8146.0 - Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2008-09 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/12/2009   
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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.


Data on Household Use of Information Technology (HUIT) was previously collected by the ABS in the Population Survey Monitor (1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000), Survey of Education, Training and Information Technology (2001), General Social Survey (2002), National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey (2002), Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) (2003), the Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities (CPCLA) surveys (2003 and 2006) and on an annual basis in the MPHS from 2004–05 on. The HUIT survey will next be collected in 2010–11 and thereafter will be collected biennially in the Multi-Purpose Household Survey (MPHS).

The HUIT survey provides data on use and access to computers and the internet by households and people aged 15 years and over. The 2008–09 HUIT survey also provides data on use of the internet and mobile phones by children aged 5 to 14.

For a complete list of populations and data items collected in this survey, refer to the Directory of Statistical Sources entry for this survey.


The most recent HUIT survey was collected throughout Australia during the 2008–09 financial year as part of the 2008–09 MPHS and during April 2009 as part of the CPCLA survey. Both the MPHS and CPCLA surveys are collected as supplements to the ABS Labour Force Survey. Data from the surveys are released approximately six months after the completion of enumeration.


The 2008–09 MPHS survey collected information from 15,233 (after sample loss) randomly selected private dwelling households across Australia. In the survey, one randomly selected person per household was asked about their household's access to, and their own use of, computers and the Internet. Approximately 13,035 or 86% fully responded. People living in very remote parts of Australia are excluded from the scope of the MPHS, which has only a minor impact on aggregate estimates, except for the Northern Territory where these people account for around 23% of the population. Refer to the explanatory notes for more information.

This release also includes data from the April 2009 Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities (CPCLA) survey. The survey collected information about the activities of 5,825 children living in the selected households. Information was collected from any responsible adult in the household who was asked to respond on behalf of the children in the household. In each selected household information was sought for a maximum of three children. In households with four or more children aged 5–14 years, three children were randomly selected for the survey. For the additional children in these households only selected demographic information was collected. Children living in very remote parts of Australia are excluded from the scope of the CPCLA survey, which has only a minor impact on aggregate estimates, except for the Northern Territory where such children account for 28% of the total number of children in the population.

The MPHS and CPCLA were 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 for some data items. As a guide, selected estimates and Relative Standard Errors (RSEs) are presented in a Technical note.

Where estimates have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between the sums of the component items and totals.


The HUIT Survey is the only regular survey conducted by the ABS which collects statistics on household and personal use and access to computers and the internet. However, other statistical surveys and the Population Census contain selected indicators which are comparable to the HUIT Survey and these comparisons indicate that the HUIT survey outputs give a reasonable indication of real world expectations and events. For example, rates of household access to broadband internet published in this release align with the ABS' Internet Activity Survey, while rates of household access to the internet released in the 2006–07 HUIT align with statistics released in the 2006 Population Census.

While the ABS seeks to maximise consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to the survey, ongoing survey review has adjusted to the changing needs of users of Information and Communication Technology statistics. This review has mainly resulted in increasing detail of data (for example, type of broadband connections) being made available to users.


Due to the difference in the scope of previous surveys, household use of information technology (HUIT) data from the 2005-06 MPHS onwards (the scope of which is persons aged 15 years and over) are not directly comparable with data from previous years, which was limited to persons aged 18 years and over.

HUIT data for 2003 were obtained from the SDAC, where person level data only relates to those with a disability aged 15 years or over. Data are not comparable with results from MPHS which covers all persons 15 years or over. However, SDAC and MPHS data are comparable at the household level.

The 2002 HUIT data were obtained from the GSS using a face-to-face randomly selected person methodology. MPHS questions were asked using a telephone interview. The ABS has taken reasonable steps during the survey development process to ensure that this change in collection methodology does not affect the quality of the data, however, a small impact on responses for the more complex questions cannot be ruled out.

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

The Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities Survey was previously conducted in 2000, 2003 and 2006 as supplements to the Labour Force Survey. Computer assisted telephone interviewing was introduced during 2003 and while information was collected using a paper form for the majority of households in 2003, computer assisted interviewing was used for all survey interviews in the 2006 survey. This change in the methodology is not expected to impact on the comparability of the data between the surveys.

Data collected about information technology have changed between each iteration of this survey. In previous surveys questions were asked about general computer access but in 2009 the focus changed to Internet access and mobile phone use. This was the first of these surveys to ask about children's use of mobile phones.


Information about ABS activities in the field of ICT statistics is available free from the ABS website. Please visit the Innovation, Science and Technology Theme Page for further statistics relating to ICT statistics. Details of other ABS publications relating to the production and use of ICT in Australia can be found in the Related Information tab of this statistical release.

For further information about these and related statistics, including access to more detailed 2007-08 HUIT data, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Siddhartha De on Canberra (02) 6252 6519. Note that detailed data can be subject to high RSEs.