4233.0 - Health Literacy, Australia, 2006  
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Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED)

The ASCED is a national standard classification which includes all sectors of the Australian education system, that is, schools, vocational education and training, and higher education. From 2001, ASCED replaced a number of classifications used in administrative and statistical systems, including the Australian Bureau of Statistics Classification of Qualifications (ABSCQ). The ASCED comprises two classifications: Level of Education and Field of Education. See Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001 (cat. no. 1272.0).

Certificate not further defined

Survey responses were coded to Certificate not further defined (n.f.d.) when there was not enough information to code them to Certificate I, II, III or IV in the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001 (cat. no. 1272.0), Level of Education classification.

Document literacy

The knowledge and skills required to locate and use information contained in various formats including job applications, payroll forms, transportation schedules, maps, tables and charts.

Educational institution or organisation

An institution or organisation providing education or training such as universities, TAFEs, schools, organisations which provide adult and community education, business colleges and professional or industry associations.


Persons who, during the reference week:

  • worked for one hour or more for pay, profit, commission or payment-in-kind in a job or business, or on a farm (comprising employees, employers and own-account workers); or
  • worked for one hour or more without pay in a family business or on a farm (i.e. contributing family workers); or
  • were employees who had a job but were not at work; or
  • were employers or own account workers who had a job, business or farm, but were not at work.

Employed full time

Employed persons who usually worked 35 hours or more a week (in all jobs) and those who, although usually working less than 35 hours a week, worked 35 hours or more during the reference week.

Employed part time

Employed persons who usually worked less than 35 hours a week (in all jobs) and either did so during the reference week, or were not at work in the reference week.

Equivalised gross household income

Equivalising adjusts actual income to take account of the different needs of households of different size and composition. There are economic advantages associated with living with others, because household resources, especially housing, can be shared. The equivalence scale used to obtain equivalised incomes is that used in studies by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and is referred to as the 'modified OECD scale'. The scale gives a weight of 1.0 to the first adult in the household, a weight of 0.5 for each additional adult (persons aged 15 years and over), and a weight of 0.3 for each child. For each household, the weights for household members are added together to form the household weight. Total household income is then divided by the household weight to give an income that a lone person household would need for a similar standard of living. Equivalised household income can be viewed as an indicator of the economic resources available to each member of the household.

Field of education

Field of education is defined as the subject matter of an educational activity. Fields of education are related to each other through the similarity of subject matter, through the broad purpose for which the education is undertaken, and through the theoretical content which underpins the subject matter. The field of education is classified according to the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED) (cat. no. 1272.0).

First language spoken

First language spoken is defined as the first language an individual masters during the language acquisition phase of intellectual development. This would generally be the language spoken in the home by the people who have raised the individual from infancy.

First wave countries

The Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALL) is an international literacy survey that was completed by participating countries in successive waves. In 2003, the first wave of countries that participated in the ALL survey were Bermuda, Canada, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Switzerland and the United States. Second wave countries to take part in the ALL survey were Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Hungary and South Korea.

Group or organisation

A group or organisation is any body with a formal structure. It may be as large as a national charity or as small as a local book club. Purely ad hoc, informal and temporary gatherings of people do not constitute an organisation.

Health literacy

The knowledge and skills required to understand and use information relating to health issues such as drugs and alcohol, disease prevention and treatment, safety and accident prevention, first aid, emergencies, and staying healthy.

Informal learning

Learning that results from daily work-related, family or leisure activities (OECD, 2006). Various informal learning activities are collected in the ALLS and these activities can be analysed separately or be grouped into active and passive modes of informal learning.

Passive modes of informal learning include:
  • going on guided tours such as museums, art galleries, or other locations;
  • learning by being sent around an organisation to learn different aspects of that organisation;
  • visiting trade fairs, professional conferences or congresses; and
  • attending short lectures, seminars, workshops or special talks that were not part of a course.

Active modes of informal learning include:
  • learning by watching, getting help or advice from others but not from course instructors;
  • learning by yourself by trying things out, doing things for practice, trying different approaches to doing things;
  • using video, television, tapes to learn but not as part of a course;
  • using computers or the Internet to learn but not as part of a course; and
  • reading manuals, reference books, journals or other written materials but not as part of a course.


An individual business entity is assigned to an industry based on its predominant activity. Industry is classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (cat. no. 1292.0).

Labour force status

Refers to the situation of respondents in relation to the labour force at the time of the survey. Categories are:
  • employed: had a job or business, or undertook work without pay in a family business in the week prior to the survey, including being absent from a job or business they had.
  • full-time: persons who usually work 35 hours or more per week; or
  • part-time: persons who usually work at least one hour, but less than 35 hours, per week.
  • unemployed: not employed and actively looked for work in the four weeks prior to the survey and available to start work in the week prior to the survey.
  • not in labour force: persons who were neither employed nor unemployed. They include people who are:
      • keeping house (unpaid);
      • retired, voluntarily inactive, or permanently unable to work; or
      • unpaid voluntary workers for charitable organisations.

