4921.0 - Participation in Selected Cultural Activities, Australia, 2010-11 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/02/2012  First Issue
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1 The statistics presented in this release were compiled from data collected in the Australian Bureau of Statistics' (ABS) 2010–11 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS). The MPHS is conducted each financial year throughout Australia from July to June as a supplement to the ABS' monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS) and is designed to provide annual statistics for a number of small, self–contained topics.

2 In 2010–11 the topics were:

3 For all topics, general demographic information such as age, sex, labour force characteristics, education and income are also available.

4 This publication covers the Cultural Participation topic (also referred to as the Participation in Selected Cultural Activities Survey) and presents details about participants in selected cultural activities including performing arts, singing or playing a musical instrument, dancing, writing, visual art activities and craft activities. This publication also presents information about the characteristics of participants, the number of selected cultural activities in which people participated, characteristics of selected cultural activities and payments that participants received. Information about reasons for participation and barriers to participation are also included. There are no time series data currently available as this is the first release of the publication.

5 It is expected Cultural Participation data will again being collected in the MPHS for the reference period 2013–14, with that data available in December 2014.


6 The scope of the LFS is restricted to people aged 15 years or over and excludes the following:
  • members of the permanent defence forces
  • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from census and estimated resident populations
  • overseas residents in Australia
  • members of non–Australian defence forces (and their dependants).

7 In addition, the 2010–11 MPHS excluded the following from its scope:
  • people living in very remote parts of Australia
  • people living in non–private dwellings such as hotels, university residences, students at boarding schools, patients in hospitals, residents of homes, (e.g. retirement homes, homes for persons with disabilities, women's shelters), and inmates of prisons.

8 As indicated above, the scope of the MPHS excluded people living in very remote parts of Australia. The exclusion of these people is unlikely to impact on state and territory estimates, except in the Northern Territory where they account for approximately 23% of the total population.


9 The coverage of the 2010–11 MPHS was the same as the scope, except that people living in Indigenous communities in non–very remote areas were not covered for operational reasons.

Coverage rules

10 In the LFS, rules are applied that aim to ensure each person in coverage is associated with only one dwelling and hence has only one chance of selection in the survey. See Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) for more details.


11 The MPHS was conducted as a supplement to the monthly LFS. Each month one eighth of the dwellings in the LFS sample were rotated out of the survey. Around 80% of these dwellings were then selected for the MPHS each month. In these dwellings, after the LFS had been fully completed for each person in scope and coverage, a person aged 15 years or over was selected at random (based on a computer algorithm) and asked the various MPHS topic questions in a personal interview. If the randomly selected person was aged 15–17 years, permission was sought from a parent or guardian before conducting the interview. If permission was not given, the parent or guardian was asked the Cultural Participation questions on behalf of the 15–17 year old. Data was collected using Computer Assisted Interviewing, whereby responses were recorded directly onto an electronic questionnaire in a notebook computer, usually during a telephone interview.

12 For the 2010–11 MPHS, the sample was accumulated over a 12 month period from July 2010 to June 2011.

13 The publication Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) contains definitions of demographic and labour force characteristics, and information about telephone interviewing that is relevant to both the monthly LFS and MPHS.

Sample size

14 The sample size may vary for different topics in the MPHS. The initial sample for the Cultural Participation topic was 38,660 private dwellings, from which one person was randomly selected. Of the 32,555 private dwellings that remained in the survey after sample loss (for example, dwellings selected in the survey that had no residents in scope for the LFS, vacant or derelict dwellings and dwellings under construction), 26,405 or 81% fully responded to the questions on the Cultural Participation topic.



15 Weighting is the process of adjusting results from a sample survey to infer results for the total in–scope population. To do this, a 'weight' is allocated to each sample unit, which, for the MPHS, can be either a person or a household. The weight is a value that indicates how many population units are represented by the sample unit. For the MPHS, the first step in calculating weights for each unit was to assign an initial weight, which is the inverse of the probability of being selected in the survey. For example, if the probability of a person being selected in the survey was 1 in 600, then the person would have an initial weight of 600 (i.e. they represent 600 people).


