2900.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Understanding the Census and Census Data, Australia , 2016  
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Core Activity Need for Assistance (ASSNP)

This variable measures the number of people with a profound or severe disability. This population is defined as people who need assistance in their day to day lives with any or all of the following core activities - self care, mobility or communication because of a disability, long-term health condition (lasting six months or more) or old age. It is applicable to all persons.

How the variable is created

The Census uses a set of four questions to capture 'Core Activity Need for Assistance'. Images of these questions are provided below. Responses to the questions are captured automatically from mark box responses where the risk of processing error is low. Sample checks are undertaken to ensure an acceptable level of quality.

Responses to the individual questions are combined to produce the single variable, Core Activity Need for Assistance.

Variable history

The Census 'Core Activity Need for Assistance' concept was first developed for the 2006 Census and the questions have been unchanged since then.

Non-response rate

Item non-response rates are a measure of how many people did not respond to a particular question as a proportion of the total number of people the question was applicable to. In this instance the response is left as not stated.

The majority of item non-response is attributable to the people who did not respond to the Census at all. Refer to item non-response rates for more information. The second and smaller contributor to item non-response is when people return a Census form but may not answer a particular question(s). For more information, refer to Understanding Census data quality.

The non-response rate for this variable was 7.1% in 2016 (5.7% in 2011).

Data usage notes

The Census 'Core Activity Need for Assistance' concept was developed for the 2006 Census to indicate the disability status of people in Australia according to geographic area, and for small groups within the population. Of all ABS collections of disability data, only the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) is considered to comprehensively measure disability populations, and to provide rates of prevalence at the national and state levels. The Census concept Core Activity Need For Assistance is related to the 'disability status' information collected in the SDAC. The purpose of the Census is to identify people with a 'profound or severe core activity limitation' using similar criteria to the SDAC.

Users wanting more comprehensive information about the disability status of people in Australia should instead refer to the publication Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2015. Despite the conceptual consistency of the measures in the Census and SDAC, abbreviating the set of questions used to collect data on disability, as required for the Census, reduces the number of people who can be classified as having a disability or to a particular level of disability, depending on the concept being collected. The publication, ABS Sources of Disability Information, 2003-2008 examines the different ABS sources of disability data.

Further information

A definition for Core Activity Need For Assistance is available in the 2016 Census Dictionary.

Household form question image

Four Census questions are used to capture data for this variable.
Questions 20 to 23 as they appeared on the 2016 Census Household Paper Form:

Image: 2016 Household Paper Form - Question 20. Does the person ever need someone to help with, or be with them for, self care activities?
Image: 2016 Household Paper Form - Question 21. Does the person ever need someone to help with, or be with them for, body movement activities?
Image: 2016 Household Paper Form - Question 22. Does the person ever need someone to help with, or be with them for, communication activities?
Image: 2016 Household Paper Form - Question 23. What are the reasons for the need for assistance or supervision shown in Questions 20, 21 and 22?
A text only version of the online Census Household form is available from the Downloads tab.