - RECOMMENDED FOR RETENTION

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin
The Census is the only comprehensive source of small area socio-demographic data on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. The main purpose of this question is to determine the number, distribution and characteristics of people of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin. It is used in estimation and projections of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.

Data collected from this question are used by governments and research institutions to quantify and describe the circumstances of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and is used in regular reporting to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on the National Indigenous Reform Agreement.

2011 Census Household Form Question: 7

Address on Census night
The collection of information on household address on Census Night is essential for the conduct of an accurate and high quality Census. Household address is the basic unit used to distribute, collect and monitor return of Census forms. It also forms the basis for geographic coding based on place of enumeration. It is used for the estimation of the resident population in each of the states, territories and local areas, which are required by legislation for electoral purposes and the distribution of government funds. The population estimates are dependent on the five-yearly Census and are calculated by adjusting the Census count for underenumeration, excluding visitors from overseas and adding Australian residents who are overseas at the time of the Census. For further information see Population Estimates: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2009 (cat. no. 3228.0.55.001).

Address on Census night is only used for specific purposes and has not been retained after Census processing for previous Census cycles.

2011 Census Household Form Question: 1

Age
Age data is essential for the estimation of the resident population in each of the states, territories and local areas, which are required by legislation for electoral purposes and the distribution of government funds. The population estimates are dependent on the five-yearly Census and are calculated by adjusting the Census count for underenumeration, excluding visitors from overseas and adding Australian residents who are overseas at the time of the Census. Age is essential for most socio-demographic analysis of Census data and it is also required for national reporting to bodies such as COAG.

There may be some small enhancements made to the age question in the 2016 Census, to reduce respondent confusion and improve data quality. The Census will continue to collect date of birth to enhance the quality of age data.

2011 Census Household Form Question: 4

Attendance at an educational institution
This topic is used for education and labour market planning. It identifies the current study and educational participation of respondents. This topic is considered to be of high priority to educational planners at federal, state and community levels and is used in decisions on the allocation of funds for schools. Significant changes are occurring in education participation and further changes are anticipated. Data from this question, when cross-classified with other Census variables, are very important in monitoring these changes as they occur. This topic is used in annual reporting to COAG on the National Education Agreement.

2011 Census Household Form Questions: 24 and 25

County of birth
Data on the country a person was born in are used to produce estimated resident population by country of birth. Data on country of birth are critical in developing and monitoring programs for migrants. There is a high demand for this data from all levels of government, community organisations and service providers and the need cannot be met from sample surveys or from overseas arrivals and departure statistics.

The ABS will make some small changes to the list of response categories for common countries of birth to reflect the most common responses received in the 2011 Census. There is also a write-in box for other countries of birth, which will remain unchanged.

2011 Census Household Form Question: 12


Family relationship/Social marital status
Family relationship is critical in understanding changes in Australian society as well as trends in family composition. Data gathered from questions on this topic are used to identify different types of households and the structure of family groups within each household. Data about households and families are of considerable value in their own right and also when cross-classified with other variables.

There is currently a review of standards for Family, Household and Income Unit Variables, 2005 (cat. no. 1286.0), which aims to improve the ability for data from this topic to be collected accurately and coded efficiently in household surveys. The review will consider improvements for the Census to better meet the needs of users that cannot currently be adequately met, such as multi-family households, grandparent families and same sex couples. Consequently, the question design and wording might be changed for the 2016 Census. As part of this, the ABS is looking at ways of improving the recording of family relationships, particularly for complex and multi-family households.

The ABS is reviewing whether the output of Registered marital status through family relationship/social marital status is sufficient to meet requirements.

2011 Census Household Form Questions: 5, 52 and 53

Highest year of schooling
This topic is an important input into determining level of highest educational attainment. It is also an important indicator of education need and disadvantage, and is used for planning and profiling at the small area level. Data from this topic are used in annual reporting to COAG on the National Education Agreement and the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development.

