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4402.0.55.001 - Microdata: Childhood Education and Care, Australia , June 2011  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/10/2012   
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image: File structure FILE STRUCTURE


DATA AVAILABLE BY LEVEL

The format of the 2011 CEaCS microdata is structured across four levels. In the Expanded CURF these levels are available as four separate files. The levels are:

1. Income Unit level

      2. Income Unit Care level
      3. Child level
        4. Child Care level

The Income Unit level and the Child level are linked with each other through an hierarchical relationship, i.e. each child at the Child level of the file is a member of an Income Unit. While the word 'family' is often used interchangeably with 'income unit' in CEaCS, the income unit may not include all members of a family, e.g. an employed 18 year old living at home but treated as a separate income unit. It should also be noted that, in families with more than two children aged 0–12 years, only two children were randomly selected for the survey with the complete set of information collected only for these children. Consequently, the Child level does not necessarily comprise all the children relating to the Income Unit. However, summary information was collected for the other child(ren) in the income unit, including the number attending child care and/or preschool and the cost of care, and this information is available at the Income Unit Care level. In households with multiple families information was only collected for the child(ren) from one family.

The Income Unit Care level is also linked to the Income Unit level. The Income Unit Care level contains records for the child care used by all children in the Income Unit for both the 'last week prior to the survey' and 'usually'. As mentioned above, the Income Unit Care level also includes some information for the child(ren) in the family not selected for the survey, as parents were asked for aggregated cost of care and use of care data for the other child(ren) in the family.

The Child Care Level is linked to the Child level. The Child Care Level contains information about each child care arrangement used by the child(ren), both for the 'last week prior to the survey' and 'usually'.

Further information about each level is provided below.

Income Unit level
The Income Unit level contains information about each parent of the selected child(ren) aged 0–12 years including general demographic characteristics such as age, sex, marital status, country of birth, labour force status, income and educational qualifications. This level also includes some household and family characteristics such as family composition and the number of children in the household. The geographic identifiers are also included on the Income Unit level (e.g. state/territory of usual residence, remoteness area). There are 5,670 records at the Income Unit level.

Income Unit Care level
The Income Unit Care level contains information about each episode of care the income unit used to care for their child(ren). This includes the types of care used, the cost of the care after Child Care Benefits (CCB) and/or Child Care Rebates (CCR) are deducted and whether the family claimed or intended to claim the CCB. An income unit can be counted more than once in each of these data items, if the income unit used more than one instance of care.
There are 52,791 records at the Income Unit Care level.

Child level
The Child level contains information about each selected child aged 0–12 years in the family such as age, sex, whether the child attends school, preschool or long day care, the main reasons for their use/non-use of child care services, school readiness and informal learning activities in which they have participated. A child can only be counted once, unless the data item is a multiple response item for that child. There are 8,799 unique records at the Child level.

Child Care level
The Child care level contains information about the child care arrangement(s) used by each selected child aged 0–12 years, both for the 'last week prior to the survey' and 'usually'. This includes each type of care used by the child, the frequency of use, weekly cost of care after the CCB and/or the CCR are deducted and whether the CCB was claimed for the care. A child can appear more than once in each data item on this level if they attend more than one type of care. There are 111,489 records at the Child Care level.

The following diagram shows a view of the four levels, as would be seen in TableBuilder, including the sub–categories under which the individual data items have been grouped. The CURF has the same structure as the TableBuilder, however it is available as four separate files. Complete data item lists for both the CURF and TableBuilder can be accessed from the Downloads page.




USING REPEATING DATASETS

The 'one to many' relationships described above for the links between the Income Unit level and the Income Unit Care level and the Child level and the Child Care level are also known as 'repeating datasets', i.e. an event or episode is repeated so that multiple records with the same set of data exist for the same child (or income unit).

For example, a child may have used more than one instance of child care such as (i) long day care centre, (ii) family day care and (iii) grandparents. Consequently, three records would be present on the Child Care level for this child, representing a repeating dataset, with each record containing information for a common set of data items, e.g. Number of days of care used, Number of hours of care used, cost of the care and so on.

