6238.0 - Retirement and Retirement Intentions, Australia, Jul 2008 to Jun 2009 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/12/2009   
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    For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


    The Retirement and Retirement Intentions survey provides data on people aged 45 years and over. This publication presents information about the retirement status and retirement intentions of people aged 45 years and over who have, at some time, worked for two weeks or more. The data collected in the Retirement and Retirement Intentions topic provides information on retirement trends, the factors which influence decisions to retire, and the income arrangements that retirees and potential retirees have made to provide for their retirement. The data are cross-classified by a range of demographic characteristics such as age, sex, marital status and country of birth, as well as labour force characteristics.

    For a complete list of populations and data items collected in this survey see Appendix 1 – B&I and R&RI 2008–09 Populations and Data Items List.


    The most recent Retirement and Retirement Intentions survey was conducted throughout Australia during the 2008–09 financial year. It was a component of the 2008–09 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS), collected as a supplement to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Labour Force Survey (LFS). Data from this survey is released approximately six months after the completion of enumeration i.e. during December, in the publication Retirement and Retirement Intentions, Australia (cat. no. 6238.0).


    The number of completed interviews (after taking into account scope and coverage exclusions) for the Retirement and Retirement Intentions survey was 6,647. The response rate was approximately 86% after taking the exclusions into account. See the Explanatory Notes (paragraph 11) for more information. The exclusion of people living in very remote parts of Australia has only a minor impact on aggregate estimates, except for the Northern Territory where these people account for around 23% of the population.


    The Retirement and Retirement Intentions survey is now collected biennially in the MPHS. It was previously conducted in its current format in 2004–05. Prior to that, it was conducted as a supplement to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Labour Force Survey (LFS) on an irregular basis since 1980, and last run like this in November 1997.

    Since the 1997 issue of RRI there have been conceptual changes which affect time series comparisons. For instance, ' retired from the labour force' is now defined as 'persons who had previously worked for two weeks or more and had retired from work or looking for work, and did not intend to look for , or take up, work at any time in the future'. In the 1997 issue, this concept was defined as 'persons who had retired from work or looking for work of more than 10 hours per week, and did not intend to work in the future'. These people are considered fully retired. Persons who had never worked more than 10 hours were also treated as fully retired'. Due to such conceptual changes, users should exercise caution when comparing estimates with previous surveys.

    The following changes were made for the 2008-09 cycle:

    • New content was included in the 2008-09 survey to explore transition to retirement plans and plans for a healthy/active retirement. Other new additions include 'main factor influencing decision about when to retire', 'housing tenure', 'self-assessed health status', 'whether had private health insurance' and 'whether had a Government health concession card'.
    • High reporting of non-personal income money sources (e.g. partner's income, savings or selling assets) to personal income questions in previous cycles of this survey led to the inclusion of 'all/main sources of funds for meeting living costs' data items in 2008-09 to improve this information. The categories for these items are 'personal income', 'partner's income', 'savings or selling assets' and 'none of the above'. The aim was to determine the main source of funds for meeting day-to-day living expenses (currently and at retirement or expected at retirement). As a result of this change, care should be taken when comparing with data from previous years.

    Detailed data on retirement is also available in Employment Arrangements, Retirement and Superannuation, Australia (cat. no. 6361.0), where concepts are comparable.


    The Retirement and Retirement Intentions publication contains detailed Explanatory Notes, Technical Notes and a Glossary that provide information on the terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with these statistics.

    Seasonally adjusted and trend estimates are not produced. The estimates are based on information collected over the financial year. However, seasonal weighting is not undertaken.

    Further commentary is often available through articles and data published in other ABS products including:
    Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0) - refer to Appendix 2 for past articles
    Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 6102.0) - refer to the Cumulative list of articles for past articles
    2008 Year Book Australia (cat. no. 1301.0) - the 'Labour' chapter includes a feature article on Forms of Employment
    Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001) - Chapter 21.3 Forms of Employment


    In addition to the PDF publication, the tables and associated RSEs will be available in spreadsheet form on the website.

    Data is available on request. Note that detailed data can be subject to high relative standard errors and, in some cases, may result in data being confidentialised.

    An expanded confidentialised unit record file (cat. no. 4100.0) will be produced for this survey and is expected to be released in May 2010.

    For further information about these or related statistics, contact the National Information and referral centre on 1300 135 070 or Labour Market Section on Canberra (02) 6252 7206 or by facsimile on (02) 6252 5066, or by email to <labour.statistics@abs.gov.au>.