6102.0.55.001 - Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2013  
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CHAPTER 16. OTHER CLASSIFICATIONS USED IN LABOUR STATISTICS

INTRODUCTION

16.1 Classifications group and arrange statistics into a coherent and standard structure. They are used for compilation and analysis, and to facilitate comparison with other statistical series. This chapter briefly outlines a number of standard economic, socio-demographic, and geographic classifications used to aggregate ABS labour statistics.


ECONOMIC CLASSIFICATIONS

16.2 Two standard economic classifications systems commonly used in ABS labour statistics relate to industry and sector.

INDUSTRY

16.3 An industry classification provides a framework which enables the grouping of businesses which carry out similar productive activities. The Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification 2006 (ANZSIC) is the standard industry classification used in Australia for the collection, compilation and publication of statistics by industry. It closely aligns with the International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC), Revision 4, adopted by the United Nations Statistical Commission.

16.4 The ANZSIC has a hierarchical structure comprising four levels: Divisions (the broadest level), Subdivisions, Groups and Classes (the finest level). At the divisional level, the main purpose is to provide a limited number of categories for a broad overall picture of the economy and used for publication in summary tables. There are 19 divisions within the ANZSIC, each identified by a letter from A to S.

    A Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
    B Mining
    C Manufacturing
    D Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services
    E Construction
    F Wholesale Trade
    G Retail Trade
    H Accommodation and Food Services
    I Transport, Postal and Warehousing
    J Information Media and Telecommunications
    K Financial and Insurance Services
    L Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services
    M Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
    N Administrative and Support Services
    O Public Administration and Safety
    P Education and Training
    Q Health Care and Social Assistance
    R Arts and Recreation Services
    S Other Services

16.5 The Subdivision, Group and Class levels provide increasingly detailed dissections of these categories for the compilation of specific and detailed statistics. For further information on ANZSIC, refer to Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification 2006 (cat. no. 1292.0).


SECTOR

16.6 There are a number of standard classifications which group the national economy into broad economic sectors. These sector classifications enable information to be provided about groups of economic units that have similar functions or institutional characteristics, for example, households, corporations or government units. The most relevant sector classifications for labour statistics are the Public/Private and Level of Government classifications. Other sector classifications include the Standard Economic Sector Classification of Australia (SESCA), Not For Profit, and Type of Legal Organisation. These are used within economic statistics. Sector classifications are described within the Standard Economic Sector Classifications of Australia (SESCA), 2008 (cat. no. 1218.0).

Public/private sector

16.7 The public/private classification is used to identify whether an enterprise is a public or private unit.
    The public sector includes:
    • Financial corporations controlled by government;
    • Government agencies, Government departments;
    • Non-financial corporations controlled by government;
    • Notional institutional units controlled by government;
    • Public financial corporations; and
    • Public non-financial corporations.
    The private sector includes:
    • Household institutional units;
    • Not-for-profit institutions;
    • Private corporations;
    • Private notional institutional units;
    • Superannuation funds for public sector employees; and
    • Unincorporated enterprises.

Level of government

16.8 The level of government classification is based on the economic function, or role, of public sector units and enables identification of public sector units by the level of government in which they operate. The classification has the following structure:
    • National (or Commonwealth) Government;
    • State/Territory Government; and
    • Local government.
Note that when a public sector unit cannot be defined unambiguously as under the control of a single government, that unit will be classified to the level of government which typically has that role or function.

16.9 For more information on the classifications within the SESCA refer to Standard Economic Sector Classifications of Australia (cat. no. 1218.0).


SOCIO-DEMOGRAPHIC CLASSIFICATIONS

16.10 A range of socio-demographic data is available from labour-related household collections. Standard classifications used in the presentation of labour statistics include age, sex, birthplace, marital status, families and households, schooling and educational qualifications, language, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status. Statistical standards for social and demographic variables have been developed by the ABS and are described in Family, Household and Income Unit Variables (cat. no. 1286.0). Those relating to marital status, families and households, post-school educational qualifications, language, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status are discussed below.


MARITAL STATUS

16.11 Marital status is a core variable in a wide range of social, labour and demographic statistics, and is almost universally collected in ABS household collections. Its main purpose is to establish the living arrangements of couples in the Australian population. These living arrangements may be based on a legal concept (i.e. registered marriage), or a social, marriage-like arrangement (i.e. de facto marriage). Two separate concepts of marital status are measured, Registered Marital Status and Social Marital Status. These are discussed briefly below.

