1136.0 - A Directory of Education and Training Statistics, 2009  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/03/2009   
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National Centre for Education and Training Statistics
Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra
Telephone (02) 6252 6404

Email melissa.mccloskey@abs.gov.au


The ABS's Childhood Education and Care Survey (CEaCS), was conducted throughout Australia in June 2008 as a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). CEaCS was developed from the ABS Child Care Survey, which was last conducted in June 2005.

The major aims of CEaCS were to collect data on the use of, and need for, child care and early childhood education for children aged under 13 years. Information was also collected on the use of the Child Care Benefit (CCB) and the income, educational attainment and working arrangements of parents with children aged under 13 years. In 2008, data were also collected on the informal learning activities in which children may participate with parents or other people. CEaCS examines participation in early childhood education in both preschools and child care settings. The survey also allows assessment of needs for preschool programs and provides information on communication of learning outcomes to parents. This survey provides a timely picture of early childhood education, to inform debate and decision-making in this area.

The Child Care survey has been conducted by the ABS every 3-4 years from 1969, and consequently has a rich time series available.


Information was collected in relation to children aged 0-12 years living in private dwellings. The survey excluded children visiting the dwelling and students at boarding school. Persons excluded from the LFS are:

  • members of the Australian permanent defence forces;
  • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from censuses and surveys;
  • overseas residents in Australia; and
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependents) stationed in Australia.
In households where all adults were out of scope of the LFS, no information was obtained for CEaCS. However, as long as at least one adult in the household was in scope for the LFS, information about children aged 0-12 years and some information about their parents were able to be included in CEaCS. The survey was conducted in both urban and rural areas in all states and territories, but excluded persons living in very remote parts of Australia who would otherwise have been within the scope of the survey.

Reference Period

Interviews were conducted over a two-week period between 9-21 June 2008.
Information collected about the use of child care, and attendance at preschool, in a reference week related to the week prior to interview; except in Tasmania where school holidays prohibited this and the reference period 26 May to 1 June 2008 was used.

Frequency of Collection

Three yearly

Method of collection

In each selected household, detailed information about the child care arrangements for each child was collected for a maximum of two children. Information was obtained from an adult who permanently resided in the selected household and was either the child's parent, step-parent or guardian. In selected households with more than two children aged 0-12 years, two children were randomly selected and the complete set of child care information was collected for them. Summary information was collected for any additional children, including the number attending child care; Child Care Benefit arrangements; and the cost of formal and informal care.


Release schedule

The Childhood Education and Care Survey publication and microdata file (confidentialised unit record file) were released on the ABS website on 29 July 2009.


Childhood Education and Care, Australia, June 2008 (ABS cat. no. 4402.0)
Child Care, Australia, June 2005 (ABS cat. no. 4402.0)


Data are available for Australia, state and territory, and capital city/balance of state (excluding territories). Two additional variables, linked to the 2006 Census of Population and Housing findings, are also available. The first, the Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage, is outlined in the
Information Paper: An Introduction to Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), 2006 (ABS cat. no. 2039.0). The second, the Remoteness Areas defined for the 2006 Census, are defined in Chapter 8 of Statistical Geography Volume 1 - Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), Jul 2006 (ABS cat. no. 1216.0). While the Remoteness Areas are based on distance, the SEIFA Indexes are derived from Census data about the residents of an area.

Data Service

Customised tables are available on request, including a set of state/territory tables. For users who wish to undertake more detailed analysis of the survey data, microdata is available in the form of a confidentialised unit record file (CURF). The CURF is only available via the Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL), which is a secure Internet-based data query service. Technical information describing the content and use of the CURF is available in the Technical Manual.

Microdata: Childhood Education and Care, Expanded CURF, Australia, June 2008 (ABS cat. no. 4402.0.55.001)
Childhood Education and Care, Expanded CURF, Australia, Technical Manual, June 2008 (ABS cat. no. 4402.0.55.002)


The CEaCS dataset contains some 200 variables, grouped into the following topics—

Demographic topics

Household characteristics

Family characteristics
Parents' characteristics
Children's characteristics
    Child care or education topics
    Child care and preschool arrangements
    Types of care arrangements used
    Formal education
    Formal childcare
    Childcare arrangements for specific formal care types
    Requirements for Long day care or Preschool
    Requirements for additional formal care
    Alternative care and work arrangements to help with children's needs
    Special education needs
    School adjustment
    Vacation (school holiday) care
    Informal care arrangements
    Parental involvement in informal learning activities
    Informal learning

    Economic variables, such as family income, and the costs of child care, are also available.
      Historical Data

      The survey was initially conducted in May 1969, then in May 1973, May 1977, June 1980, and November 1984; then three-yearly from 1987 onwards, mainly in June. The topic was collected in November of 1990, and March of 1996. The survey age scope changed in 2005, to children aged under 13 years. The previous surveys covered children aged under 12 years only.