2011 Census Household Form Question: 27

Hours worked
Information on hours worked is used to derived full-time/part-time status. It is used to study the changes in part-time employment, work patterns and growth in leisure activities as well as to estimate child care needs. Information on hours worked, cross-classified by industry and occupation, is required by labour market economists to analyse changes in the labour force within small geographic regions and for small groups such as Indigenous people, migrants, sole parents and specific age groups.

A question relating to the number of hours worked by employed people in the week prior to the Census (actual hours) has been asked in each Census since 1966. There was some variation in whether only main job or all jobs were included, but this question has referred to all jobs since 1996 to provide greater comparability with data from other sources. From 2001, respondents have been requested to write in the specific number of hours worked (rather than selecting a range of hours), thereby providing more detailed information.

There is some additional demand for information on usual hours worked. Usual hours are not affected by unusual circumstances and can provide information on the person's 'usual' arrangement whereas hours actually worked relates to the specified period and may be affected by unusual circumstances such as overtime, leave or strikes.

The ABS recommends that the Census continues to collect information on hours worked. User feedback is sought on the relative priorities of the existing topic on actual hours (hours worked last week) and the potential replacement topic of usual hours.

2011 Census Household Form Question: 44

Housing costs
The data collected from housing rental costs and housing loan repayments are important as they are used to assist in benchmarks for the CPI and Australian National Accounts. This data also helps estimate homelessness and housing affordability. Homelessness is an indicator in the National Affordable Housing Agreement and the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness. The Census is the only source of this data for small areas and small population groups.

2011 Census Household Form Questions: 56 and 58

Income
Census data on income are used as an indicator of relative advantage and disadvantage and economic wellbeing, especially for small areas and small population groups. Census income data are an input variable into Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) which is used in a range of COAG reports.

Testing of the topic has shown that some people may leave this question unanswered as they think it does not apply to them (e.g. those not in the labour force, pensioners and self-funded retirees).

In previous Census cycles, people were asked to report their usual income by selecting an income range (not in actual dollars). Household and family incomes are not collected in the Census but are derived from personal income data by imputing a specific dollar amount for each personal income range selected by each family or household member. See Income data in the Census for more details.

It is envisaged the income topic will be improved by collecting more precise income data through a write-in question. The ABS will consider the possible increase in respondent burden through this type of question, as well as any subsequent impact on data quality. The introduction of questions on sources of income is also being considered. The ABS will also investigate the feasibility of statistical data integration of other data sources to partially replace or complement the direct collection of income in the 2016 Census.

2011 Census Household Form Question: 33

Industry of employment
Data on the geographic distribution of industry are needed to monitor labour market changes and provide a basis for social and economic policy and planning. The Census is the only source of industry data at the detailed level for most industries and for small areas, and enables cross-classification with other employee characteristics (such as qualifications or occupation).

The ABS will consider whether there is sufficient user demand for the Census to continue coding industry at the most detailed level (four-digit level) of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (cat. no. 1292.0), or whether the unit group (three-digit) is sufficient.

2011 Census Household Form Questions: 42 and 43

Internal migration
Information on usual residence one year ago and five years ago is used to determine the patterns of internal migration, which contribute to the calculation of estimated resident population, population projections and regional migration statistics. The population estimates are dependent on the five-yearly Census and are calculated by adjusting the Census count for underenumeration, excluding visitors from overseas and adding Australian residents who are overseas at the time of the Census.

Data collected on internal migration are also used in the production of intercensal and postcensal population estimates, all of which are compiled on the basis of usual residence. Coupled with information from other questions, the Census is the only source to provide information on the characteristics of the migratory population and the non-migratory population for all geographic levels.

The ABS is considering the collection of actual country of residence one year and five years ago in the Census, instead of the current tick-box for ‘other country’.