Registered marital status

16.12 Registered marital status is a person's relationship status in terms of whether he or she has, or has had, a registered marriage with another person for whom he or she holds, or held, a valid marriage certificate. Persons may be distinguished as:
    • Never married;
    • Widowed;
    • Divorced;
    • Separated; or
    • Married.

Social marital status

16.13 Social marital status is a person's relationship status in terms of whether he or she forms a couple relationship with another person. A couple relationship is based on a consensual union, and is defined as two people usually residing in the same household who share a social, economic and emotional bond usually associated with marriage, and who consider their relationship to be a marriage or marriage-like union. This relationship is identified by the presence of a registered marriage or de facto marriage. Persons may be distinguished as:
    • Registered marriage;
    • De facto marriage; or
    • Not married.


FAMILIES AND HOUSEHOLDS

16.14 The concepts of families and households are fundamental in the collection and dissemination of both social and labour statistics. A household can be thought of, in its broadest sense, as a group of people who live and eat together as a single unit within a dwelling. Notions of what constitutes a family vary. However, for statistical purposes it is defined within ABS collections as two or more related (by blood, marriage, adoption, step or fostering) persons, one of whom is at least 15 years of age, who are usually resident in the same household. Households and families constitute the basic groups of social aggregation. While the concept of household is broader than the concept of family, in practice both refer often to the same set of people. Classifications relating to Household composition, Relationship in household, Family composition and Relationship between families are discussed briefly below. For further information on these classifications refer to Family, Household and Income Unit Variables (cat. no. 1286.0).

Household Composition

16.15 Household composition is used to describe and categorise households on the basis of the number of families present, whether or not non-family members are present (family households only), and the number of household members (non-family households only). The standard Household composition classification is:
    • One family household
        • One family household with only family members present
        • One family household with non-family members present
    • Multiple family household
        • Two family household
            • Two family household with only family members present
            • Two family household with non-family members present
        • Three or more family household
            • Three or more family household with only family members present
            • Three or more family household with non-family members present
    • Non-family household
        • Lone person household
        • Group household

Relationship in Household

16.16 Relationship in Household describes the familial and non-familial relationship of each person within each family in a given household. The familial relationship within each family is measured with reference to a family reference person chosen for that particular family.

16.17 The Relationship in Household classification has a four level hierarchical structure: major group and detailed minor groups. The major groups are distinguished from each other in terms of the presence or absence of residency, family membership, and relationship to reference person within the household. The major groups are:
    • Husband, wife or partner
    • Lone parent
    • Child under 15
    • Dependent student
    • Non-dependent child
    • Other related individual
    • Non-family member
16.18 The minor groups provide more detailed information about the relationship within the household. For example, a child under 15 years of age is further classified as being: a natural or adopted child; a step child; a foster child,; grandchild; an otherwise related child; or an unrelated child.

Family Composition

16.19 Statistics on family type are used to identify family structures, and are used extensively in measures of the social wellbeing of the family unit and the individuals within those families. Operationally a family is defined as two or more persons, one of whom is at least 15 years of age, who are related by blood, marriage (registered or de facto), adoption, step or fostering, and who are usually resident in the same household. The basis of a family is formed by identifying the presence of a couple relationship, lone parent-child relationship or other blood relationship. Some households will, therefore, contain more than one family.

16.20 The Family Composition classification has a four level hierarchical structure. The groups at the highest level are distinguished from each other on the presence or absence of a couple relationship, parent-child relationship, or other blood relationship. The four groups are:
    • Couple family with no children
    • Couple family with children
    • One parent family
    • Other family
16.21 The remaining three levels provide increasingly detailed dissections of the broad categories, based on the presence or absence of children aged under 15 years, dependent students and non-dependent children. In addition to the four distinct levels, information about the 'type of couple' is provided to distinguish the sex of partners in couple relationships.


EDUCATION

16.22 A standard classification of educational activity, the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED) (cat. no. 1272.0), was released in 2001.