Level (and Field) not determined

Level (and Field) not determined includes inadequately described responses and cases where no response was given.

Level of highest educational attainment

Level of highest educational attainment identifies the highest achievement a person has attained in any area of study. It is not a measurement of the relative importance of different fields of study but a ranking of qualifications and other educational attainments regardless of the particular area of study or the type of institution in which the study was undertaken. Please refer to the survey of Education and Work, Australia, May 2007 (cat. no. 6227.0) for more information.

Main English speaking countries

Main English speaking countries are the following: United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, the United States of America and South Africa.

Mean equivalised gross household income

The sum of the equivalised household income of each person in a group divided by the number of persons in the group. For example, the mean equivalised household income of persons aged 15 to 74 years is the sum of the equivalised household incomes of all persons aged 15 to 74 years and over in the population, divided by the number of persons aged 15 to 74 years in the population.

Non-qualification course

A course that does not result in formal certification but is structured in content and delivery.

Non-school qualification

Non-school qualifications are awarded for educational attainments other than those of pre-primary, primary or secondary education. They include qualifications at the Post Graduate Degree level, Master Degree level, Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate level, Bachelor Degree level, Advanced Diploma and Diploma level, and Certificates I, II, III and IV levels. Non-school qualifications may be attained concurrently with school qualifications.

Not in the labour force

Persons who were not in the categories employed or unemployed, as defined.


The knowledge and skills required to effectively manage and respond to the mathematical demands of diverse situations.


A collection of jobs sufficiently similar in their main tasks (in terms of skill level and specialisation) to be grouped together for classification purposes. Occupation has been dual classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) and the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO).

Problem solving

Problem solving is goal-directed thinking and action in situations for which no routine solution procedure is available. The understanding of the problem situation and its step-by-step transformation, based on planning and reasoning, constitute the process of problem solving.

Proficiency in spoken English

The self-assessed level of ability to speak English in every day situations, asked of people whose first language spoken was a language other than English or who speak a language other than English at home.

Prose literacy

The knowledge and skills needed to understand and use various kinds of information from text including editorials, news stories, brochures and instruction manuals.


A course that results in formal certification, issued by a relevant approved body, in recognition that a person has achieved learning outcomes or competencies relevant to identified individual, professional, industry or community needs. Statements of attainment awarded for partial completion of a course of study at a particular level are excluded.


When persons (or any other units) are ranked from the lowest to the highest on the basis of some characteristic such as their household income, they can then be divided into equal sized groups. When the population is divided into five equally sized groups, the groups are called quintiles.


The ABS has defined Remoteness within the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC). The ASGC Remoteness Structure is defined only in census years, commencing with the census year 2001, and includes all Collection Districts (CDs) across Australia. The purpose of the Remoteness Structure is to classify CDs which share common characteristics of remoteness into broad geographical regions called Remoteness Areas (RAs). The structure defines six RAs: Major Cities of Australia; Inner Regional Australia; Outer Regional Australia; Remote Australia; Very Remote Australia; and Migratory.

The delimitation criteria for RAs are based on the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA), which measures the remoteness of a point based on the physical road distance to the nearest Urban Centre (ASGC 2001) in each of five size classes. For this survey, the ASGC 2001 CDs were used. The RAs were derived by calculating the average ARIA index value for each CD and applying the ASGC 2001 RA criteria. The Remoteness Structure is described in detail in the publication Statistical Geography Volume 1 Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) 2001 (cat. no. 1216.0).

Self-assessed health status

The selected person's general assessment of their own health, against a five point scale from excellent through to poor.

Self-perception of skills

The selected person's self-perception of their own literacy skills against a four point scale from excellent through to poor (for example a respondent would be asked to self-rate their reading and writing skills).

Short Form-12 (SF-12) Health Survey

The SF-12 is a standard international instrument which is widely used to monitor health of both general and specific populations. The measure consists of 12 questions which assess health status across eight dimensions. Two questions were asked for each of the following dimensions:
  • physical functioning
  • role limitations due to physical health problems
  • role limitations due to emotional problems
  • mental health

One question was asked for each of the following dimensions:
  • bodily pain
  • general health
  • vitality
  • social functioning

State or territory

Classified according to the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) (cat. no. 1216.0).

Studying full-time

Enrolment in study full-time as reported by the respondent.

Studying part-time

Enrolment in study part-time as reported by the respondent.


Persons aged 15-74 who were not employed (as defined), had actively looked for full-time or part-time work at any time in the four weeks up to the end of the reference week, and were available for work in the reference week if they had found a job.

Unpaid volunteer

A person who provides unpaid help willingly undertaken in the form of time, service or skills, to an organisation or group.

Worked in the last 12 months

Had at least one employer or own business in the last 12 months.

Years of formal education

Refers to a person’s number of completed years in formal studies at the primary, secondary or further education level. Part time study is converted to its full-time equivalent.