2011 Census Household Form Questions: 9 and 10

Labour force status
Information about labour force status is essential for a wide range of social and economic policy and planning purposes. The Census is the only available source of data on labour force status at the small area level and for small population groups. Data collected are used to determine a person's labour force status, i.e. employed (full-time or part-time), unemployed or not in the labour force. This information is used extensively by national, state and local government stakeholders.

2011 Census Household Form Questions: 34, 44, 46 and 47


Landlord type
This topic defines the landlord type of the dwelling, such as whether it is rented privately via a landlord, a government agency or residential park. Data collected on landlord type is used for planning and policy purposes. The Census is the only source of rental data for small areas and for small groups of the population. Tenure and landlord type are an important part of estimating homeless, which is an indicator for COAG reporting on the National Affordable Housing Agreement.

Landlord Type standards are being reviewed prior to the 2016 Census.

2011 Census Household Form Questions: 57

Location of private dwelling
This topic describes the location of a private dwelling, such as caravans, residential parks, retirement villages and others. It is an important part of estimating homelessness and people who are marginally housed. The majority of private dwellings are recorded as other. This topic is also used to determine the number of retirement villages and home estates, and the characteristics of residents. This information is used to assist in highlighting dwelling trends in the aging population. Census data on location of private dwelling is used to assist in performance measurement indicators in the National Affordable Housing Agreement. See also Structure of Private dwelling, Type of non-private dwelling and Residential status in a non-private dwelling.

2011 Census: Question was answered by Census Field Officers

Main language other than English spoken at home
Data gained from questions on language use are important for a wide range of policies at the national, state, territory and local levels. All levels of government require language use data for small areas and population groups to be available for monitoring and implementing associated programs.

For the 2016 Census, the ABS will make some small changes to the list of response categories for common main languages other than English spoken at home to reflect the most common responses received in the 2011 Census.

2011 Census Household Form Question: 16

Mode of travel to work
The data collected from this topic are widely used at the small area level for transport planning. It complements the data collected from the Workplace address/Journey to Work topic. They identify how people travelled to work on Census day (e.g. train, bus, car driver, car passenger and bicycle).

2011 Census Household Form Question: 45

Name
The collection of information regarding name is considered essential for the conduct of an accurate and high quality Census. It is used for form management procedures and coding of household composition. Name is essential for the conduct of a high quality Post Enumeration Survey, which is used to measure the level of underenumeration in the Census. The population estimates are dependent on the five-yearly Census and are calculated by adjusting the Census count for underenumeration excluding visitors from overseas and adding Australian residents who are overseas at the time of the Census. For further information see Population Estimates: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2009 (cat. no. 3228.0.55.001).

The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the Federal Financial Relations Act 2009 and the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995 require the Statistician to provide estimates as well as determine the population of each state and territory each year. This information is used to determine the distribution of goods and services tax revenue and the number of seats in Parliament.

Name is not available as an output item. Prior to the 2001 Census, names were not retained after processing of the data was completed. For the 2001, 2006 and 2011 Censuses, name-identified Census information was provided to the National Archives of Australia to be released for future genealogical and other research after a closed period of 99 years. This has only occurred when a person has explicitly consented to their data being retained for this purpose.

2011 Census Household Form Question: 2

Non-school qualifications
This topic is an important input into determining the level of highest educational attainment. Data gathered during the Census about non-school qualifications are used to support planning and policy development in the areas of education, training and employment. This topic is used in annual reporting to COAG on the National Education Agreement and the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development.

2011 Census Household Form Questions: 28, 29, 30 and 31

Number of bedrooms
Housing authorities and other users require data on the number of bedrooms in a property to provide an indication of dwelling size, dwelling utilisation or under-utilisation, and potential overcrowding by the calculation of occupancy ratios (i.e. the number of people per room/bedroom). This topic is an important part of estimating homelessness and for investigating people who are marginally housed.