16.23 The ASCED has been developed to classify educational activity by the level and field of the activity. It also provides the flexibility to report statistics on different aspects of education such as enrolments, resources (human and financial) used, or the educational attainment of the population. ASCED has been designed to be applied to a number of education-related concepts, such as a 'qualification', a 'unit of study', a 'module' or a 'course'. The classification includes all pre-primary, primary and secondary school education as well as all formal non-school education and training. ASCED classifies education according to two elements: level of education; and field of education. These elements are described below and can be used separately or in combination. For further information, refer to Information Paper: Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED) (cat. no. 1271.0).

Level of education

16.24 Level of education is a function of the quality and quantity of learning associated with an educational activity and is assessed in terms of the following criteria: the theoretical and vocational orientation of the educational activity; the minimum entry requirements for the educational activity (i.e. the minimum amount of prior education needed to undertake the educational activity at that level); and the course length (or notional duration of the educational activity).

16.25 The level of education classification has nine broad levels:
    • Postgraduate Degree Level
    • Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate Level
    • Bachelor Degree Level
    • Advanced Diploma and Diploma Level
    • Certificate Level
    • Secondary Education
    • Primary Education
    • Pre-Primary Education
    • Other Education
Field of education

16.26 Field of education refers to the subject matter included in an educational activity. Fields of education are related to each other through the similarity of subject matter, through the broad purposes for which the study is undertaken, and through the theoretical content which underpins the subject matter. Fields of education are classified into progressively broader groups according to the following criteria: the theoretical content of the course; the purpose of learning; the objects of interest; the methods and techniques; and the tools and equipment.

16.27 The Field of Study Classification consists of three hierarchical levels; Broad Field; Narrow Field; and Detailed Field. The detailed fields aggregate into narrow fields and the narrow fields in turn aggregate into broad fields. The 12 Broad Field categories are:
    • Natural and Physical Sciences
    • Information Technology
    • Engineering and Related Technologies
    • Architecture and Building
    • Agriculture, Environmental and Related Studies
    • Health
    • Education
    • Management and Commerce
    • Society and Culture
    • Creative Arts
    • Food, Hospitality and Personal Services
    • Mixed Field Programmes


LANGUAGE VARIABLES

16.28 The development of Australia as a multicultural society and the subsequent wider interest in constructing statistical profiles of particular ethnic or cultural population groups has, over the years, increased the use of and need for quality language data. To meet these growing needs, the ABS has incorporated language questions in a range of social statistics collections. Variables collected include 'main language spoken at home', 'first language spoken', and 'proficiency in spoken English'.

16.29 Languages are classified according to the Australian Standard Classification of Languages (ASCL) (cat. no. 1267.0), and readers should refer to this publication for more informationabout what constitutes a language as well as for further information on the classification itself.

16.30 Questions on 'proficiency in spoken English' are asked only of persons who speak languages other than English at home or whose first language spoken was other than English. Respondents are asked to classify themselves as speaking English: very well; well; not well; or not at all.


ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER STATUS

16.31 Accurate and consistent statistics about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are needed in order to plan, promote and deliver essential services, to monitor changes in well-being and to account for government expenditure in this area. The 'Commonwealth working definition' of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is "a person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and is accepted as such by the community in which he or she lives" (footnote 1). In ABS statistical collections, it is not feasible to collect information on the community acceptance part of this definition, and therefore questions on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Status relate to descent and self-identification only. In practice, people are asked if they are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin.

16.32 The classification for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Status has a hierarchical structure comprising two levels. There are four categories at the detailed level of the classification (see below) which are grouped into two categories at the broader level. There is one supplementary category. Statistics are often only available at the broad levels of the classification. For further information, refer to Standards for Statistics on Cultural and Language Diversity (cat. no. 1289.0).
    • Aboriginal but not Torres Strait Islander Origin
    • Torres Strait Islander but not Aboriginal Origin
    • Both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Origin
    • Neither Aboriginal nor Torres Strait Islander Origin

GEOGRAPHIC CLASSIFICATIONS

16.33 There are two geographic classifications used by the ABS for the collection and dissemination of geographical statistics: the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) (cat. no. 1270.55.001); and the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC(cat. no. 1269.0). The ASGS brings all Australian regions for which the ABS publishes statistics within the one framework. The SACC is a classification of countries based on the concept of geographic proximity. Both classifications are used in the collection and dissemination of ABS labour-related statistics. They are discussed further below.


