6224.0.55.001 - Labour Force, Australia: Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics of Families, Jun 2011 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/09/2011   
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Institutional Environment


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.


This collection presents information about the labour force status and other characteristics of families. The information is based on data collected in the national monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS).


The Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics of Families is based on data collected from the June Labour Force Survey each year. The results obtained from this data are released approximately 4–5 months after the collection period.


The Labour Force Survey is based on a sample of private dwellings (approximately 29,000 houses, flats etc) and non-private dwellings, such as hotels and motels. The sample covers about 0.33% of the Australian civilian population aged 15 years or over. The Labour Force Survey is designed primarily to provide estimates of key labour force statistics for the whole of Australia and, secondarily, for each state and territory.

Annual family estimates are produced from the data collected in the June Labour Force Survey, but does not include people interviewed in non-private dwellings and those who were visitors to private dwellings. This covered 81% of the survey sample.

Two types of error are possible in an estimate based on a sample survey: non-sampling error and sampling error.

Non-sampling error arises from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing the data. Every effort is made to minimise reporting error by the careful design of questionnaires, intensive training and supervision of interviewers, and efficient data processing procedures. Non-sampling error also arises because information cannot be obtained from all persons selected in the survey. The Labour Force Survey receives a high level of cooperation, with an average response rate for the last year being 97%.

Sampling error occurs because a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed. One measure of the likely difference resulting from not including all dwellings in the survey is given by the standard error. There are about two chances in three (66%) that a sample estimate will differ by less than one standard error from the figure that would have been obtained if all dwellings had been included in the survey, and about nineteen chances in twenty (95%) that the difference will be less than two standard errors.

Standard errors are discussed further in Technical Note - Standard Errors. The standard error of annual family estimates may be calculated by using the spreadsheet contained in Labour Force Survey Standard Errors, Data Cube (cat. no. 6298.0.55.001).


The ABS has been producing the Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics of Families since November 1974. While seeking to provide a high degree of consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to the survey, sound survey practice requires careful and continuing maintenance and development to maintain the integrity of the data and the efficiency of the collection.

From October 2008, the method of producing family estimates from the Labour Force Survey was improved to include the following:
  • an expanded scope to include households containing permanent members of the Australian defence forces that are usually excluded from labour force estimates;
  • an increased range of families in the LFS sample contributing to the family estimates; and
  • improvements to the weighting method by utilising independent population benchmarks (of persons and households), ensuring the estimates more closely reflect the Australian population.
Estimates back to August 2004 have been revised using the new method of estimation. For more information, see the Information Paper: Improvements to Family Estimates from the Labour Force Survey (cat. no. 6224.0.55.002).

In July 2010, monthly Labour Force Survey estimates were compiled using population benchmarks that incorporated revisions made to Net Overseas Migration estimates in the September 2008 and September 2009 issues of Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no 3101.0). Historical families estimates re-published in this publication have not yet been revised to incorporate this revision. These updates will be applied in the usual five-yearly revision of LFS data after the establishment of population benchmarks based on the 2011 Census of Population and Housing, adjusted for under-enumeration and updated for births, deaths, interstate migration, and net overseas migration. For more information about the revisions to monthly LFS estimates, refer to the article Revised Population Benchmarks in the July 2010 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).


The Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics of Families release contains a summary of findings (Australian Families, Couple Families, Lone Parent Families, Jobless Families, and Dependants aged 15 to 24) to aid interpretation of the results of the survey. Explanatory notes, a technical note, a glossary and an explanation of the terms 'family' and 'dependant' (in What is a Family?) are also included to further aid in the interpretation of the results. Details of the methodology and concepts used are also provided in a separate Information Paper: Improvements to Family Estimates from the Labour Force Survey (cat. no. 6224.0.55.002).


The main products from this collection are an Excel spreadsheet summary and a series of SuperTABLE Data Cubes (available in Downloads) that are released electronically via the ABS website. Additional data may be available on request.

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070, email client.services@abs.gov.au or Labour Force on Canberra (02) 6252 6525, email labourforce@abs.gov.au