1286.0 - Family, Household and Income Unit Variables, 2014  
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CLASSIFICATION AND CODING

THE CLASSIFICATION CRITERIA

Three classification criteria are used to form the categories of the classification:

  • whether a person is living with a partner in a couple relationship
  • whether a person is living with a partner in a registered marriage, and
  • whether a person in a couple relationship is living with a person of the same sex.
People who live in such unions are classified as 'married'.

At the more detailed level, those people who are defined as 'married' are further classified according to whether their relationship to their partner is through a registered marriage or through a de facto marriage.

Application of the criteria

These criteria are applied to each person's couple relationship status to produce the major categories of the 'Social marital status' classification as defined below:

Married: a person who is living with another person in a couple relationship. This relationship is either a registered marriage, or a de facto marriage.

Not married: a person who is not living with another person in a couple relationship. This includes persons who live alone, or with other family members, and those in shared accommodation; it also includes persons who are in a registered marriage or in a de facto marriage, but whose partners are not usually resident in the household.

Married in a registered marriage: a person who lives with another person in a couple relationship and this relationship is a registered marriage.
    In practice, a person is classified as being a partner in a registered marriage if their relationship to a person of the opposite sex, who usually lives in the same household, is reported as husband, wife or spouse and the 'Registered marital status' of both partners (if also asked in the collection) is reported as registered married. Under Australian law same-sex couples cannot be registered as married and are therefore out of scope of this category.

    Married in a de facto marriage: a person who lives with another person in a couple relationship and this relationship is not a registered marriage.

    In practice, a de facto marriage exists between an opposite-sex couple when the two people are usual residents in the same household and their relationship is reported as: partner, de facto, common law husband/wife/spouse, lover, boyfriend, girlfriend or when their relationship is reported as husband, wife or spouse and the 'Registered marital status' of one or both partners (if also asked in the collection) is reported as a category other than married.
      A de facto marriage exists between a same-sex couple when the two people are usual residents in the same household and their relationship is reported as husband, wife, spouse, partner, de facto, common law husband/wife/spouse, lover or boyfriend. The term girlfriend should not be used as an indication of a de facto marriage between two women who are usual residents in the same household.

      Traditional marriages - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

      The ABS recommends that partners in traditional marriages involving Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people should be coded as 'Married in a registered marriage' even though such marriages cannot be registered under the Commonwealth Marriage Act 1961. This should not be a significant statistical issue for most collections.


      THE STANDARD CLASSIFICATION

      The 'Social marital status' classification is a four level hierarchical structure. The one digit level is referred to as the broad level; the second level (two digit) as the detailed level; and the subsequent third and fourth levels are referred to as further disaggregations of the detailed level. The classification is as follows:



      1Married
      10Married (not further defined)
      11Married in a registered marriage
      12Married in a de facto marriage
      15Married in a de facto marriage, opposite sex couple
      16Married in a de facto marriage, same-sex couple
      17Married in a de facto marriage, male same-sex couple
      18Married in a de facto marriage, female same-sex couple

      2Not married
      21Not married



      THE CODE STRUCTURE


      This classification uses a two-digit code rather than a four-digit code, which would usually be used in a four level hierarchical classification structure. Using a two-digit code reduces storage and processing costs. The code structure also allows consistency in the coding of de facto couples (using the digits 5, 6, 7 and 8) with the 'Relationship in household' classification.

      Residual categories and codes

      Not applicable.

      Supplementary codes

      The following supplementary codes are used to code non-responses:

      9 Not stated
      98 Not stated


      SCOPE OF THE CLASSIFICATION

      The 'Social marital status' classification applies to all people aged 15 years and over.


      APPLICATION OF THE CLASSIFICATION TO OTHER VARIABLES

      The concept of 'Social marital status' is fundamental to the identification of couples and families. It is therefore an essential component of the 'Relationship in household', 'Family composition', 'Income unit composition' and 'Household composition' variables.


      CODING PROCEDURES

      The ABS applies the classification criteria listed above to 'Relationship in household' data using either a selection process within a computer assisted coding instrument for household surveys, or the Census of Population and Housing processing system.
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