16 The initial weights were then calibrated to align with independent estimates of the population of interest, referred to as 'benchmarks', in designated categories of age by sex by area of usual residence. Weights calibrated against population benchmarks ensure the survey estimates conform to the independently estimated distribution of the population rather than the distribution within the sample itself. Calibration to population benchmarks helps to compensate for over or under–enumeration of particular categories of persons/households which may occur due to either the random nature of sampling or non–response.

17 For person estimates, the MPHS was benchmarked to the projected population in each state and territory, excluding the population living in very remote areas of Australia, at 31 March 2011. For household estimates, the MPHS was benchmarked to independently calculated estimates of the total number of households in Australia. The MPHS estimates do not (and are not intended to) match estimates for the total Australian person/household populations obtained from other sources (which may include persons living in very remote parts of Australia).


18 Survey estimates of counts of persons or households are obtained by summing the weights of persons or households with the characteristic of interest.


19 All sample surveys are subject to error which can be broadly categorised as either:
  • sampling error
  • non–sampling error.

Sampling error

20 Sampling error is the difference between the published estimates, derived from a sample of persons, and the value that would have been produced if the total population (as defined for the scope of the survey) had been included in the survey. For more information refer to the Technical Note.

Non–sampling error

21 Non–sampling error may occur in any collection, whether it is based on a sample or a full count such as a census. Sources of non–sampling error include non–response, errors in reporting by respondents or recording of answers by interviewers and errors in coding and processing data. Every effort is made to reduce non–sampling error by careful design and testing of questionnaires, training and supervision of interviewers, and extensive editing and quality control procedures at all stages of data processing.


22 This survey asked respondents whether they had participated in 14 selected types of cultural activities, including performing arts, singing or playing a musical instrument, dancing, writing, visual art activities and craft activities, in the 12 months before interview. Information about respondents' participation in up to 14 cultural activities is presented in Table 5.

23 Respondents who reported participating in more than three cultural activities in the 12 months before interview were asked to nominate the three activities they participated in the most. Then these respondents were asked questions about each of these three activities, such as whether payment was received, which type of payment was received and reasons for participation. For example, if a person reported participating in four activities, then nominated the three activities they did the most, the survey would not have collected further information, such as reasons for participation, about the respondent's fourth activity. Respondents who reported participating in three or fewer cultural activities were asked the same questions about each of their activities. Information about respondents' participation in up to three cultural activities is presented in Tables 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14. The estimates of participants for each cultural activity in Table 5 is different to the estimates for the same activities in Tables 9, 10, 11, 12 and 14 because Table 5 includes data for up to 14 activities per person whereas the other tables include information about up to three activities. For example, the estimate of persons who participated in performing in a drama, comedy, opera or musical is 279,200 in Table 5, but the estimate for the same activity is 227,800 persons in Tables 9, 10, 11, 12 and 14. Table 13 includes only participants who reported earning a wage or salary.

24 The types of cultural activities included in the survey are listed in the Glossary.

25 Some of these activities can be grouped into broad categories. These are:
  • performing arts – comprising 'performing in a drama, comedy, opera or musical, including rehearsals' and 'performing in a cabaret or variety act, including rehearsals'
  • writing – comprising 'writing song lyrics, or mixing or composing music, including digital composition' and 'writing any fiction or non–fiction, such as stories, poetry or scripts'
  • visual art activities – comprising 'sculpting, painting, drawing or cartooning, including digital pieces', 'printmaking, screen printing or etching' and 'photography, film–making or editing, apart from recording personal events'
  • craft activities – comprising 'textile crafts, jewellery making, paper crafts or wood crafts' and 'glass crafts, pottery, ceramics or mosaics'.