The Census is the only comprehensive source of data on number of bedrooms at the small area level and for small population groups. This topic is used for calculating homelessness and homelessness indicators which are included in COAG reporting for the National Affordable Housing Agreement as well as the National Partnership on Homelessness.

2011 Census Household Form Question: 55.

Occupation
Data about occupation are required for a wide range of social and economic policy and planning purposes. Information is required for small geographic areas and for some finely classified occupations. Detailed occupation data are needed to analyse current and potential imbalances in the supply and demand for labour with varying skills at the national, regional and local area levels. The data on occupation is enhanced when it is combined with data on industry of employment and qualifications.

The ABS will consider whether there is sufficient user demand for the Census to continue coding occupation at the most detailed level (six-digit level) of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (cat. no. 1220.0), or whether the unit group (four-digit) is sufficient.

The ABS and Statistics New Zealand are undertaking a minor review of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations .

2011 Census Household Form Questions: 38 and 39

Proficiency in spoken English
Questions on language use are important for a wide variety of policies at a range of geographic levels. This topic is used in conjunction with Main language other than English spoken at home, to assist in planning English language services at the local level.

This topic requires people who speak a language other than English at home to report whether they speak English very well, well, not well or not at all. This question is very subjective, which may cause data quality issues.

2011 Census Household Form Question:17

Registered marital status
Registered marital status provides an insight into family structure and stability, and serves as an explanatory variable for social analysis. It identifies whether people are presently never married, widowed, divorced, separated or in a registered marriage.

Data about registered marital status are also available through the family relationship/social marital status topic, which is included in every Census and outputs a person's relationship status based on their current living arrangements, including registered marriage and de facto relationships. It is acknowledged that this will not meet the demand for data on the registered marital status of individuals who are not cohabiting with a partner, such as widows.

The ABS recommends that Registered marital status be considered in conjunction with the output available from family relationship/social marital status. Users should consider the ongoing need for information from the Registered marital status topic not based on current living arrangements (e.g. never married, separated, divorced and widowed) and whether the information available from social marital status topic will meet requirements.

2011 Census Household Form Question: 6

Religious affiliation
The Census is the only source of detailed, small area religious affiliation data. Information on religious affiliation is widely used in the religious community, and by government agencies which provide services complementary to those provided by religious organisations.

The ABS will make some small changes to the list of response categories for common religious groups to reflect the most common responses received in the 2011 Census.

2011 Census Household Form Question: 19

Residential status in a non-private dwelling
This topic differentiates people staying in non-private dwellings, either on a short-term basis or as a resident, from live-in staff and their families. This topic is important for planning and delivery of services and it is used to inform understanding of dwelling stock supply and demand trends. It is used to estimate homelessness and investigate people who are marginally housed. Homelessness is a key indicator for COAG reporting. It is also required to get a total estimate of the Australian population. Over 800,000 people were enumerated in non-private dwellings in the 2011 Census. See also Structure of a private dwelling, Type of Non-private dwelling and Location of Private dwelling.

This topic will be tested to assess the impact of the proposed change in procedures for the 2016 Census.

2011 Personal Census Form Question: 6

Sex
Information gained from questions on sex is essential for the estimation of the resident population in each of the states, territories and local areas, which are required by legislation for electoral purposes and the distribution of government funds. The population estimates are dependent on the five-yearly Census and are calculated by adjusting the Census count for under-enumeration, excluding visitors from overseas and adding Australian residents who are overseas at the time of the Census. Information on sex is essential for most socio-demographic analysis of Census data and it is also required for national reporting to bodies such as COAG.

The ABS is currently reviewing the Sex Standard which may impact on the collection of sex and gender in ABS household collections including the Census. Consistency between the ABS and government standards on sex and gender will be taken into consideration.

2011 Census Household Form Question: 3

Structure of private dwelling
This topic defines the type of dwelling in any particular location (e.g. separate house, row or terrace, townhouse, flat, unit or apartment). It is used to determine changes in housing patterns and stock, land use forecasting, transport planning and the compilation of homelessness estimates.