In this example, although the three records all relate to a single child, any totals from the Child Care level are a count of child care arrangements.

Counting Units and Weights

Weighting is the process of adjusting results from a sample survey to infer results for the total population. To do this, a 'weight' is allocated to each sample unit. The weight is the value which indicates how many population units are represented by the individual unit in the sample.

Estimates of children, income units and child care arrangements can be obtained when using the CEaCS microdata. It is therefore critical that the correct weight (or summation option) is used when specifying tables.

Income Unit weights (called Household weight on the CURF) are used for the Income Unit and Income Unit Care levels and Child weights are used for the Child and Child Care levels. For example, records at the Child Care level are weighted according to the characteristics of the child who attended child care, therefore the weights for each child care arrangement are the same as the weight for the child. In the example above, if the child has a weight of 600 and that child has attended the three types of care last week, then the child represents 600 children who attended a long day care centre, 600 children who attended family day care and 600 children who were cared for by grandparents. In total this represents 1,800 child care arrangements.

In general, the child weight is used if child estimates are required and the household weight (as named on the CURF) is used if estimates of income units are required. Child weights should be used when producing tables with data items solely from the Child level and Child Care level. Income Unit weights should be used when producing tables with data items solely on the Income Unit level and the Income Unit Care level. It is therefore critical that the correct weight (or summation option in TableBuilder) is used when specifying tables.

In summary, the Income Unit and Child levels can be considered to be 'counting units', while the Income Unit Care and Child Care levels are 'repeating datasets'.

Further information about the counting units and weights relating to each microdata product is provided in the Using the CURF and Using the TableBuilder sections.

Summary Records and Data Items

In addition to the general or base records present in the 'repeating datasets' (i.e. on the Income Unit Care and Child Care levels) that, for example, provide details about each instance of child care, there are also 'summary' records that provide aggregate information for selected groupings of the types of care. For example, summary records are available for groupings of formal care, informal care and all care.

In the example of a child who attended a long day care centre, family day care and also received care from a grandparent, there are three base records on the Child Care level because they attended three separate instances of child care. For each record the data item for the cost for the type of care was reported as $38, $10 and $5 respectively. Therefore, the summary record for this child for the total cost of formal care (i.e. long day care centre and family day care) is recorded as $48 ($38 + $10). Similarly, the summary record for this child for the total cost of all care (i.e. all three types of care) is recorded as $53.

The following data items comprise the classifications that enable the data for these summary records to be tabulated:

Income Unit Care level – Type of care used by the family (SASName IUCINDX in the CURF).
Child Care level – All types of care (SASName CARINDX in the CURF).


NOT APPLICABLE CATEGORIES

Most data items included in the microdata include a 'Not applicable' category. The 'Not applicable' category generally represents the number of people who were not asked a particular question or the number of people excluded from the population for a data item when that data was derived (e.g. Year of Arrival in Australia is not applicable for people born in Australia). The classification value of the 'Not applicable' category may vary from data item to data item. Please refer to the data item lists in the Downloads tab.


SPECIAL CODES

For some data items, certain classification values have been reserved as special codes and should not be added as if they were quantitative values. In particular, the value for these codes should be excluded when calculating means, medians and modes. These special codes generally relate to data items such as income, cost of care and number of hours of care. For example, code 99999998 for the data items 'Weekly income of mother' and 'Weekly income of father', refers to income 'Could not be determined'.

Furthermore, the 'Not applicable' category may have different uses for a data item on the CURF compared to the same data item on TableBuilder. For example, the 'Not applicable' category, 99999997, for the data item 'Weekly income of mother' on the CURF refers to no source of income or no mother in the income unit. Whereas the 'Not applicable' category for the data item 'Weekly income of mother' on TableBuilder refers to no mother in family. This is the same for 'Weekly income of father'. The 'Not applicable' category, 99999997, for the data item 'Weekly income of parent(s)' refers to no source of income on both the CURF and TableBuilder.

The data item lists in the Downloads tab provide all the categories, including special codes, that are applicable to each data item.


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