26 Participation by a person in a particular activity was recorded only once, even if there were different periods for which that activity was undertaken during the 12 months before interview. For example, a person who participated in different drama performances was recorded only once as performing in the category 'drama, comedy, opera or musical, including rehearsals'.

27 Payment status has been classified into two categories: some paid involvement and unpaid involvement only. Where people participated in more than one of the selected activities, the payment status for all cultural activities was determined by considering all of those activities combined. For example, the payment status of a person paid for his/her participation in singing or playing a musical instrument and unpaid for his/her participation in dancing would be classified as having some paid involvement in cultural activities.

28 Sub–totals of these broad categories are not available in some tables (Tables 9, 10, 11 and 12) as the focus of these tables is on the characteristics of each specific cultural activity (such as 'performing in a drama, comedy, opera or musical, including rehearsals') rather than on the broad level activity.

29 Information collected in this survey is essentially 'as reported' by respondents and hence may differ from that which might be obtained from other sources or via other methodologies. This factor should be considered when interpreting the estimates in this publication and when making comparisons with other data sources.


Comparability with Survey of Work in Selected Culture and Leisure Activities

30 The 2010–11 Participation in Selected Cultural Activities Survey is the first in a new series of surveys on this topic. Previously, the Work in Selected Culture and Leisure Activities Survey (conducted as part of the Monthly Population Survey in 1993, 1997, 2001, 2004 and 2007, and as part of the Population Survey Monitor in 1998–99) collected information about the number and basic demographic characteristics of people involved in paid or unpaid work in selected culture and leisure activities over a 12 month period. Differences in survey methodology and enumeration periods, as well as changes to many of the questions being asked, mean the 2010–11 Participation in Selected Cultural Activities data are not comparable with data from these earlier ABS surveys. The Participation in Selected Cultural Activities Survey is expected to be collected via the MPHS every three years.

Comparability with monthly LFS Statistics

31 Due to differences in the scope and sample size of the MPHS and that of the LFS, the estimation procedure may lead to some small variations between labour force estimates from this survey and those obtained from the LFS.

Other methodological issues

32 In the interpretation of the results of the 2010–11 MPHS, consideration should be given to the representativeness of the sample. This is affected by the response rate and also the fact that the survey covers only people living in private dwellings. It does not include residents of retirement or aged care homes, university residences or students at boarding schools who may participate in selected cultural activities at different levels than others in the community.


33 Country of birth data are classified according to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (Second Edition) (SACC), 2008 (cat. no. 1269.0).

34 Area of usual residence is classified according to the Statistical Geography: Volume 1 – Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), 2006 (cat. no. 1216.0).

35 Educational attainment data are classified according to the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001 (cat. no. 1272.0).



36 All tables, in Excel spreadsheet format, can be accessed from the Downloads tab. The spreadsheets present tables of estimates and proportions, and their corresponding relative standard errors.

Microdata record file

37 In addition to the data available in Excel spreadsheets, other tables will be able to be produced using Survey TableBuilder (STB). STB is an online tool for creating tables and graphs from survey data. STB for the 2010–11 Cultural Participation topic is expected to be available in mid 2012. General information about this product, including cost, can be found on the About Survey TableBuilder page.

38 A Confidentialised Unit Record File for the 2010–11 Participation in Selected Cultural Activities topic will not be available.

Data available on request

39 A further option for accessing data from the Cultural Participation topic of the MPHS is to contact the National Information and Referral Service. A range of additional data not provided in the published spreadsheet may be provided on a fee–for–service basis. A spreadsheet containing a complete list of the data items available for Participation in Selected Cultural Activities can be accessed from the Downloads tab.


40 ABS surveys draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated. Without it the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905 .


41 A wide range of information about culture statistics can be found on the ABS Culture Topics @ a Glance web page. This page includes information on current and upcoming projects, links to recent culture publications and resources, and information about current issues in the culture sector.

42 The Related Information tab associated with this release contains links to a selected range of ABS culture publications.