4921.0 - Participation in Selected Cultural Activities, Australia, 2013-14 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/02/2015   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All



The statistics presented in this publication were compiled from data collected in the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2013–14 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS). The MPHS is conducted each financial year throughout Australia from July to June as a supplement to the ABS' monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS) and is designed to provide annual statistics for a number of small, self-contained topics.

In 2013–14 the topics were:

    • Attendance at selected cultural venues and events
    • Participation in selected cultural activities
    • Participation in sport and physical recreation
    • Work related injuries
    • Crime victimisation
    • Patient experience

For all topics, general demographic information such as age, sex, labour force characteristics, education and income are also available.

This publication covers the Cultural Participation topic (also referred to as the Participation in Selected Cultural Activities Survey) and presents details about participants in selected cultural activities including performing arts, singing or playing a musical instrument, dancing, writing, visual art activities and craft activities. This publication also presents information about the characteristics of participants, the number of selected cultural activities in which people participated, characteristics of selected cultural activities and payments that participants received. Information about reasons for participation and barriers to participation are also included. Data for this topic has previously been collected on the MPHS in 2010–11.

5 Data for other 2013–14 topics will be released in separate publications. For all MPHS topics, information on labour force characteristics, education, income and other demographics are also available. Survey microdata from selected 2013-14 topics will be released through the TableBuilder product. For more details, refer to the TableBuilder information, Microdata: Participation in Selected Cultural Activities, Australia (cat. no. 4921.0.55.001).


The scope of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) is restricted to people aged 15 years and over and excludes the following:
    • members of the permanent defence forces
    • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments usually excluded from census and estimated resident populations
    • overseas residents in Australia
    • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants).

In addition, the 2013–14 MPHS excluded the following from scope:
    • Households in Indigenous communities
    • people living in non-private dwellings (e.g. hotels, university residences, students at boarding schools, patients in hospitals, inmates of prisons and residents of other institutions (e.g. retirement homes, homes for persons with disabilities).


In the LFS, coverage rules are applied which aim to ensure that each person is associated with only one dwelling and hence has only one chance of selection in the survey. See Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) for more details.


The 2013–14 MPHS was conducted as a supplement to the monthly LFS. Each month one eighth of the dwellings in the LFS sample were rotated out of the survey. All of these dwellings were then selected for the MPHS each month. In these dwellings, after the LFS had been fully completed for each person in scope and coverage, a person aged 15 years or over was selected at random (based on a computer algorithm) and asked the MPHS questions in a personal interview. If the randomly selected person was aged 15 to 17 years, permission was sought from a parent or guardian before conducting the interview. If permission was not given, the parent or guardian was asked the questions on behalf of the 15 to 17 year old. Data were collected using Computer Assisted Interviewing (CAI), whereby responses were recorded directly onto an electronic questionnaire in a notebook computer, usually during a telephone interview.

For the 2013–14 MPHS, the sample was accumulated over a twelve month period from July 2013 to June 2014.

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 applies to supplementary surveys. It also contains definitions of demographic and labour force characteristics, and information about telephone interviewing relevant to both the monthly LFS and supplementary surveys.


The initial sample for the Participation in Selected Cultural Activities topic was around 42,100 private dwellings, from which one person was randomly selected. Of the 35,900 private dwellings that remained in the survey after sample loss (e.g. vacant or derelict dwellings, dwellings under construction and dwellings selected in the survey that had no residents in scope for the LFS), 27,327 or 76.1% fully responded to the questions on cultural participation.



Weighting is the process of adjusting results from a sample survey to infer results for the total in-scope population. To do this, a 'weight' is allocated to each covered sample unit which for the MPHS can be either a person or a household. The weight is a value which indicates how many population units are represented by the sample unit.

14 The first step in calculating weights for each unit is to assign an initial weight, which is the inverse of the probability of being selected in the survey. For example, if the probability of a person being selected in the survey was 1 in 600, then the person would have an initial weight of 600 (i.e. they represent 600 people).


The initial weights were then calibrated to align with independent estimates of the population of interest, referred to as 'benchmarks', in designated categories of sex by age by area of usual residence. Weights calibrated against population benchmarks ensure that the survey estimates conform to the independently estimated distribution of the population rather than the distribution within the sample itself. Calibration to population benchmarks helps to compensate for over or under-enumeration of particular categories of persons/households which may occur due to either the random nature of sampling or non-response.

For person estimates, the MPHS was benchmarked to the projected population in each state and territory, at March 2014. The MPHS estimates do not (and are not intended to) match estimates for the total Australian population obtained from other sources.


Survey estimates of counts of persons or households are obtained by summing the weights of persons or households with the characteristic of interest. Estimates of non-person counts (e.g. days spent attending an event) are obtained by multiplying the characteristic of interest with the weight of the reporting person/household and aggregating.

18 To minimise the risk of identifying individuals in aggregate statistics, a technique is used to randomly adjust cell values. This technique is called perturbation. Perturbation involves small random adjustment of the statistics and is considered the most satisfactory technique for avoiding the release of identifiable statistics while maximising the range of information that can be released. These adjustments have a negligible impact on the underlying pattern of the statistics. After perturbation, a given published cell value will be consistent across all tables. However, adding up cell values to derive a total will not necessarily give the same result as published totals. The introduction of perturbation in publications ensures that these statistics are consistent with statistics released via services such as Table Builder.


