6102.0.55.001 - Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, Feb 2018  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/02/2018   
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This document was added or updated on 26/05/2020.



The Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics of Families publication presents information about the labour force status and other characteristics of families, which is collected as part of the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS) in June of each year. Information is also provided on the number and age of children in the family. Family type is derived from questions which establish the relationships between members of the households selected in the survey.

Relationship in household and families data are collected each month in the LFS, and published in Labour Force Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001) as estimates that relate to the number of persons. In contrast, estimates provided in the Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics of Families publication relate to the number of families, rather than the number of persons. Children are normally outside of the scope of the labour force survey, but are included in this publication because of the focus on the labour force status of families.

The Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics of Families publication presents information on family dynamics including the total number of families, the number of families with dependants and children, types of families (couple families, one parent families and other families), and the age and number of children and dependants in the household.


Data from the LFS at the family level are published in Labour Force, Australia: Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics of Families (cat. no. 6224.0.55.001). More detailed data may be available on request.

Estimates are produced on an original basis only (i.e. not seasonally adjusted), and are detailed below.

Socio-demographic information

      State or territory of usual residence of family; area of usual residence of family; family type; sex, age, country of birth and year of arrival of husband/partner and wife/partner.

Family information
      Couple/one parent/other family; whether couple, family, opposite or same sex; sex of lone parent; whether the family includes children or dependants, non-dependent children, or has no children; age of youngest dependent child; number of family members; number of children or dependants.

Employment information
      Employment status; full-time or part-time status, labour force status and duration of job search for husband/partner and wife/partner; hours worked by husband/partner and wife/partner; number of employed, unemployed, not in the labour force persons in the family.


The scope is restricted to persons aged 15 years and over who were residents of private dwellings, and whose family status could be derived. While labour force status is only determined for persons aged 15 years and over, children under 15 years are included for the purpose of determining their relationship to any adult family members in the household.
An improved method for calculating families estimates was introduced in September 2008, to include information on the following groups:
  • households containing permanent members of the Australian defence forces;
  • households containing usual residents of private dwellings who fail to meet LFS selection rules (for example, because they are away from their usual residence for more than six weeks); and
  • households which did not fully respond to the survey (as long as all demographic and family type variables are available).

In June 2009, data were revised to reflect population benchmarks based on 2006 Census of Population and Housing data, adjusted for under-enumeration and updated for births, deaths, interstate migration and net overseas migration.


The data contained in some tables contains cells with estimates with an RSE of greater than 50 percent, considered to be unreliable for general use, and estimates with an RSE of between 25 percent and 50 percent which should be used with caution. The data used to compile families statistics contain complex family relationships, which can add to the complexity of the aggregated estimates. The data in these tables are as reported by any responsible adult aged 15 years and over, who were usual residents of private dwellings and were selected in the LFS.


Additional family data not provided in the standard publication, or from other ABS collections, are available on request. Family data are available from a range of social surveys, including the General Social Survey, the National Health Survey, and the Survey of Income and Housing.

The Census collects information on labour force status and other characteristics for families. See the ABS publications Census of Population and Housing: Nature and Content, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 2008.0) and Census of Population and Housing: Census Dictionary, 2016 (cat. no. 2901.0) for more information.

The ABS releases long-term household and family projections, looking 25 years into the future, in Household and Family Projections, Australia (cat. no. 3236.0). While highest level data from this source are consistent with those from Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics of Families, other estimates may differ due to the difference between projections and weighted estimates based on a sample survey.


Care should be taken when comparing the estimates of previous years with the current year, as data may not have been recompiled using latest population estimates, at a given point in time.

RSEs for Families estimates have been calculated using the Jack knife method of variance estimation. This process involves the calculation of 30 'replicate' estimates, based on 30 different sub-samples of the original sample. The variability of estimates obtained from these sub-samples is used to estimate the sample variability surrounding the main estimate.

In order to provide a high degree of consistency and comparability over time, changes to survey methods, survey concepts, data item definitions, frequency of collection, and analysis methods are made as infrequently as possible. Changes affecting the LFS may also affect Families estimates. Such changes are outlined in the section: Labour Force Survey.

  • Data first released as part of Labour Force, Australia, Detailed (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001), including an annual time series from June 1994 and five data cubes in Summary Record Database (SRD) format.

  • From August 2004 to December 2008, the Families data were released on a monthly basis.

  • Release format changed to a separate product, Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics of Families (cat. no. 6224.0.55.001).

  • Summary tables in Excel format introduced, with a time series from 2005.

  • Expanded series of 10 data cubes replaced the previous SRD files. Each one was released as a separate Excel file, with Relative Standard Errors (RSEs) provided.