Initiatives in housing policy have strengthened the need for detailed information about Australia's housing stock. Information on the structure of a private dwelling is an important component of this detailed information. This topic is used to assist in performance measurement against indicators in the National Affordable Housing Agreement.

This question was previously answered by Census field officers as a part of the collection process. However, this will not be possible for the majority of dwellings enumerated in 2016 as it is proposed that the majority of households will complete the Census online and will not be visited by Census Field Officers. A new collection method will be tested for the 2016 Census. See also Type of Non-private dwelling, location of Private dwelling and Residential status in a non-private dwelling.

2011 Census: Question was answered by Census Field Officers

Tenure type
Data on Tenure type (whether a dwelling is rented, owned with a mortgage or owned without a mortgage) are used for planning, analysis and policy purposes for small area and population groups. When cross-classified with other characteristics of households, they are used for housing and social welfare policy and planning by the government and other providers. Tenure and landlord type are an important part of estimating homelessness, which is an indicator for COAG reporting, including the National Affordable Housing Agreement.

Tenure Type standards are being reviewed prior to the 2016 Census.

2011 Census Household Form Question: 56

Type of non-private dwelling
This topic describes the type of non-private dwelling in which persons were counted on Census night, (e.g. hotels, nursing homes, corrective institutions and hospitals). Census data about people residing in non-private dwellings and the type of non-private dwelling are important for planning and delivery of services. It is used to inform understanding of dwelling stock supply and demand trends. It is used to estimate homelessness and investigate people who are marginally housed. Homelessness is a key indicator for COAG reporting.

This topic will be tested to assess the impact of the proposed change in procedures for the 2016 Census.

2011 Census: Question was answered by Census Field Officers

Usual residence at Census time
Information on usual residence at Census time is essential for the production of accurate state, territory and local government resident population estimates, a primary objective of the Census. The population estimates are dependent on the five-yearly Census and are calculated by adjusting the Census count for underenumeration, excluding visitors from overseas and adding Australian residents who are overseas at the time of the Census. Usual residence forms the basis for geographic coding based on place of enumeration, and is widely used for a range of planning, policy and research purposes.

Place of usual residence is the primary geographical basis for the release of most Census statistics, enabling the disaggregation of cross tabulations into various geographic levels (e.g. state/territory, regional areas and local government areas) and is used in conjunction with other questions to compile internal migration statistics.

Address of usual residence has not been retained after Census processing for previous Census cycles.

2011 Census Household Form Question: 8

Workplace address/Journey to work
The data collected from this topic on address of place of work is coded to destination zones, creating valuable information on journey to work patterns and on daytime populations of specified areas. This topic is widely used at the small area level and complements the topic on Mode of travel to work.

2011 Census Household Form Questions: 8 and 41

Year of arrival in Australia
Year of arrival data are necessary to analyse changes in the characteristics of migrants over time, particularly in distinguishing between recent and ‘older’ migrants. They are cross-classified with other Census questions to produce data on the characteristics of migrants.

Although there is a significant need for this data for small areas and small population groups, it might not need to be directly collected in the Census. The ABS will also investigate the suitability of other data sources.

2011 Census Household Form Question: 13
TOPICS - TO BE REVIEWED

Ancestry
A person's ancestry, in conjunction with their country of birth and information on whether their parents were born in Australia or overseas, assists in indicating the ethnic background of first and second generation Australians. These data are used to determine a measure for the ethnic composition of the population and to inform delivery of services to particular ethnic communities.

This question has been reviewed several times since its introduction in 1986 and re-introduction in 2001, with a focus on subjectivity and respondent confusion about what the question meant, particularly for families who had been in Australia for many generations. The later reviews agreed that Ancestry, in combination with a question on whether parents were born in Australia or overseas, would provide data of acceptable quality. This will now be reconsidered, particularly in the context of demand for more detailed information on country of birth of parents. The topic could possibly be considered for inclusion on a 10-yearly cycle of collection.

