The survey collects information by personal interview from usual residents of private dwellings in urban and rural areas of Australia, covering about 98% of the people living in Australia. Private dwellings are houses, flats, home units, caravans, garages, tents and other structures that were used as places of residence at the time of interview. Long-stay caravan parks are also included. These are distinct from non-private dwellings which include hotels, boarding schools, boarding houses and institutions. Residents of non-private dwellings are excluded.
The survey also excludes:
- households which contain members of non-Australian defence forces stationed in Australia
- households which contain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments
- households in collection districts defined as very remote - this has only a minor impact on aggregate estimates except in the Northern Territory where such households account for about 24% of the population.
For most states and territories the exclusion of people in very remote areas has only a minor impact on any aggregate estimates that are produced because they only constitute a small proportion of the population. Very remote and remote areas are defined by the assignment of an Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) score. ARIA is a remoteness value (a continuous variable between 0 and 15) that measures the physical distance which separates people in a particular area and where their goods, services and opportunities for social interaction may be accessed. The range of ARIA scores have been categorised as follows:
- Least Remote: Defined as having an ARIA score less then 5.95.
- Remote: Defined as having an ARIA score greater than or equal to 5.95 but less than 10.5.
- Very Remote: Defined as having an ARIA score greater than or equal to 10.5.
The ARIA categories and how ARIA scores are calculated are further explained in the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC)
(cat. no. 1216.0).
Information was collected only from usual residents. Usual residents were residents who regarded the dwelling as their own or main home. Others present were considered to be visitors and were not asked to participate in the survey.