1. The standard variable 'Social marital status' identifies the living arrangements of couples in the Australian population. The related variable 'Registered Marital Status' is used to establish the legal status of marriage arrangements in Australia. As the two concepts aim to measure different personal characteristics, they serve different purposes, and can be treated as independent variables with separate classifications. It is possible to use the two variables independently, or together, depending on the purposes of the analysis.
2. This standard variable should be used for all collections which aim to identify the living arrangements of couples. Although there is still a need to maintain 'Registered marital status' as a separate concept, a focus on partnerships better reflects the way people live, thereby providing more relevant information on a wider range of issues. Information on living arrangements, which is needed for deriving 'Social marital status', is also an essential input for family coding. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) therefore recommends that the 'Social marital status' concept be always collected when information on living arrangements is sought, whereas the 'Registered marital status' need only be collected where it is specifically required for the purposes of the collection.
3. Terminology used in this standard is defined in the Glossary section of the 'Overview of family, household and income unit standards'.