6238.0 - Retirement and Retirement Intentions, Australia, July 2010 to June 2011 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/12/2011   
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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 provide 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 – B&I and R&RI 2010-11 Populations and Data Items List.


The most recent Retirement and Retirement Intentions survey was conducted throughout Australia during the 2010-11 financial year. It was a component of the 2010-11 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS), collected as a supplement to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Labour Force Survey (LFS). Data from the 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 6,929. The response rate was approximately 80% 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.

Estimates from the survey are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors.

The MPHS was designed primarily to provide estimates at the Australia level. Broad estimates are available for states and territories, though users should exercise caution when using estimates at this level because of the presence of high sampling errors. RSEs for all estimates in the publication are available on the ABS website. As a guide, selected estimates and RSEs are presented in the Technical note.


The Retirement and Retirement Intentions survey is now collected biennially in the MPHS. It was previously conducted in its current format in 2008-09. 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.

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). These categories have once again been included for the 2010-11 MPHS.

No new content was included in the 2010–11 survey, as it only contained core content. As a result, questions on self assessed health, whether had private health insurance, housing tenure and intentions for a healthy/active retirement that were included in the 2008–09 survey, have been excluded.

'Transition to retirement plans' were collected from employed persons aged 45 years and over, through a sequence of questions about changes they might make to their working arrangements before retiring. Examples include whether they would work part time, change their employer or change other aspects of their employment such as working more from home or reducing their responsibilities. For those who reported transition plans, the age at which these were to be implemented was also collected (as an exact age or age range). Range responses were included in 'average age intends to implement transition plans' by substituting the low-point of the range into the calculation.

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).

Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0) - refer to the Cumulative list of articles for past articles.

Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001).

Year Book, Australia (cat. no. 1301.0) - refer to the 'Labour' chapter.


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.

A microdata data file will be available to be tabulated via Survey TableBuilder in early 2012 from the 2010-11 MPHS. This will replace the Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF) that was accessible through RADL for the 2008-09 MPHS. Further information is available via the ABS Website (see Services, Microdata - CURFs and TableBuilder, About Survey TableBuilder).

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