Australian Bureau of Statistics
Current Household Surveys
MONTHLY POPULATION SURVEY (MPS)
The Monthly Population Survey (MPS) has been carried out since 1960 to provide regular information about the population and the labour force of Australia. The figures for Australia's employment and unemployment come from this survey.
Your household is one of approximately 35,000 around Australia selected by the ABS to take part in the survey each month. It is an official survey conducted under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905.
The information collected in the MPS is used in Government economic policy decision making and in other economic planning and research by the Commonwealth and State Governments, industry, business, trade unions and academics.
What details are required?
The main component of the MPS is the Labour Force Survey (LFS). In the LFS, employed people will be asked some questions on topics such as hours worked, their occupation and the type of industry in which they work. People looking for work will be asked questions on topics such as steps taken to look for work and the length of time they have been looking for work. Retired people and people who are neither working nor looking for work will be asked some questions to clarify their current situation and future intentions.
In some months you might be asked additional questions on various topics including education, the environment, conditions of employment or child care arrangements.
During July to December 2009, a small portion of respondents will be asked about work related injuries, participation in sports and physical recreation, attendance at cultural venues and events, sports attendance, patient experience, family characteristics and crime and safety.
The questions can usually be answered for all of your household members in a few minutes and the answers can be provided by any adult member of the household. The interview is conducted using a notebook computer.
How long will I be in the survey?
Interviews will be conducted for your dwelling once every month for eight months. An ABS interviewer (with an official identification card) will visit your home for the first interview. In the following months, where possible, interviews will be conducted by telephone.
Why do I have to do it for eight months?
One of the main reasons for the MPS is to measure changes in the labour force over time. To reduce burden on your household and to provide reliable information on the current status of the labour force, households are replaced every eight months. Seven-eights of the month-to-month sample is the same as the previous month.
Why is it important that all those selected take part in the survey?
The sample is designed to provide a balanced representation of all households in Australia so that the estimates made from the data reflect, as closely as possible, all households. If some households do not participate, this may result in one type of household being represented more often than another type, which may result in biases in the data.
What provision is made for respondents who do not speak English well?
Arrangements can be made for the interview to be conducted by an ABS interviewer fluent in the language of the householder or using an interpreter.
Will respondents be paid for their time?
No. As with other household surveys, the ABS relies on the willing cooperation of households.
Why are Notebook computers being used for the survey interview?
Using notebook computers helps to minimise the number of mistakes that can be made when information is being collected or processed. This improves the quality and reliability of the survey data. Additionally, notebook computers make it easier for interviewers to conduct the interview smoothly and speed up the interview process.
The use of Notebook computers increases the security of the information collected as it can only be accessed by the interviewer and the ABS officers responsible for processing the data.
Is the survey compulsory?
The Census and Statistics Act 1905 authorises the ABS to ask the questions in the survey. The ABS's approach is to seek the willing cooperation of the selected householders by explaining to them that the survey is of national importance and that the information collected from them will ultimately benefit all Australians. Most households recognise the importance of the survey and the need to collect accurate information that is representative of all households.
Do householders have to give ABS interviewers right of entry to their home?
No. Interviewers can enter the household only by invitation from the householder; however, it would be helpful if a suitable chair and table was made available (inside or outside the house) as the interviewer will be using a notebook computer to collect the information.
Will the information provided be confidential?
Yes. Under the Census and Statistics Act 1905, all information provided for the MPS remains confidential. By this we mean that the ABS is under an obligation to ensure that data released to the public, or to any other government department or body, cannot identify any individual who provides their information. The information from individuals is formed into statistics that generalise about population groups and the population as a whole.
The secrecy provisions of the legislation provide for a penalty of up to $5,000 or two years in jail for ABS officers who breach these confidentiality rules. There have been no breaches of confidentiality in the past – the ABS has an unblemished record in this regard.
Where can I obtain the survey results?
Full survey results are published monthly on the ABS website in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).
If you want further information about the Monthly Population Survey or copies of the published results, please contact the ABS office in your state or territory.
AUSTRALIAN HEALTH SURVEY 2011-2013 (AHS)
The Australian Health Survey 2011-2013 (AHS) will provide a better understanding of the health of people living in Australia. With your assistance we will be able to provide governments, health researchers and the community with important clues about health problems and emerging issues in Australia today. To find out more about this new survey, please visit the AHS participant information page on the ABS web site for further information.
SURVEY OF DISABILITY, AGEING AND CARERS 2012
The 2012-13 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) is one of the most important social surveys conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and is being enumerated from August 2012 to early March 2013. The 2012-13 SDAC will be the seventh in the series, which were previously conducted in 1981, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2009. The SDAC is designed to collect information about people with a disability, older people (those aged 65 years and over) and people who provide assistance to older people and people with disabilities (carers). Information that is collected will assist government and community agencies to plan appropriate types and numbers of services each year, and plan for future needs. Survey data is also used by groups advocating to government on behalf of people with disabilities, carers and aged persons.
The survey will approach over 30,000 households selected at random across Australia. Selected households will receive an explanatory letter informing them of their selection in the survey together with a brochure which outlines the survey and their role in it. A fully trained ABS interviewer will then contact the occupants, explain the purpose of the survey, answer any questions they might have and make an appointment for the survey interview.
What information is collected?
In addition to collecting general information including age, birthplace, cultural background, employment, education and income, the survey will collect information about:
· People with disabilities
- how their disability affects their lives
- what support they need and receive
- who provides the support - family/friends, government, other support organisations
· Older people
- how growing older may restrict activity and community participation
- what support they need and receive
· People who provide support and assistance
- their experience as carers
- the effects of the caring role on the carer
· People who are not carers and do not have a disability
- basic demographics
How was the content of the survey determined?
The content of the survey was developed in consultation with a wide range of users of the survey data, including federal and state government agencies, non-government service providers and researchers. Topics included in the survey are those identified as being of the highest priority to address policy, planning and research questions. The range and type of information obtained from the survey are generally not available from other sources.
How will the information be collected?
For the most part, the survey is conducted using a face-to-face interview, capturing details on a notebook computer.
An adult member of the household will be asked to answer some questions to determine whether there is anyone living in the household who has a disability or who cares for a person with a disability, or an older person. This person will also be asked to provide a small amount of information about people in the household who are not in these population groups.
Information will then be collected via a personal interview for those household members who have a disability and/or are aged 65 years or over and/or care for a disabled or older person.
Although the survey is conducted over 7 months, each respondent is interviewed only once.
Persons with a disability, those aged 65 years or over and persons identified as a primary carer for a person with a disability will be asked if they are willing to participate in a planned voluntary Follow-Up Survey and if so, to complete a short, paper form collecting contact details.
Persons identified as primary carers will also be asked to complete a short paper form at the end of their face-to-face interview to collect information about their attitudes to, and experience of, their caring role.
How are people selected for inclusion in the survey?
Dwellings are selected at random across Australia (excluding very remote areas) so that within each State and Territory each household has a known chance of selection.
Each selected dwelling represents a number of others in that area, in that State, in Australia. The information collected from each selected household is used to represent a number of others which are like them in terms of their household composition, location, age, employment characteristics, lifestyle and health. The co-operation of all those selected is important to ensure all households/persons are properly represented in the survey and so are properly reflected in the survey results.
If you would like any further information about this survey, please contact the ABS office in your State.
This page first published 23 August 2006, last updated 12 February 2013