2011 Census Household Form Question: 18

Australian citizenship
Information about Australian citizenship is used to monitor the take-up of Australian citizenship by the overseas population.

Although there is a significant need for this data for small areas and small population groups, it might not need to be directly collected in the Census. The ABS will also investigate the suitability of other data sources.

If information on Australian Citizenship continues to be collected in the Census, there will be consideration of expanding the question to enable respondents to record the actual country of citizenship, if not Australian.

2011 Census Household Form Question: 11

Country of birth of parents
Data on a person’s ethnic or cultural origin are in high demand. This topic, when combined with Ancestry, provides a measure of ethnic composition of the population.

The version of this question that appeared on the 2011 Census form asked whether the person's parents were born in Australia or overseas. This version dates from 2001 when the topic of Ancestry was reinstated on the form (prior to this date detailed information on country of birth was collected). However, there is ongoing demand for more detailed data on specific country of birth of parents. While the current question identifies the second generation, it does not assist in assessing the size of groups based on specific country or countries or origin. There may be consideration of expanding this topic to enable respondents to record their actual country of birth of parents rather than 'overseas'.

The ABS is currently reviewing this question in conjunction with the Ancestry topic to determine priority, relevance and suitability. The ABS is seeking user input on priority and relevance.

2011 Census Household Form Questions:14 and 15

Government/Non-Government employer
Information on government/non-government employer, classified by industry and occupation, is required by labour market economists to analyse changes in the labour force within small geographic regions and for small groups such as Indigenous people, migrants, sole parents and specific age groups. This topic is also used by local governments and jurisdictions to provide information on levels and distribution of government employment in regions and municipalities. The ABS considers that this topic rates less highly on the assessment criteria than other topics, and it will review its relevance for inclusion in the 2016 Census. The ABS is seeking further justification for the continued collection of data on this topic.

2011 Census Household Form Question: 40

Internet access
This topic has been included on the Census form since 2001 and is important for government policy and planning decisions, especially around access to the internet and the anticipated take-up of high speed broadband. There are a number of equity issues associated with access to the internet. This question is used to target and monitor government programs.

There have been a number of changes to this topic since it was first included, to reflect the rapidly changing nature of this field. The 2001 Census collected data on internet and computer use by individuals. The 2006 and 2011 Censuses collected information on whether the internet could be accessed at the dwelling and the type of connection in the dwelling (broadband, dial-up and other).

The internet and computer technology field is very dynamic and it is difficult to anticipate future key issues. Most Australians now have access to computers and the internet. The complexity of the field also restricts the type of data which can be collected through the Census. In the past, the key statistical requirement has been the type of connection to the internet but for the 2016 Census the main priority appears to be personal use of the internet (e.g. voice over internet and teleconferencing, e-Health services, home-based work, accessing government services, buying or selling goods and services, entertainment, study-related activities, social networking and general browsing).

The ABS is seeking justification for the ongoing collection of information about internet access and the relative priorities of the potential components of this topic (type of dwelling internet connection, personal access to the internet or personal use of the internet).

2011 Census Household Form Question: 59

Need for assistance
Data on people who need assistance due to a severe or profound disability are required for developing federal and state government policies and community based programs, and for program and service delivery funding allocation. Detailed data at the small area level and for small population groups are particularly useful for this topic. Census data on this topic are used in the calculation of performance indicators for COAG reporting on the National Disability Agreement.

This topic identifies people who report a need for assistance due to a 'profound or severe core activity limitation'. However, due to the collection methodology and question format, the data should be taken as an indication of the characteristics of people who report a need for assistance rather than as the total population prevalence of people with a 'profound or severe core activity limitation'. The quality of the 2006 and 2011 Census data will be considered in making a decision on whether this topic should be included in the 2016 Census.

