Latest release

Unpaid child care (CHCAREP)

Census of Population and Housing: Census dictionary
Reference period
2021

Definition

This variable records people, who in the two weeks prior to Census night, spent time caring for a child or children aged under 15 years without pay. It excludes care for a child given through an organisation or club. It includes people:

  • caring for their own children, whether they usually live with them or not
  • looking after other children in a family, such as grandchildren or children of relatives
  • looking after children of friends or neighbours.

Scope

Persons aged 15 years and over

Categories

CodeCategory

1

Did not provide child care

2

Cared for own child/children

3

Cared for other child/children

4

Cared for own child/children and other child/children

&

Not stated

@

Not applicable

V

Overseas visitor

Number of categories: 7

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 looking after a child, without pay?

    In the last two weeks did the person spend time looking after a child, without pay?
    In the last two weeks did the person spend time looking after a child, without pay?

    Only include children who were less than 15 years of age.

    Select all applicable responses.

    More information

    No

    Yes, looked after own child

    Yes, looked after child other than own child

      More information

      Additional information relating to the question on:In the last two weeks did the person spend time looking after a child, without pay?

      More information

      In the last two weeks did the person spend time looking after a child, without pay?

      Only include children who were less than 15 years of age.

      Select all applicable responses.

      More information

      Include the time the person spent looking after a child or children without being paid. Care of the person's own children, whether they usually live with them or not, should be included as well as grandchildren, the children of other relatives and children of friends or neighbours.

      Do not include care for a child given through an organisation or club. For example, if the person coaches a junior sporting team, or helps out at a school, then this is volunteering.

      How this variable is created

      This variable is created from responses to the unpaid care question on the Census form. There is minimal risk to the errors in data processing as the answers are captured automatically from the mark box responses. If multiple responses are recorded, the ‘Yes’ responses are retained and the ‘No’ response is rejected.

      History and changes

      The question on unpaid care for children was first asked in 2006.

      No changes have been made for 2021.

      Data use considerations

      Comparison with other surveys

      Care should be taken when comparing Census data on Unpaid child care with information from other surveys and publications. Definitions can differ between different statistical collections and may not match Census definitions.

      Age and Unpaid child care data 

      When analysing Unpaid child care data, users may notice older respondents who reported they cared for their own child. A small number of this group had their ages imputed, either due to the lack of respondent information or to conform to family processing rules. Imputation rules do not reference Unpaid child care as a factor, so there is no statistical correlation between the fields Age and Unpaid child care for this group. The remainder reported their date of birth and/or age last birthday, and the output Age remains as reported.

      The following scenarios are possible for this data: 

      • Both variables are correct (for example an older parent looking after their child)
      • Age is correct and the Unpaid child care response is wrong. Respondents may have misunderstood the child care question e.g. considered grandchildren, other children in the extended family to be their 'own children' or did not realise that the question referred to only children who were less than 15 years of age, or mistakenly included children (15 years and over) with a disability
      • Age is incorrect and Unpaid child care is correct 
      • Neither variable is correct

      Related variables and glossary terms

      • Household composition (HHCD)
      • Relationship in household (RLHP)