2901.0 - Census Dictionary, 2006 (Reissue)  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/07/2007  Reissue
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Contents >> Short Definitions and Classifications - 2006 >> Registered Marital Status (MSTP) - Characteristics 2006

Registered Marital Status

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Image of Question
Quality Statement


This variable records an individual's current status in regard to a registered marriage, i.e. whether he/she is widowed, divorced, separated, married or has never married. More Detailed Description

Image of Question

2006 Household Form - Question 6


Applicable to: Persons aged 15 years and over

1. Never married
2. Widowed
3. Divorced
4. Separated
5. Married
@ Not applicable

Total number of categories: 6

More Detailed Description
Quality Statement - Registered Marital Status (MSTP)

There are many aspects which can affect the quality of Census data; the following information should be considered when viewing data on Registered Marital Status (MSTP).

This data was captured automatically from check box responses on the form so the risk of processing error is minimal. Sample checks of the data are undertaken to ensure an acceptable level of quality.

Where no response was provided then MSTP was imputed (or derived to not applicable when age is less than 15 years). The imputation rate for Registered Marital Status (MSTP) in 2006 was 5.4% compared with 3.4% in 2001. Nearly all of this imputation is attributable to the 4.3% of persons (aged 15 years and over and including overseas visitors), who were in dwellings which were occupied on Census Night but did not return a completed form. Persons are imputed into these dwellings together with some demographic characteristics such as Registered Marital Status. In 2001, 2.2% of persons aged 15 years and over were imputed into dwellings for which no form was received.

In a small proportion of cases (testing has indicated that this is less than 1%), respondents provided an incorrect number of responses (for MSTP, respondents are asked to only mark one response). In these cases responses are accepted in the order they appear on the form and extra responses are rejected.

The ABS aims to produce high quality data from the Census. To achieve this, extensive effort is put into Census form design, collection procedures, and processing procedures.

There are four principal sources of error in Census data: respondent error, processing error, partial response and undercount. Quality management of the Census program aims to reduce error as much as possible, and to provide a measure of the remaining error to data users, to allow them to use the data in an informed way.

When completing their Census form, some people do not answer all the questions which apply to them. In these instances, a 'not stated' code is allocated during processing, with the exception of non-response to age, sex, marital status and place of usual residence. These variables are needed for population estimates, so they are imputed using other information on the Census form, as well as information from the previous Census.

The processing of information from Census forms is now mostly automated, using scanning, Intelligent Character Recognition and other automatic processes. Quality assurance procedures are used during Census processing to ensure processing errors are kept at an acceptable level. Sample checking is undertaken during coding operations, and corrections are made where necessary.

The Census form may be completed by one household member on behalf of others. Incorrect answers can be introduced to the Census form if the respondent does not understand the question or does not know the correct information about other household members. Many of these errors remain in the final data.

More detailed information on data quality is available in the 2006 Census Dictionary (cat. no. 2901.0), in the section titled Managing Census Quality.

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