Population Survey Monitor

   Page tools:

    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)


    The Population Survey Monitor (PSM) was a quarterly user funded survey which collected information from households throughout Australia (excluding sparsely settled areas). The survey collected information from a randomly selected person from each responding household. Data was collected on a variety of topics for government clients. Data is available at both the person and household level. National data only is available for topics collected in one PSM survey. State data is available for topics which have been included in four surveys.


    The Population Survey Monitor (PSM) was available to all government departments and agencies willing to fund the ABS to collect data from households on a range of topics. The PSM was also used by the ABS to collect information for ABS sponsored topics.


    All usual residents in private households are included in the PSM. The survey covers rural and urban areas across all States and Territories of Australia, except sparsely settled and Indigenous areas, which accounts for approximately 85,000 persons aged 18 years and over. The exclusion of these persons will have only a minor impact on any aggregate estimates that are produced for individual States and Territories, with the exception of the Northern Territory where such persons account for approximately 19% of the population. All persons living in non-private dwellings are excluded.

    The scope of the collection includes all persons resident in Australia and aged 18 and over except:

    • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments customarily excluded from census and estimated populations,
    • overseas residents in Australian and members of non Australian defence forces (and their dependants) stationed in Australia,
    • special dwellings,
    • persons in remote and sparsely settled strata

    Members of the permanent defence forces are in on scope.

    In the PSM, coverage rules are applied which aim to ensure that each person is associated with only one dwelling, and hence has only one chance of selection. The chance of a person being enumerated at two separate dwellings in the one survey is considered to be negligible

    All usual residents are included even if away from the dwelling for six weeks or more.


    Conceptual framework

    Not applicable

    Main outputs

    Data are available for a large range of topics for both person and household level data items. While outputs vary for each Population Survey Monitor (PSM) collection, many data items were repeated to increase sample size. Core data items included in each quarterly collection are listed below. Following this list is a complete list of topics included in the PSM since 1995 with those topics marked with an * being available at the state or territory level.

    Household Core Questions

    1. Household Type

    2. Number of person 18 years and over

    3a. Age of eldest dependant child under 25 years

    3b. Age of youngest dependant child under 25 years

    4. Number of children in age groups

    5. Number of 15-17 year old full-time students

    6. Number of 15-17 year old NOT full-time students

    7. Description of dwelling structure

    8. Is the dwelling

    - being paid off

    - owned outright

    - rented

    9. If none of Q.8 does anyone in the household

    - pay rent to live here

    - pay board to live here

    - live here rent free

    10. If rent is paid in Q.8 to whom is rent paid

    - Public Housing Authority

    - Private landlord/Real Estate Agent

    - Other

    Personal Core Questions

    1. If born overseas in what year did you arrive in Australia

    2. Language mainly spoken at home

    Education and Labour Questions

    1. Do you currently attend a secondary school full-time

    2. Completion of further educational qualifications

    3. Highest qualification completed

    In the last week:

    4. Did you work in a job business or farm (not including voluntary work)

    5. Did you do any work without pay in a family business

    6. Did you have a job, business or farm that you were away from

    7. more than one job

    In your main job do you work:

    8. For wages and salary

    9. In your own business with employees

    10. In your own business without employees

    11. Without pay in a family business

    12. Payment in kind

    13. Unpaid voluntary work

    14. How many hours do you usually work in a week?

    - 35

    - 1-34

    - <1

    15. What kind of work do you do in your main job?

    - Australian Standard Classification of Occupations

    16. What industry, business, or services is carried out where you work?

    - Australia and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification code

    In the last 4 weeks did you:

    17. Look for full-time work?

    18. Look for part-time work?

    19. At any time in the last four weeks have you:

    - Written, phoned or applied in person to an employer for work?

    - Answered an advertisement for a job

    - Looked in newspapers

    - Checked factory notice boards or used the touch-screens at Centerlink

    - Been registered with Centerlink as a job seeker

    - Checked or registered with any employment agency

    - Done anything else to try and find a job (contact relatives/friends)

    - Other

    - Only looked in newspapers

    - None of these

    20. If you had found a (part-time) job could you have started last week?

    21. How do you currently spend most of your time?

    - Home duties/caring for children

    - Voluntarily out of workforce/retired

    - Studying

    - Recovering from injury/illness

    - Caring for and aged/disabled or sick person

    - Voluntary work

    - Other

    Data items collected since 1995

    Labour Force/Income

    *Employment status

    *Educational attainment

    *Work related health problems and Occupational Health and Safety

    Persons 45-74 expected main source of retirement income

    *Voluntary work

    *Personal and household income


    *Persons who have moved in the last 12 months

    *First home owners

    *Acceptability of medium density housing in local area

    *Mortgage and rent repayments

    *Tenure of current residence

    *Dwelling structure

    *Migration and retirement intentions (Northern Territory only)


    *Household use of computing equipment

    *Household access to the internet

    *Purchase of goods and services via the internet

    *Time spent on the computer


    *Satisfaction with services provided by police

    *Contact with the police

    Ranking of offence seriousness

    Victims of crime


    *Participation in sport and physical activities in the last 12 months

    *Children's participation in club and organised sport

    *Spectator sport


    *Individual donation of money in the last 12 months

    *Households intention to purchase selected items


    *Fire Safety Measures Installed or followed by households

    *Safety devices installed by households


    *Main Energy Source used by households in New South Wales

    *Main Energy Source used by households in South Australia

    Main Energy Source used by households (Australia)


    *Smoking status

    *General health issues

    Eating habits

    *Asthma incidence


    *Wine & Alcohol consumption in the last week

    *Persons in the Northern Territory who smoke tobacco



    *Botanical gardens usage

    *Art and Craft purchases in the last 3 months

    *Attendances at Arts Festivals in last 12 months

    Support for the Arts

    Attitudes to the Arts

    *Work in culture/leisure activities


    *Organ donations


    Concession card holders

    *Opinions of environmental issues


    ABS standard classifications were used for items describing standard demographic, socio-economic, education, labour force, housing, etc characteristics.

    Industry - Australia and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) edition 1 - 1 digit level

    Occupation - Australian Standard Classification of Occupations First Edition (ASCO FE) from August 1993,
    Australian Standard Classification of Occupations Second Edition (ASCO SE) from February 1997

    Age - 5 year age groups


    Marital status


    Highest education level completed

    Household income decile

    Personal income decile

    Employment status

    Labour force status

    Household / family classification

    Dwelling structure

    Nature of occupancy


    Metropolitan / ex-metropolitan split

    Other concepts (summary)


    New South Wales
    South Australia
    Western Australia

    Comments and/or Other Regions

    Excludes sparsely settled areas


    Frequency comments

    Not applicable


    The Population Survey Monitor (PSM) was first conducted in August 1993 and then each quarter in the months of February, May, August and November until the final survey in November 2000. The survey sample size was initially set at 2000 and was raised to 3,000 from the February 1996 collection.


    Data availability comments

    Data was published for each quarterly survey 6 weeks after the month of enumeration for all but the December quarters which was 8 weeks following enumeration.

    The last publication of ABS Cat No. 4103.0 was released 1 February 2001.

    03/01/2006 02:02 PM