6224.0.55.002 - Improvements to Family Estimates from the Labour Force Survey, 2008  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/09/2008  First Issue
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  • Glossary


Balance of State

The aggregation of all Statistical Divisions within a State or Territory other than its Capital City Statistical Division. (Further details are included in Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) (cat. no. 1216.0)).


An independent estimate to which survey responses are calibrated. For example, survey responses from the LFS are calibrated to independent estimates of the population aged 15 years and over, classified by geographic area, age and sex.

Computer Assisted Interviewing

A method of data collection whereby responses are recorded directly into an electronic questionnaire on a notebook computer.


An interactive data file which can be cross-classified by a pre-determined set of variables. There are five LFS families datacubes, published under cat. no. 6224.0.55.001 on the ABS website in SuperTable format.


All family members under 15 years of age; family members aged 15-19 attending school or aged 15-24 attending a tertiary educational institution full time (except those classified as husbands, wives or lone parents).

Estimated Resident Population

The official measure of the population of Australia based on the concept of residence. It refers to all people, regardless of nationality or citizenship, who usually live in Australia, with the exception of foreign diplomatic personnel and their families. It includes usual residents who are overseas for less than 12 months. It excludes overseas visitors who are in Australia for less than 12 months.


Two or more persons, one of whom is at least 15 years of age, who are related by blood, marriage (registered or de facto), adoption, step or fostering; and who are usually resident in the same household. The basis of a family is formed by identifying the presence of a couple relationship, lone parent-child relationship or other blood relationship. Some households will, therefore, contain more than one family.

Family head

Any person without a spouse present:

  • with a son or daughter aged under 15 present; or
  • without a son or daughter aged under 15 present, but with a son or daughter aged 15 or over present (provided that the son or daughter has no spouse, son or daughter of his/her own present).

Where a family has no person falling into either of these categories, the family head is generally defined to be the eldest person in the family.

No family head is determined for a couple family.

Family type

In the LFS families datacubes, the categories for family type are:

1 Couple family

1.1 Couple family with dependants

1.1.1 Couple family with children under 15

1.1.2 Couple family without children under 15, but with dependent students

1.2 Couple family without dependants

1.2.1 Couple family without dependants, but with children 15 years or older

1.2.2 Couple family without children

2 Lone parent family

2.1 Lone parent family with dependants

2.1.1 Lone parent family with children under 15

2.1.2 Lone parent family without children under 15, but with dependent students

2.2 Lone parent family without dependants

3 Other families

Harmonic mean

A method of calculating an average by dividing the number of observations by the sum of the reciprocals of each observed value. Under the current families estimation method, the harmonic mean is used to calculate the family weights from the person weights. For example, if a family consists of three people, and their person weights are 100, 200 and 300, the harmonic mean will be:

3 (the number of people in the family) divided by [1/100 + 1/200 + 1/300] = 164


A group of one or more persons in a private dwelling who consider themselves to be separate from other persons (if any) in the dwelling, and who make regular provision to take meals separately from other persons, i.e. at different times or in different rooms. Lodgers who receive accommodation but not meals are treated as separate households.

Boarders who receive both accommodation and meals are not treated as separate households. A household may consist of any number of families and non-family members.

Non Private dwelling

An establishment which provides a communal type of accommodation, such as a hotel, motel, hospital or other institution.

Private dwelling

A residential structure which is self-contained, owned or rented by the occupants, and intended solely for residential use. A private dwelling may be a flat, part of a house, or even a room, but can also be a house attached to, or rooms above shops or offices.

Relationship in household

The relationship of all persons usually resident in a household to the household reference person. Where the relationship to the household reference person is other than a couple relationship or a parent-child relationship, a closer relationship to another household member is recorded, if one exists.

Sampling error

Sampling error occurs because a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed. One measure of the likely difference resulting from not including all dwellings in the survey is given by the standard error. There are about two chances in three that a sample estimate will differ by less than one standard error from the figure that would have been obtained if all dwellings had been included in the survey, and about nineteen chances in twenty that the difference will be less than two standard errors.

Selection rules

Rules applied in household surveys to ensure that each person is associated with only one dwelling, and hence has only one chance of selection.

Unit record data

Data at the finest level of detail. For LFS, the finest level of detail is the person level. For confidentiality reasons, data are aggregated for output purposes.

Usual resident

A person who usually lives in that particular dwelling and regards it as their own or main home.


Factors applied to sample responses to expand them to produce population estimates.