National Survey of Health and Wellbeing
Frequently Asked Questions
I've been chosen to be in the National Survey of Health and Wellbeing – what is this?
This is an important national survey that collects information about the health and wellbeing of people in Australia and how they use health services and programs.
How is the information from this survey used and why is it important?
Your participation in this survey is an opportunity to make a real difference. Results are used by governments, researchers and community groups to better understand the health and wellbeing of Australians and the health services Australians use and need. The information you provide will contribute to important decisions being made for your local area and the wider Australian community.
By taking part, you can ensure that your experiences and circumstances become part of the story of life in Australia today. Decisions about general and mental health services and programs can be made by analysing data from this survey. The information you provide will help to shape policies and services which improve the lives of all Australians.
Why was my household selected?
Each year, we collect data about all aspects of life from thousands of households throughout Australia in order to better understand our population and future needs.
Rather than survey the whole population, we use a scientific sampling process designed to collect data which builds a picture that includes people from all areas of Australia. All households have a chance of being selected.
Once a household has been selected, another household cannot be substituted in its place, as changing the random selection could mean some parts of the community are under or over represented.
It is important that all selected households complete the survey in order to make sure the results represent the whole community. This means that decisions made about services provided by government, local councils and community groups are made using the most accurate information.
Who in my household will be required to participate?
For the first part of this survey, your household representative will be asked to provide general information about everyone in the household. For the second part of the survey, we will randomly select one person, aged 16 to 85 years, in your household to answer questions about their health, lifestyle and use of health services and medications.
How do I complete the survey?
If you have been selected in this survey you will receive a letter in the mail that contains step-by-step instructions on how to create your ABS Survey Account online, claim your unique Form Access Code, and register your household contact details for the survey. If we don't hear anything from you before the registration due date (shown on the letter), one of our interviewers will make contact with you to set up an appointment to complete the survey.
Once you have registered for the survey, an ABS Interviewer will contact you to arrange a convenient time to visit you to complete the survey. If you are unable to complete the survey in person due to COVID, your interviewer may ask you to complete the survey through a video interview. If a video interview is not possible, your interviewer will make note of this, and contact you for an in-person interview when it is safe to do so.
For the first part of the survey, the Interviewer will ask you questions about everyone in the household including their age, sex and marital status. Then, we will randomly select one person in your household to answer questions about their health, lifestyle and use of health services.
What kinds of questions will you ask?
This survey collects general information on everyone in the household and includes questions about age, sex and marital status.
We will then randomly select one person in your household to answer a range of questions about their health and lifestyle such as:
Is the survey compulsory?
Ultimately, yes. The questions included in this survey are being asked under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905, which has provisions to make surveys compulsory.
Under the Act, you are obliged to provide the information being requested, unless otherwise specified by your interviewer. All the information you provide will remain strictly confidential and is protected under the Act.
How do I know the person contacting me is from the ABS?
If your household has been selected to participate in this survey, you will have received a letter informing you about your selection. You can also call us on 1800 093 322 to confirm your selection.
For any personal visits, our staff will always identify themselves, show you their official ABS photo identification and clearly explain the information they are seeking and how this will be used.
You may receive calls from numbers that you are not familiar with, including mobile phone or “unknown” numbers. This is because many of our Interviewers are teleworkers and use ABS authorised mobile phones and office phones to conduct interviews over the phone.
The ABS will NEVER ask you to provide or confirm your bank details or tax file number (TFN).
If you're concerned that a phone call, SMS, voicemail or email claiming to be from the ABS is not genuine, don’t reply to it. Instead, call us on 1800 093 322 and we will verify your selection in the survey and the identity of the Interviewer who is contacting you.
Will I be paid for my time?
No. There is no provision within the Census and Statistics Act 1905 to reimburse people for providing statistical information. In line with other national statistical organisations throughout the world, individuals, businesses and other organisations are asked to supply information for statistical purposes without compensation. It is only with the support of people like you that we can continue to produce the statistics that inform Australia's important decisions.
What happens if there are people in my household who don't speak English?
Where possible, we can arrange for an ABS interviewer who is fluent in the language of the householder to conduct the survey. If there is someone in the household who can translate, and the respondent agrees, they can help the Interviewer.
How will you keep my information safe, secure and confidential?
We take the security of the information you provide to us very seriously. Your information remains strictly confidential to the ABS and is not shared with other agencies. We use the information you provide to calculate statistics, which are released in ways that do not allow for the identification of individuals or households.
All ABS employees have signed a legally enforceable Undertaking of Fidelity and Security in which they agree to keep any information, including personal information which they may deal with in the course of their work, private and confidential. This agreement applies to ABS employees for the rest of their lives, even if they leave the ABS. The penalty for breaching this is two years jail, a $26,640 fine, or both.
Will the information I provide be combined with other data?
The information you provide may be combined with the information from other respondents to produce vital statistics about Australian households.
The ABS is committed to maximising the value of data and statistics. One way to do this is to combine data from two or more sources together. This is known as data integration. The ABS does this to create new statistics and insights that help address important questions about Australia’s communities, economy and environment, and to save you time when responding to surveys.
The new insights created through data integration assist policy makers and researchers to better understand Australian families, communities, industry and the economy. This wider understanding can help to improve the development and delivery of government services and programs in areas such as health, infrastructure, housing and other community services.
By reusing existing data, we can also reduce the amount or frequency of information needed from our surveys, saving you time, and using public money more effectively.
You can learn more about ABS data integration by visiting www.abs.gov.au/dataintegration
I'm having trouble registering for my survey online – where can I find help?
Please see our Survey Account Help page for assistance with technical difficulties, as well as answers to frequently asked questions on creating and using an ABS Survey Account.
Who can I contact for more information?
For help or more information about this survey, please call us on 1800 093 322 during business hours. For help outside these hours, please leave a message with your contact details and we will return your call as soon as possible.
We acknowledge and value your time and effort participating in this survey. It is only with the support of people like you that we can continue to produce the statistics that inform Australia's important decisions.