1286.0 - Family, Household and Income Unit Variables, 2005  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 01/06/2005   
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Contents >> Household composition >> Introduction

1. The concept of household is fundamental in the production of social and labour statistics. The household is one of the basic units of social statistical aggregation and is used as the basis for data collection in many statistical collections. In the ABS, many social, labour and demographic surveys are household-based, including the Census of Population and Housing and the Labour Force Survey. The ABS 'Household composition' variable classifies households by the number of families or other people usually resident within them.

2. A household can be thought of, in its broadest sense, as a group of people who live together as a single unit within a dwelling. Together with the family, it is considered as one of the basic groups of social aggregation. Each of these social phenomena is closely connected to the other, and although each concept is defined in different terms, in practice, both often refer to the same set of people when applied to a particular dwelling. Information on households provides input to Australian household estimates, as well as identifying various groups within the population, such as multiple family households or the number of people living alone. 'Household composition' can also be cross classified with other variables, for example, 'Total cash income'.

3. Broadly speaking, 'Household composition' is classified according to the number and composition of families within households. Therefore, in order to determine 'Household composition' the relationship of household members to each other and the existence or absence of familial relationships must be considered. This is established through the use of the 'Relationship in household' and then the 'Family composition' variables.

4. Terminology used in this standard is defined in the Glossary section of the 'Overview of family, household and income unit standards'.

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