2901.0 - Census Dictionary, 2006 (Reissue)  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/08/2007  Reissue
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Contents >> Short Definitions and Classifications - 2006 >> Family Number (FNOF) - Characteristics 2006

Family Number

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Quality Statement


This variable indicates whether the family is the primary, second or third family in a household. Families in one family households are always classified as primary families. More Detailed Description


In a multiple family household this variable indicates whether a family as classified in Family Composition (FMCF) is either the primary, second or third family in the household. In a one family household Family Number is always Primary family.

Applicable to: Families in family households

1 Primary family
2 Second family
3 Third family
@ Not applicable

Total number of categories: 4

More Detailed Description

Quality Statement - Family Number (FNOF)

There are many aspects which can affect the quality of Census data; the following information should be considered when viewing data on Family Number (FNOF).

For more information about quality issues relating to family data refer to FMCF (Family Composition).

In multi-family households, the Primary family is normally the one with the most dependent children or in multi-generational households, the younger family. As an example, 70.9% of Primary families in multi-family households have dependent children (children under 15 years or dependent students aged 15 to 24) compared with 25.6% for Second families and 39.0% for Third families.

In Census data, a maximum of three families are able to be identified within a single dwelling, in accordance with existing ABS standards. While this may have only a small effect on total family numbers generally, the impact may be more significant among population groups which are more likely to live in multi-generational households or with large numbers of extended family members.

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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