4921.0 - Participation in Selected Cultural Activities, Australia, 2017-18 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/03/2019   
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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 the ABS Institutional Environment.


Data on Cultural Participation were collected as part of the 2017–18 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS). Respondents were asked questions about their involvement in selected cultural activities in the last 12 months, regardless of whether the participation is as a result of a person's work or as a hobby activity. However, participation through formal education is excluded. The type of information collected included the frequency of their participation, whether children received lessons in selected activities and whether adults participated either for income or as a volunteer. In the MPHS, information is collected from one person selected at random in each selected household, and for the first time in this survey, the random person was also interviewed in relation to up to two of their children aged 5-14 years who were also selected at random. The MPHS is a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS) and is designed to collect annual statistics on a small number of self-contained topics.

The scope of the LFS is restricted to persons aged 15 years and over and excludes members of the permanent defence forces; certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments usually excluded from Census and estimated resident populations; overseas residents in Australia; and members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants). Refer to Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) for further information regarding the LFS. In addition, the 2017–18 MPHS excluded persons living in Indigenous communities and persons living in non-private dwellings such as hotels, university residences, students at boarding schools, patients in hospitals, inmates of prisons and residents of other institutions (e.g. retirement homes, homes for persons with disabilities).

The data collected provides broad level information to assist in monitoring a range of programs and policies in the field of culture and the arts.


The MPHS is conducted annually with enumeration undertaken each month over the financial year period from July 2017 to June 2018. The survey reference period relates to participation in cultural activities in the 12 months prior to the survey interview. Generally, data from the MPHS are released approximately 6–9 months after enumeration.


The LFS, and consequently the MPHS, is primarily designed to provide estimates for the whole of Australia and, secondly, for each state and territory.

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.

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 (SE). There are about two chances in three that a sample estimate will differ by less than one SE from the figure that would have been obtained if all dwellings had been included in the survey, and about 19 chances in 20 that the difference will be less than two SEs. Measures of the relative standard errors (RSE) of the estimates for this survey are included with this release.

Only estimates with RSEs less than 25% are considered sufficiently reliable for most purposes. Estimates with RSEs between 25% and 50% have been included and are annotated to indicate they are subject to high sample variability and should be used with caution. In addition, estimates with RSEs greater than 50% have also been included and annotated to indicate they are considered too unreliable for general use.


The ABS seeks to maximise consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to the survey. However, sound survey practice requires ongoing development to maintain and improve the integrity of the data. Due to changes in the questionnaire, certain data items from each iteration of the Cultural Participation Survey are not comparable year to year. For changes between iterations of the survey please refer to the Data Comparability section of the Explanatory Notes.

Due to differences in collection methods and question wording, data collected in the Cultural Participation Survey may not be comparable with data from other ABS surveys, such as the Survey of Work in Selected Culture and Leisure Activities.


To aid in the interpretation of the data, detailed information on concepts, definitions, terminology and other technical aspects of the survey can be found in the relevant web pages included with this release.


All tables and associated RSEs are available in Excel spreadsheets which can be accessed from the Downloads tab.

Additional tables may also be available on request. The Downloads tab also includes a document containing a complete list of the data items available. Note that detailed data can be subject to high RSEs, which in some cases may result in data being confidentialised.

Data from this survey will also be accessible in the TableBuilder environment, enabling users to create their own customised output as required. For further details, refer to the Microdata Entry Page on the ABS website.

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070, or email client.services@abs.gov.au. The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.