All sample surveys are subject to error which can be broadly categorised as either:
    • sampling error
    • non-sampling error.

Sampling error

Sampling error is the difference between the published estimates, derived from a sample of persons, and the value that would have been produced if the total population (as defined for the scope of the survey) had been included in the survey. For more information refer to the Technical Note.

Non–sampling error

Non–sampling error may occur in any collection, whether it is based on a sample or a full count such as a census. Sources of non–sampling error include non–response, errors in reporting by respondents or recording of answers by interviewers and errors in coding and processing data. Every effort is made to reduce non–sampling error by careful design and testing of questionnaires, training and supervision of interviewers, and extensive editing and quality control procedures at all stages of data processing.


This survey asked respondents whether they had participated in selected types of cultural activities, including performing arts, singing or playing a musical instrument, dancing, writing, visual art activities and craft activities, in the 12 months before interview.

Respondents who reported participating in more than one cultural activity in the 12 months before interview were asked to nominate the activity they participated in the most. These respondents were then asked further questions about that activity, such as whether payment was received, the type of payment received and reasons for participation.

The types of cultural activities included in the survey are listed in the Glossary.

Some of these activities can be grouped into broad categories. These are:
  • performing arts – comprising 'performing in a drama, comedy, opera or musical, including rehearsals' and 'performing in a cabaret or variety act, including rehearsals'
  • writing – comprising 'writing song lyrics, or mixing or composing music, including digital composition' and 'writing any fiction or non–fiction, such as stories, poetry or scripts'
  • visual art activities – comprising 'sculpting, painting, drawing or cartooning, including digital pieces', 'printmaking, screen printing or etching' and 'photography, film–making or editing, apart from recording personal events'
  • craft activities – comprising 'textile crafts, jewellery making, paper crafts or wood crafts' and 'glass crafts, pottery, ceramics or mosaics'.

Participation by a person in a particular activity was recorded only once, even if there were different periods for which that activity was undertaken during the 12 months before interview. For example, a person who participated in different drama performances was recorded only once as performing in the category 'drama, comedy, opera or musical, including rehearsals'.

Payment status has been classified into two categories: some paid involvement and unpaid involvement only. Where people participated in more than one of the selected activities, the payment status for all cultural activities was determined by considering all of those activities combined. For example, the payment status of a person paid for his/her participation in singing or playing a musical instrument and unpaid for his/her participation in dancing would be classified as having some paid involvement in cultural activities.

Information collected in this survey is essentially 'as reported' by respondents and hence may differ from that which might be obtained from other sources or via other methodologies. This factor should be considered when interpreting the estimates in this publication and when making comparisons with other data sources.


29 The ABS has previously collected data on cultural participation in various surveys. The Work in Selected Culture and Leisure Activities Survey was conducted as part of the Monthly Population Survey in 1993, 1997, 2001, 2004 and 2007, and as part of the Population Survey Monitor in 1998–99, and the Participation in Selected Cultural Activities survey was conducted as part of the 2010–11 MPHS. For the 2010–11 survey, respondents who reported participating in more than three cultural activities in the 12 months before interview were asked to nominate the three activities they participated in the most. These respondents were then asked questions about each of these three activities, such as whether payment was received, the type of payment received and reasons for participation. For the 2013–14 survey, respondents were only asked additional questions for the cultural activity they participated in the most.

Comparability with Survey of Work in Selected Culture and Leisure Activities

30 Previously, the Work in Selected Culture and Leisure Activities Survey (conducted as part of the Monthly Population Survey in 1993, 1997, 2001, 2004 and 2007, and as part of the Population Survey Monitor in 1998–99) collected information about the number and basic demographic characteristics of people involved in paid or unpaid work in selected culture and leisure activities over a 12 month period. Differences in survey methodology and enumeration periods, as well as changes to many of the questions being asked, mean the 2010–11 and 2013-14 Participation in Selected Cultural Activities data are not comparable with data from these earlier ABS surveys.

Comparability with monthly LFS Statistics

31 Due to differences in the scope and sample size of the MPHS and that of the LFS, the estimation procedure may lead to some small variations between labour force estimates from this survey and those obtained from the LFS.

Other methodological issues

32 In the interpretation of the results of the 2013-14 MPHS, consideration should be given to the representativeness of the sample. This is affected by the response rate and also the fact that the survey covers only people living in private dwellings. It does not include residents of retirement or aged care homes, university residences or students at boarding schools who may participate in selected cultural activities at different levels than others in the community.


The ABS will conduct the MPHS again during the 2014-15 financial year. The 2014-15 MPHS topics are:
    • Education and Household income (core)
    • Household use of IT
    • Barriers and incentives to labour force participation
    • Retirement and retirement intentions
    • Patient Experience
    • Crime Victimisation
    • Qualifications and work outcomes


ABS surveys draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated. Without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


35 Refer to the Related Information tab for other ABS publications which may be of interest.

Current publications and other products released by the ABS are available from the ABS website. The ABS also issues a daily upcoming release advice on the website that details products to be released in the week ahead.