4602.0 - Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices, Mar 2002  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/12/2002   
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  • Explanatory Notes


1 This publication presents results from a supplementary survey run in association with the March 2002 Monthly Population Survey.


Monthly Population Survey

2 The Monthly Population Survey is based on a multi-stage area sample of private dwellings (approximately 37,000 houses, flats, etc.) and a list sample of non-private dwellings (hotels, motels, etc.). The proportion of Australian dwellings selected this way is approximately 0.5%. For this survey, half the private dwelling sample (i.e. 18,500 dwellings) was used. Information was obtained by interviews with responsible adult members of selected households, who answered questions on behalf of the person whose next birthday was closest to the date of the interview. The information obtained related to the week before the interview (i.e. the reference week).


3 The survey covers rural and urban areas across all states and territories of Australia, however the Northern Territory data refers to mainly urban areas. Also excluded were some 175,000 persons living in remote and sparsely settled parts of Australia. The exclusion of these persons will have only a minor impact on any aggregate estimates that are produced for individual states and territories, with the exception of the Northern Territory where such persons account for over 20% of the population.

4 Persons aged 18 years and over who were usual residents of private dwellings were included in the surveys except:

  • members of the Australian permanent defence forces;
  • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from censuses and surveys;
  • overseas residents in Australia;
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependents) stationed in Australia; and
  • residents of other non-private dwellings such as hospitals, motels and gaols.


5 Coverage rules were applied which aimed to ensure that each person was associated with only one dwelling, and hence had only one chance of selection in each survey.


6 A set of changing topics rotate over a period of three years. The topics contained in this publication compare with data collected in March 1999 and June 1994. Where applicable, the data have been included in this publication for comparison purposes.

7 An important point to note is that the environment topics were surveyed using a 'personal interview' methodology before 1997. From 1997 onwards the 'any responsible adult' methodology was applied. When comparing post-1997 and pre-1997 data readers should be aware that some differences in the data may be explained by the change in methodology rather than real changes over time.


8 The two types of error are possible in an estimate based on a sample survey:
  • Non-sampling error which arises from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing the data. The most significant of these errors are:
    • misreporting of data items
    • deficiencies in coverage
    • non-response
    • processing errors

Every effort is made to minimise these errors by the careful design of questionnaires, intensive training and supervision of interviewers and efficient data processing procedures.
  • Sampling error which occurs because a sample, rather than the entire population is surveyed. One measure of the likely difference resulting from not including all persons in the survey is given by the standard error (please consult the Technical Notes).


9 Users may also wish to refer to the following publication:
    Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices (cat. no. 4602.0) - 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999 , 2000 and 2001 issues.
    Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emission Accounts (cat. no. 4604.0)-2001 issue

10 Further key references on energy efficiency and conservation may be made through the following websites:

11 Current publications produced and other products released by the ABS are listed in the Catalogue of Publications and Products (cat. no. 1101.0). The Catalogue is available from any ABS office or this site. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.