Disability and carers

Mnemonic Variable Release 
ASSNPCore activity need for assistanceJune 2022
UNCAREPUnpaid assistance to a person with a disability, health condition, or due to old ageJune 2022

Core activity need for assistance (ASSNP)

Definition

This variable records the number of people with a profound or severe core activity limitation. People with a profound or severe core activity limitation are those needing assistance in their day to day lives in one or more of the three core activity areas of self-care, mobility and communication because of:

  • a long-term health condition (lasting six months or more)
  • a disability (lasting six months or more)
  • old age

Scope

All persons

Categories

CodeCategory

1

Has need for assistance with core activities

2

Does not have need for assistance with core activities

&

Not stated

V

Overseas visitor

Number of categories: 4

Question(s) from the Census form

Does the person ever need someone to help with, or be with them for, self-care activities?

Does the person ever need someone to help with, or be with them for, self-care activities?
Does Person 1 ever need someone to help with, or be with them for, self-care activities?

For example: doing everyday activities such as eating, showering, dressing or toileting.

More information

Person's need for help with self-care

Yes, always

Yes, sometimes

No

More Information

Additional information relating to the question on: Does the person ever need someone to help with, or be with them for, self-care activities?
Does Person 1 ever need someone to help with, or be with them for, self-care activities?

For example: doing everyday activities such as eating, showering, dressing or toileting.

More information

This question refers to the extra help or supervision needed by someone because of a disability, long-term illness or old age.

If Person 1 cannot do a task at all, for example, cannot dress themselves, select 'Yes, always'.

For young children who have a similar need for assistance as most other children of the same age, select the most appropriate response for their situation.

Does the person ever need someone to help with, or be with them for, body movement activities?

Does the person ever need someone to help with, or be with them for, body movement activities?
Does Person 1 ever need someone to help with, or be with them for, body movement activities?

For example: getting out of bed, moving around at home or at places away from home.

More information

Person's need for help with body movement

Yes, always

Yes, sometimes

No

More information

Additional information relating to the question on: Does the person ever need someone to help with, or be with them for, body movement activities?
Does Person 1 ever need someone to help with, or be with them for, body movement activities?

For example: getting out of bed, moving around at home or at places away from home.

More information

This question refers to the extra help or supervision needed by someone because of a disability, long-term illness or old age.

If Person 1 cannot do a task at all, for example, is confined to bed, select 'Yes, always'.

For young children who have a similar need for assistance as most other children of the same age, select the most appropriate response for their situation.

Does the person ever need someone to help with, or be with them for, communication activities?

Does the person ever need someone to help with, or be with them for, communication activities?
Does Person 1 ever need someone to help with, or be with them for, communication activities?

For example: understanding, or being understood by, others.

More information

Person's need for help with communication

Yes, always

Yes, sometimes

No

More information

Additional information relating to the question on: Does the person ever need someone to help with, or be with them for, communication activities?
Does Person 1 ever need someone to help with, or be with them for, communication activities?

For example: understanding, or being understood by, others.

More information

This question refers to the extra help or supervision needed by someone because of a disability, long-term illness or old age.

If Person 1 cannot do a task at all, for example, cannot communicate, select 'Yes, always'.

For young children who have a similar need for assistance as most other children of the same age, select the most appropriate response for their situation.

What are the reasons for the need for assistance or supervision shown in Questions 24, 25 and 26?

What are the reasons for the need for assistance or supervision shown in Questions 24, 25 and 26?
What are the reasons for the need for assistance or supervision?

Select all applicable reasons.

More information

Reason person needs help

No need for assistance

Short-term health condition (lasting less than six months)

Long-term health condition (lasting six months or more)

Disability (lasting six months or more)

Old or young age

Difficulty with English language

Other reason

More information

Additional information relating to the question on: What are the reasons for the need for assistance or supervision shown in Questions 24, 25 and 26?
What are the reasons for the need for assistance or supervision?

Select all applicable reasons.

More information

For young children, select ‘Old or young age' if the need for assistance is similar to most other children of the same age.

Where a person needs assistance with communication due to difficulties with English, and if the need for assistance would not be present when communicating in their own language, select 'Difficulty with English language'.

How this variable is created

The Census uses a set of four questions (paper form questions 24-27) to derive ‘core activity need for assistance’. Responses to the questions are captured automatically from mark box responses.

To determine if a person’s need for assistance in one or more of the three core activity areas is due to a long-term health condition, disability or old age, the question on the Census form asks, ‘What are the reasons for the need for assistance or supervision?’.

To be coded to the category ‘Has need for assistance with core activities’, the response needs to be one or more of the following:

  • Long-term health condition (lasting six months or more)
  • Disability (lasting six months or more)

To be coded to the category ‘Does not have need for assistance with core activities’, the response needs to be one or more of the following:

  • No need for assistance
  • Short-term health condition (lasting less than six months)
  • Difficulty with English language
  • Other cause

If a person’s only response is ‘Old or young age’, they are coded as follows:

  • If under 40 years of age – ‘Does not have need for assistance with core activities’
  • If 40 years or over – ‘Has need for assistance with core activities’

History and changes

The Census ‘Core activity need for assistance’ concept was developed for the 2006 Census to indicate the disability status of people in Australia according to geographic area, and for small groups within the population.

No changes have been made for 2021.

Data use considerations

This variable helps service providers and governments plan what local facilities, services and support are required, such as in-home support, respite care and support to carers.