AUSTRALIAN STATISTICAL GEOGRAPHY STANDARD (ASGS)

16.34 The ASGS brings together all Australian regions on which the ABS publishes statistics within the one framework. It was used for the 2011 Census of Population and Housing and introduced into ABS labour collections from mid 2013. The ASGS replaces the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC).

16.35 The ASGS classification structures are split into two broad groups, the ABS Structures and the Non-ABS Structures. The ABS Structures are hierarchies of regions defined and maintained by the ABS. The Non-ABS Structures are hierarchies of regions which are not defined or maintained by the ABS, but for which the ABS is committed to providing a range of statistics. They generally represent administrative units such as Postcode and Local Government Areas. The ABS Structures are built directly from Mesh Blocks. Non-ABS Structures are approximated by either Mesh Blocks, the Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s) or the Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2s).

16.36 The ABS Structures comprise six interrelated hierarchies of regions. They are:
    • Main Structure;
    • Indigenous Structure;
    • Urban Centres and Localities/Section of State Structure;
    • Remoteness Area Structure;
    • Greater Capital City Statistical Area (GCCSA) Structure; and
    • Significant Urban Area Structure.
16.37 Under the main structure, Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4) regions are the largest sub-State regions in the ASGS and will be used for the release of Labour Force Statistics. They are designed for the output of labour force data and reflect labour markets within each State and Territory within the population limits imposed by the Labour Force Survey sample.

16.38 The Non-ABS Structures comprise eight hierarchies of regions. They are:
    • Local Government Areas (LGAs)
    • Postal Areas;
    • State Suburbs;
    • Commonwealth Electoral Divisions;
    • State Electoral Divisions;
    • Australian Drainage Divisions;
    • Natural Resource Management Regions; and
    • Tourism Regions.

16.39 The ASGS is constructed on the principle that it must fulfil user needs for spatial statistics while also conforming to general classification principles.

16.40 For futher information about the ASGS, refer to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (ASGS) (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001).


STANDARD AUSTRALIAN CLASSIFICATION OF COUNTRIES (SACC)

16.41 The Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC) (cat. no. 1269.0) is a classification of countries essentially based on the concept of geographic proximity. In its structure, it groups neighbouring countries into progressively broader geographic areas on the basis of their similarity in terms of social, cultural, economic and political characteristics.

16.42 The base level units in the classification are 'countries' which is defined to include:
    • fully independent countries (sovereign nation states);
    • administrative subdivisions of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland);
    • external territories and dependencies of independent countries, for example, Falkland Islands, Martinique;
    • units which are recognised geographic areas, the ownership or control of which is in dispute, e.g. West Bank/Gaza Strip; and
    • residual categories ('not elsewhere classified' categories) consisting of geographic areas which are not separately identified in the classification and which are not part of one of the separately identified base level units. e.g. Polynesia (excludes Hawaii), nec, contains a number of minor islands which are not part of any of the separately identified country units of the Minor Group Polynesia (excludes Hawaii).

16.43 The classification includes all countries currently existing in the world, as defined above.

16.44 The SACC is a three-level hierarchical classification ranging from broad major groups to the base unit of discrete countries, as defined above. The three levels consist of:
    • 255 discrete countries, as described above
    • 27 minor groups, which are groups of neighbouring countries and aggregated to form
    • 9 major groups,
16.45 Each of the 9 major groups are formed by aggregating geographically proximate minor groups, which in turn are groups of neighbouring countries similar in terms of social, cultural, economic and political characteristics. Each major group lies wholly within the bounds of a single geographic continent (with two exceptions: North Africa and the Middle East, and Americas).The nine major groups are:
    • Oceania and Antarctica
    • North-West Europe
    • Southern and Eastern Europe
    • North Africa and the Middle East
    • South-East Asia
    • North-East Asia
    • Southern and Central Asia
    • Americas
    • Sub-Saharan Africa

16.46 For further information about the SACC please refer to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC) (cat. no. 1269.0)


FURTHER INFORMATION

16.47 For further details contact the Labour Market Statistics Section, on Canberra (02) 6252 7206 or email <labour.statistics@abs.gov.au>.


FOOTNOTES

1. Department of Aboriginal Affairs 1981, Report on a review of the administration of the working definition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. <back



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