ANCESTRY AND LANGUAGE (RESPONDENT/CURRENT PARTNER)
Information was obtained from men and women aged 18 years and over in the 2016 PSS.
In addition, where a respondent has a current partner they are living with, information on ‘First language spoken as a child’ and ‘Main language spoken at home’ was collected for the current partner as well.
Ancestry of the respondents for the 2016 PSS is based on the country of birth (COB) of parents.
For language output purposes, main English speaking overseas countries (MESC) include Canada, Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America.
Country of Birth of Parents
Information on the country of birth (COB) of both the respondent’s mother and father was collected. This was not asked about their current partner.
The top 10 Countries of birth, as determined via the 2011 Census of Population and Housing, were available to select from. If the COB reported was not one of these, the interviewer was taken to a tri-gram coder to select the country, or if it was not in the tri-gram coder they were taken to an open text field to specify the country for later office coding.
If they did not know the country of birth of their parents due to adoption or other reasons, they could identify country of birth as unknown.
The responses were coded to the same classification as used for the respondent’s country of birth, the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2016 (cat. no. 1269.0); a hierarchical classification based on the concept of geographic proximity. Standard output for this classification is discussed in Appendix 2: ABS Standard Classifications of this User Guide.
First and Main Language spoken
Information on the respondent’s ‘First language spoken as a child’ and ‘Main language spoken at home’ was collected. Where the respondent had a current partner living with them, they were also asked to provide this information on behalf of their partner. Current partners were not approached to provide their own details.
The top 10 languages, as determined via the 2011 Census of Population and Housing, were available to select from. If the language reported was not one of these, the interviewer was taken to a tri-gram coder to select the language, or if it was not in the tri-gram coder they were taken to an open text field to specify the language for later office coding.
The responses were coded to the Australian Standard Classification of Languages 2016 (cat no. 1267.0). The abbreviated classification used in most standard output is shown in Appendix 2: ABS Standard Classifications of this Users' Guide.
Proficiency in Spoken English
Respondents who reported they mainly spoke a language other than English at home or they first spoke a language other than English were asked how well they spoke English. These self-assessed responses were recorded against the following categories:
- Very well
- Not well
- Not at all
Respondents whose main language was sign language or Auslan, and respondents who identified as mute, were not asked this question and have been assigned to the category of Not stated.
Note, this question was not asked for the respondent’s current partner.
The data items and related output categories for this topic are contained within the SPS Level – Demographics tab in the data item list which is available in Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads
tab of this product.
Data for this topic has been collected to provide further analytical possibilities around the cultural identity of respondents and characteristics of people who experience violence. Current partner data for this topic can be used to provide further analytical possibilities about understanding the experiences and nature
of domestic violence, including the characteristics of the victim and the perpetrator.
Data from this topic should not be used to produce just population estimates of these items (Census data is more appropriate for those purposes). See the below Interpretation points for limitations on the representativeness of the sample. The data should only be used in conjunction with other data related to experiences of violence collected in this survey.
Points to be considered in interpreting this topic include the following:
COMPARABILITY WITH PREVIOUS SURVEYS
- Respondents who are unable to speak English, and for whom an ABS translator was not able to be used, are offered a proxy interview where another member of the household could answer the compulsory questions on the respondent’s behalf. There may be an under representation of people with limited English in the survey, for more details refer to the Proxy section of the Survey Development and Data Collection page of this User Guide.
- Details on the language first spoken or main language spoken by a current partner are collected via the selected respondent. Therefore the information is based on the knowledge the selected respondent has of their partner’s language background. As the main language spoken is based on what they speak at home, it is unlikely the respondent would be unable to provide this information accurately. However, the option to identify that they didn’t know the language first spoken by their current partner was available and is identified by an additional category of Not known in the current partner output items.
- Proficiency in spoken English is a self assessed measure based on the respondent’s perception of how well they speak it.
- The collection of Ancestry in PSS is defined in terms of country of birth, which doesn’t necessarily reflect cultural/ethnic background as perceived by the respondent. Also some respondents may respond based on biological backgrounds associated with step parents or guardians. As such, COB may not always be an accurate indicator of self declared ancestry.
The table below outlines the comparisons of classifications between the 1996 Women's Safety Survey, 2005 PSS, 2012 PSS and 2016 PSS.
Note: 2005 and 2012 PSS did not collect COB of parents and therefore is not comparable with any other cycles.