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Statistical Standards for Social, Labour and Demographic Variables have been developed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to provide a means of standardising the way the ABS and other agencies collect and disseminate information relating to social and labour issues in Australia. The statistical variables to which these standards relate include the labour force, demographic, family, household, income, education, cultural diversity and language variables. Other statistical variables may be included in the future.
Definition of a statistical standard
Many different standards are used in statistics, such as computing, editing, publication, form design, and data quality standards. The specific statistical standards included here and doclinked below facilitate the collection, aggregation and output of social and labour data. A statistical standard in this context can be defined as a set of components which, when used together, produce consistent and high quality statistical output (about the concepts which underpin the statistical variables) across collections and over time. Statistical standards are the approved rules applied by the ABS in the development, collection, processing and dissemination of official statistics.
Advantages of using statistical standards
Statistical standards are designed to add quality to the data produced by improving accuracy, reliability, relevance and timeliness. ABS standards are finalised following thorough and rigorous development of concepts, definitions, questions, classifications, and processing and dissemination procedures. This rigorous development process is combined with consideration of practical issues such as statistical feasibility and extensive consultation with users of the standard and of the resulting data. This thorough development work leads to long term cost savings by providing an 'off the shelf solution' for most data collections.
Users of the statistical standards should be aware that the standards are subject to an ongoing testing and maintenance program and may change as a result. In particular, the questions are reviewed regularly and the question response categories are updated on the basis of the latest available data. For instance, the Country of Birth of Person response categories may be updated following the Census if necessary.
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