3414.0 - Guide to Migrant Statistical Sources, 2011 (Edition 2)  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/03/2011   
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The Australian Survey of Social Attitudes (AuSSA)


The Australian Survey of Social Attitudes (AuSSA) is a biennial survey which began in 2003 to provide cross-sectional data on the social attitudes and behaviour of Australians. AuSSA was developed by a team of social scientists from universities across Australia and is managed by the ACSPRI Centre for Social Research (ACSR) in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University (ANU).

AuSSA provides the public, scholars, governments, and the media with information on attitudes and behaviours under seven categories:

  • Describing Australia
  • Community Life
  • The Law and Authority
  • Families and Relationships (and Health in 2005)
  • Australia and the World
  • Taxes and Government Services
  • Work, Education and Living Standards

The core component of the survey has around 130 questions that can be used to track social attitudes and activities over time. The rest of the survey consists of modules that deal with specific topics relevant to the changing needs of the social research community. Some modules may be repeated. In 2003 and 2005, AuSSA included modules on genetic testing, national identity, personal finances, group membership, defence and trade, and social policies.

AuSSA is also Australia's official survey in the International Social Survey Program (ISSP) and regularly includes ISSP modules. In 2003, AuSSA included the ISSP's National Identity module and, in 2005, the survey included the ISSP's Citizenship and Work Orientations III modules.

The third AuSSA is being conducted in 2007.


AuSSA is a mail survey that gathers opinions from approximately 4,000 Australians aged 18 or above who are selected randomly from the Australian Electoral Commission's (AEC) Electoral Roll. The AEC Electoral Roll excludes permanent and temporary residents of Australia (who are not citizens) and any other adults in Australia who are non-citizens except for British subjects on a Commonwealth electoral roll as at 25 January 1984.


AuSSA includes demographic and behavioural variables that survey:
  • sex
  • year born
  • income
  • education
  • employment
  • home ownership
  • union membership
  • languages spoken
  • birthplace
  • ancestry (in 2003)
  • household composition
  • religion

Also included are questions about the partner of the respondent on employment, highest-level of education and income.

  • Australia
  • State/territory
  • Postcode (available in a restricted access data file)


The Australian Social Science Data Archive (ASSDA) - also at the ANU - conducts the AuSSA fieldwork and makes the data available for further analysis through its ASSDA NESSTAR server. Users can browse datasets, view study and variable documentation and download related materials. To analyse or download datasets you are required to register (no charge) and log in.

In 2005, the state of South Australia was oversampled. An additional 1,500 names and addresses were drawn above the expected quota for South Australia and this dataset is also available from the ASSDA NESSTAR server.

A biennial publication, Australian Social Attitudes, is available for purchase through the AuSSA website. The first report includes a chapter "Immigration, multiculturalism and national identity" by Murray Goot and Ian Watson.


Australian Data Archive
18 Balmain Lane (Bldg 66)
Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200