Of all ABS collections of disability data, only the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) is considered to comprehensively measure disability populations, and to provide rates of prevalence at the national and state levels.  The Census concept ‘Core activity need for assistance’ is related to the ‘disability status’ information collected in the SDAC.  The purpose of the Census is to identify people with a ‘profound or severe core activity limitation’ using similar criteria to the SDAC.

Users wanting more comprehensive information about the disability status of people in Australia should instead refer to the publication Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2018. Despite the conceptual consistency of the measures in the Census and SDAC, abbreviating the set of questions used to collect data on disability, as required for the Census, reduces the number of people who can be classified as having a disability or to a particular level of disability, depending on the concept being collected. The publication, ABS Sources of Disability Information, 2012-2016 examines the different ABS sources of disability data. 

Related variables and glossary terms

Other ABS Sources

A measure of need for assistance with core activities is also collected in the ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC). While the concept is similar, the estimates differ due to different collection methodologies and population sizes. See more ABS statistics on Disability.

Unpaid assistance to a person with a disability, health condition or due to old age (UNCAREP)

Definition

This variable records the number of people who in the two weeks prior to Census night spent time providing unpaid care, help or assistance to family members or others because of:

  • a disability
  • a long-term health condition
  • problems related to old age 

This includes people who are in receipt of a Carer Allowance or Carer Payment. It does not include care provided through a voluntary organisation or group. Occasional help or assistance, such as shopping, is included if the person needs this type of assistance because of their condition.

Scope

Persons aged 15 years and over

Categories

CodeCategory

1

No unpaid assistance provided

2

Provided unpaid assistance

&

Not stated

@

Not applicable

V

Overseas visitor

Number of categories: 5

Not applicable (@) category comprises:

  • persons aged under 15 years

Question(s) from the Census form

In the last two weeks did the person spend time providing unpaid care, help or assistance to family members or others because of a disability, a long-term health condition or problems related to old age?

In the last two weeks did the person spend time providing unpaid care, help or assistance to family members or others because of a disability, a long-term health condition or problems related to old age?
In the last two weeks did Person 1 spend time providing unpaid care, help or assistance to family members or others because of a disability, a long-term health condition or problems related to old age?

People who receive Carer Allowance or Carer Payment should state that they provided unpaid care.

Occasional help or assistance, such as shopping, should only be included if the person needs this type of assistance because of their condition.

Do not include work done through a voluntary organisation or group.

More information

Person's unpaid care for others

No, did not provide unpaid care, help or assistance

Yes, provided unpaid care, help or assistance

More information

Additional information relating to the question: In the last two weeks did the person spend time providing unpaid care, help or assistance to family members or others because of a disability, a long-term health condition or problems related to old age?
In the last two weeks did Person 1 spend time providing unpaid care, help or assistance to family members or others because of a disability, a long-term health condition or problems related to old age?

People who receive Carer Allowance or Carer Payment should state that they provided unpaid care.

Occasional help or assistance, such as shopping, should only be included if the person needs this type of assistance because of their condition.

Do not include work done through a voluntary organisation or group.

More information

A long-term health condition is one that has lasted, or is likely to last for six months or more.

Unpaid care can include:
• bathing, dressing, toileting or feeding someone
• helping someone to move around
• helping someone to understand or be understood by others
• providing emotional support to someone and helping them maintain friendships and social activities
• helping with or supervising medication or dressing wounds
• cleaning, laundry, cooking, managing diets and preparing meals
• performing housework, light household repairs or maintenance
• managing household finances
• driving or accompanying someone to appointments or activities.

How this variable is created

The responses to the unpaid assistance to a person with a disability, health condition or due to old age question are captured automatically from the mark box responses on the Census form.

History and changes

Questions on unpaid work and care, including ‘Unpaid assistance to a person with a disability’, were first asked for the 2006 Census.

In 2021, the name of the variable changed from ‘Unpaid assistance to a person with a disability’ to ‘Unpaid assistance to a person with a disability, health condition or due to old age’.

Data use considerations

The question asked about care or assistance provided to another person to assist with daily activities because of disability, long-term illness or problems related to old age in the two weeks prior to the Census. No information on the amount of time spent on providing such unpaid care was collected. Further to the instructions in the question, the online form prompted respondents to include activities such as (but not limited to):

  • bathing
  • dressing
  • toileting and feeding someone
  • helping someone to move around
  • helping someone be understood by others
  • providing emotional support and helping maintain friendships and social activities
  • helping with or supervising medication or dressing wounds
  • cleaning
  • laundry
  • cooking
  • managing diets and preparing meals
  • performing housework
  • light household repairs or maintenance
  • managing household finances
  • driving or accompanying someone to appointments or activities

Care should be taken when comparing Census data on ‘Unpaid assistance to a person with a disability, health condition or due to old age’ with information from other surveys and publications. The Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers collects information on the number of carers and their characteristics. Definitions and methodology can differ between different statistical collections and may not match Census definitions.

The name of this variable changed in 2021, however the scope and content remains the same. If using time series data, the variable was previously called ‘Unpaid assistance to a person with a disability’.

Related variables and glossary terms

Other ABS sources

A measure of the number of carers and their characteristics is also collected in the ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers. While the concept is similar, the estimates differ due to different collection methodologies and population sizes. See more ABS statistics on Disability.