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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Labour Market Statistics Section
Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra
Telephone (08) 8237 7455


The Multi Purpose Household Survey (MPHS) was introduced in 2004–05. This survey is designed to provide statistics annually for a small number of labour, social and economic topics. The information requirements of MPHS topics are determined on the basis of submissions from users on their needs for, and uses of, household survey data. They also reflect ABS deliberations on what is required of a national statistics program in the various subject fields, based on user contact and consultation. The MPHS regularly collects socio-demographic information such as educational qualifications, labour force status and personal and household income.

The 2006–07 MPHS was conducted throughout Australia from July 2006 to June 2007. Topics included in the 2006–07 MPHS survey were:

  • Barriers and incentives to labour force participation (also in 2004-05)
  • Retirement and retirement intentions (also in 2004-05)
  • Family characteristics
  • Family transitions and history
  • Adult learning
  • Household use of information technology (also in 2004-05, 2005-06).

The Barriers and incentives to labour force participation topic collected information on characteristics of last job and last full-time job held, whether ever worked, whether more hours of work, or a job in general, were sought and reasons why not, as well as partner's labour force status. The Retirement and retirement intentions topic collected information on retirement status, details of retirement intentions as well as superannuation.

The Family characteristics topic collected information about the composition of households and families within Australia, and the characteristics and circumstances of people within them. The Family transitions and history topic collected information on couple relationship history, relationship expectations, children ever born, reasons for leaving home and fertility expectations.

The Adult learning topic collected information on learning activities undertaken in the previous 12 months including current study, work-related training, institutional attendance, reasons for undertaking and not undertaking education or training, and types of informal learning undertaken in the previous 12 months.

The Household use of information technology topic collected information on: household access to computers and the Internet; access to the Internet at home and at other locations; the main purposes and frequency of access to the Internet (with details on the technology used to access the Internet).


The MPHS is linked to the ABS Monthly Population Survey (MPS) as a supplementary survey. The MPS includes all persons aged 15 years and over except members of the permanent defence forces, certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments customarily excluded from census and estimated population counts, overseas residents in Australia, and members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants) stationed in Australia.

In addition, the 2006–07 MPHS was conducted in both urban and rural areas in all states and territories, but excluded people living in very remote parts of Australia. It also excluded the following:
  • People living in non-private dwellings such as hotels, university residences, students at boarding schools, patients in hospitals, residents of homes such as retirement homes and homes for people with disabilities, and inmates of prisons
  • Visitors to private dwellings.

Depending on the topic, there may be further exclusions from scope. For example, some MPHS topics collect information only from a certain population or interest group (e.g. information on retirement is collected from people aged 45 years or over).

Reference Period

Financial year

Frequency of Collection

Annual, however the frequency of topics vary.

Method of collection

The MPHS is conducted in conjunction with the monthly Labour Force Survey. One third of the dwellings in the LFS out-going rotation group (one eighth of the sample is rotated out each month) are selected for enumeration in the MPHS. From each dwelling selected for the MPHS, one person is randomly selected for personal interview, using computer assisted telephone interviewing. Data for MPHS topics are collected each month over a financial year. This should reduce the impact of any seasonal effects on the data.


Release schedule

Publications related to each of the selected topics will usually be available within six months of completion of data collection.


Some recent releases of MPHS data include:

Multi-Purpose Household Survey, Expanded Confidentialised Unit Record File, Technical Manual, 2007-08 (ABS cat.no. 4100.0)
Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events, Australia, 2005–06 (ABS cat. no. 4114.0)
Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2007–08 (ABS cat. no. 8146.0)
Participation in Sports and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2005–06 (ABS cat. no. 4177.0)
Sports Attendance, Australia, 2005–06 (ABS cat. no. 4174.0)
Work-Related Injuries, Australia, 2005–06 (ABS cat. no. 6324.0)
Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation, Australia, 2006-07 (ABS cat. no. 6239.0)
Retirement and Retirement Intentions, Australia, 2006-07 (ABS cat. no. 6238.0)
Family Characteristics and Transitions, Australia, 2006-07 (ABS cat. no. 4442.0)
Adult Learning, Australia, 2006-07 (ABS cat. no. 4229.0)

The publication Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) contains information about survey design, sample redesign, scope, coverage and population benchmarks relevant to the monthly LFS, which also apply to the MPHS. It also contains definitions of demographic and labour force characteristics, and information about telephone interviewing which are relevant to both the monthly LFS and the MPHS.


Data are available for Australia, state and territory, capital city and balance of state (excluding territories).

Data Service

Microdata: Multi-Purpose Household Survey, Expanded CURF, 2007-08 (ABS cat. no. 4100.0.55.001)

Customised tables are available on request, including a set of state/territory tables. This is a charged service.


State or territory of usual residence
Area of usual residence

Region of usual residence
Marital status
Relationship in household

Whether household has children aged under 15
Country of birth and period of arrival

Age group

Whether currently studying (including whether full-time or part-time)

Whether completed primary school
Highest year of school completed
Level of highest educational attainment
Main field of highest educational attainment
Level of highest non-school qualification
Main field of highest non-school qualification
Whether attending an educational institution

Historical Data

The Multi Purpose Household Survey (MPHS) was introduced in 2004–05. Some topics were covered previously in other surveys; these include 'Retirement and Retirement Intentions', 'Work-related Injuries', 'Sports Attendance', 'Participation in Sports and Physical Recreation', 'Household Use of Information Technology' and 'Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events'. See the relevant publication for further information on respective differences between MPHS and other historical data.