The ABS notes recent international recommendations on disability questions suitable for Censuses, which would require the addition to and testing of several questions for the 2016 Census. These will be considered if the topic is included in the 2016 Census.

2011 Census Household Form Questions: 20, 21, 22 and 23

Status in employment
Information about status in employment is essential for a wide range of social and economic policy and planning purposes. The Census is the only source of data on status in employment (employee, employer, own account worker and contributing family worker) at the small area level and for small population groups. The information is particularly important for distinguishing between employees and self-employed people. The output classification for this topic will now incorporate information on employment type.

The ABS considers that this topic rates less highly against the assessment criteria than other topics and it will review its relevance for inclusion in the 2016 Census. The ABS is seeking further justification for the continued inclusion of this topic.

2011 Census Household Form Questions: 34, 35, 36 and 37

Unpaid work
This topic was introduced in the 2006 Census following strong interest in monitoring the value, composition and growth of unpaid work. Information on unpaid activities is important in identifying the characteristics of carers of people with special needs (such as the elderly, children and people with disabilities), and assisting with planning for both work and non-work environments.

The 2006 and 2011 Censuses collected information on four components of unpaid work:
  • unpaid domestic work
  • unpaid care of others due to disability, illness or old age
  • unpaid care of children
  • voluntary work.

The ABS plans to review outcomes from the 2011 Census in terms of data quality, the usefulness of the information obtained through the questions and the appropriateness of the 2016 Census as a vehicle for the collection of data related to unpaid work.

There is also demand from Government and other organisations for data on people's activities while not in the labour force, particularly in relation to voluntary work and caring responsibilities. Main activity of people not in the labour force could potentially be a component of the unpaid work topic to replace or complement the existing components. This component could identify activities such as being retired, caring for children, attending an education institution, looking after ill or disabled person or working in unpaid voluntary job.

Unless the ABS can be convinced that there is sufficient justification that the Census is the most appropriate vehicle for the collection of this information, and it is shown that high quality data can be obtained, some components of this topic of unpaid work may be excluded from the 2016 Census. Information is also sought on whether any components of this topic have higher priority than other components and the relative priority of a potential new component on main activity of people not in the labour force.

2011 Census Household Form Questions: 48, 49, 50 and 51


TOPICS - RECOMMENDED FOR EXCLUSION


Community Development Employment program (CDEP)
This topic collects information about participation in the CDEP. It is asked on the interviewer household form (IHF), which is used in nominated discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities where use of the standard census form is impractical. Consequently, it does not provide a national measure of participation in the program.

There have been a number of reforms to the CDEP program since 2009, which affect the comparability of the Census time series on this topic and the utility of the data collected. Detailed information about CDEP is available from the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Employment type
Information about employment type is important for a wide range of social and economic policy and planning purposes. It is needed to understand the characteristics of the workforce and the extent of self-employment. The Census is the only source of data on type of employment at the small area level and for small population groups.

Following a review of labour statistics standards, the employment type and status in employment classifications are being combined into one output classification: status in employment. This means that employment type is no longer separately required in the Census, as the information previously collected for this topic will now be available from the status of employment topic.

There will be no changes required to Census questions.

2011 Census Household Form Questions: 34, 35, 36 and 37

Number of children ever born
This topic is used for population projections and the assessment of changes in Australian fertility patterns. In 2011, this topic was initially considered for exclusion as it is a topic that is usually included in the Census every 10 years (1986, 1996 and 2006). However, a decision was subsequently made to conduct the 2011 Census on a basis comparable to the 2011 Census, so the question was not removed and was asked in two consecutive censuses.

Some interest has been shown in the inclusion of this topic in each Census, rather than every 10 years. Refinement of the question over time and increased awareness of the purpose and use of this data have diminished some of the factors which led to the cyclic nature of the question. However, inclusion of this topic in the 2016 Census needs to be considered in terms of its priority in relation to other topics.

