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3414.0 - Guide to Migrant Statistical Sources, 2011 (Edition 2)  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/03/2011   
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Family Characteristics Survey (FCS)


The Family Characteristics Survey (FCS) collects details on household and family composition, including demographic, labour force, and family structure information. It focuses on families with children aged 0 to 17 years. Data from the FCS are used to examine changes in family structure and child support issues (not collected in 2006-07) for children in families whose parents have separated.

Data items are collected for households, families and individuals and cover a range of topics including family structure, relationships between family members, employment status, education, child support arrangements (not collected in 2006-07), visiting arrangements, income and demographics. Data items contained within these topics can be cross-classified with Data Items Relevant to Migrants and Ethnicity.

The FCS was conducted in 1997 and 2003 as part of the Monthly Population Survey. In 2006-07, the FCS was first conducted as part of the ABS Multi-Purpose Household Survey, and the ABS plans to repeat the FCS three-yearly. However, the extended Family Characteristics topic (including details of child support arrangements) will only be collected six-yearly. In the intervening survey year, a core Family Characteristics topic will be collected along with the Family Transitions and History Survey.

Results from the most recent FCS conducted in 2009-10 are expected to be released in late April 2011.

Previous special social surveys were conducted under the names of the 'Survey of Families in Australia' (1992) and the 'Family Survey' (1982).



  • Country of birth
    Note: This is collected for all persons, including children aged under 15 years, and is classified as:
    • Born in Australia
    • Born overseas
      • Oceania and Antarctica
      • North-West Europe
      • Southern and Eastern Europe
      • North Africa and the Middle East
      • South-East Asia
      • North-East Asia
      • Southern and Central Asia
      • Americas
      • Sub-Saharan Africa
      • Other
  • Year of arrival
    • Arrived before 1971
    • Arrived 1971–1980
    • Arrived 1981–1990
    • Arrived 1991–2000
    • Arrived 2001 to survey date


A full list of data items collected for the Family Characteristics Survey is available in Family Characteristics and Transitions , Australia (cat. no. 4442.0). The publication also contains further details on scope, geographic coverage, data availability and publications, methodology, classifications and concepts.

The most recent information on Confidentialised Unit Record Files are available on the CURF Microdata Entry Page.


For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service.

Phone: 1300 135 070
Fax: 1300 135 211
Post: Client Services, ABS, GPO Box 796, Sydney 2001

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