Unless the ABS can be convinced that there is sufficient justification for a review of the 10-yearly cycle for this topic, it is the ABS view that a question on the number of children ever born be excluded from the 2016 Census with the expectation that it be included in the 2021 Census.

2011 Census Household Form Question: 32

Number of motor vehicles garaged
Data on the number and distribution of vehicles have been used to assess parking and public transport requirements. However, the ABS understands that this topic has limited current use as a transport indicator and the Motor Vehicle Census may meet user requirements.

Consequently, the ABS recommended that this topic be considered for removal from the 2016 Census unless strong user justification is provided.

2011 Census Household Form Question: 54
POTENTIAL NEW TOPICS

Educational institution address/Journey to education
This proposed new topic would involve collecting address of educational institution and coding it to destination zones to create information on journey to education patterns and on daytime populations of specified areas. The ABS recognises that information about journey to educational institution, in conjunction with data on journey to work, has been identified as a critical need for transport planning and local infrastructure investment purposes. Journey to education institution would also be useful for the purposes of education planning. Educational institution address would also be useful in understanding the socioeconomic characteristics of families with children at particular schools and could be used for education policy development.

The journey to work questions are only answered by people aged 15 years of age or over who are in the labour force. However, the journey to educational institution questions would need to be answered by all students at educational institutions, regardless of age. Consequently, the practicality of collecting this information will need to be carefully considered by the ABS, as will any testing outcomes.

Provided the ABS can be convinced there is sufficient justification and it is shown that high quality data can be collected, questions on the journey to educational institution could be included in the 2016 Census.

Long-term health conditions
There is strong demand for detailed knowledge of the location of people with certain long-term health conditions, particularly at the small area level. This will enable targeting of programs and resources to assist in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease. Information about health conditions is key to a number of national and international reporting requirements and is regarded as a measure of progress.

The proposed topic would collect information on a small number of health conditions, based on the national health priority areas. The health conditions could include arthritis, osteoporosis, asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart and circulatory conditions, kidney disease and mental health conditions.

The ABS is seeking justification for the inclusion of this topic in the 2016 Census.

Mode of travel to educational institution
The ABS recognises that information about mode of travel to educational institution, in conjunction with data on journey and mode of travel to work, has been identified as a critical need for transport planning and local infrastructure investment purposes. Journey to education institution would also be useful for purposes of education planning.

However, unlike the mode of travel to work questions, which are answered only by people aged 15 years of age or over who are in the labour force, the mode of travel to educational institution questions would need to be answered by all students at educational institutions, regardless of age. Consequently, the practicality of collecting this information will need to be carefully considered by the ABS, as will any testing outcomes.

Provided the ABS can be convinced there is sufficient justification and it is shown that high quality data can be collected, questions on the journey to educational institution could be included in the 2016 Census.

Second residence/Ownership of other dwelling
There is growing user interest in data about second residence, particularly in relation to: people who regularly stay in a second residence due to work commitments; children in shared custody arrangements who have an alternate usual residence from the one they stayed in on Census night; and students who regularly stay in a second residence due to educational requirements.

Collection of information on second residence would enable improved assessment of the numbers of temporary residents located in communities and would be used for the compilation of service populations. This, in turn, would facilitate more accurate planning for services in these locations.

This topic may also incorporate second residence ownership, which would enhance statistics on wealth and home ownership, and potentially be used to improve measures of socioeconomic status.

This topic will be considered for suitability, relevance and priority to determine whether it is included in the 2016 Census.

Sources of income
This topic would identify all sources of income that people receive, such as government pensions and allowances, investment income and wages. This new topic would enhance the range of income data collected by the Census and extend the social analysis that can be undertaken. There is strong demand for this data for small area and small population groups, The ABS is also considering improving the quality of income data by adding a write-in box to the current Income question. This topic also serves as an explanatory variable for social analysis.

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Commonwealth of Australia 2014

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