Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey methodology

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Reference period
April 2022


This publication presents results from the Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey, which was conducted throughout Australia between 19 and 28 April 2022.

This is the third monthly survey for 2022, which was previously conducted from April 2020 to June 2021. 

In 2022, the Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey is designed to provide further insight into how employment, health, education, and wellbeing of Australian households are being impacted by the continued COVID-19 outbreaks and restrictions.

The results for all past publications can be accessed by selecting ‘View all releases’ in the header of this publication.

This publication forms part of a suite of additional products that the ABS produced to measure the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Australian economy and society.

For more information refer to the Measuring the impacts of COVID-19 update.

Data collection

Sample/Panel design and estimation

The scope of the survey was people aged 18 years and over in private dwellings across Australia.

The coverage of selections included all Australian geographies (excluding very remote locations) to ensure national estimates could be produced. 

The person who completed household details became the person selected for the panel. Their participation in the survey is voluntary and respondents can opt out at any point. 

For the survey in April 2022, 2,385 participants were approached to obtain 2,094 fully responding participants, a response rate of 88% of the total panel.

While households were initially selected, we are now following the individual respondents, as people may move households over time. 

All sample included in April had responded at least once in the either February and/or March.   

The panel data was weight adjusted using the ABS Estimated Residential Population (ERP) projections as at August 2021. Benchmarks comprised of age, sex, and geographic variables. In addition, adjustments were made based on the number of persons living in the household.

Due to the anticipated changes in non-responding persons across the survey cycles, each survey sample is re-weighted to maintain consistent full population estimates across the surveys.

Data collection

The topics in the April 2022 survey include:

  • symptoms of COVID-19 and testing
  • COVID-19 precautions 
  • frequencies of activities
  • household finances
  • impact of COVID-19 on school or childcare attendance
  • job status changes and impact of COVID-19 on work arrangements.

Information was gathered via a 5–10 minute telephone interview.

While some topics are the same as in previous surveys, relying exclusively on telephone interviews differs from the past monthly iterations of the 2021 survey, which gathered information via both telephone interviews and online forms. Where results are compared over time, comparisons are made based on the weighted representative data for each survey.

Processing the data

Household living arrangements

The survey collected information from respondents about the household living arrangements of all people within the household. The categories are not comparable to those found in classifications related to Family or Household composition.

For this survey, people who live in the household full-time or part-time, whether they are related or not, are included. Dependants who are 18 years or older are regarded as adults, and visitors to the household are excluded.

Each category refers to private dwellings containing: 

  • Lone person - a person 18 years or older who lives in the household on their own.
  • Family with children - a household with one or more children (under the age of 18 years) usually resident in the same household. The family may include any number of other related or unrelated individuals usually resident in the household.
  • Family without children – a family based on two persons who are spouses or partners, who are usually resident in the same household and have no children under 18 years usually resident in the same household. The family may include any number of other related or unrelated individuals usually resident in the household.

There were households consisting of two or more unrelated people where all persons are aged 18 years or over, however the numbers were too small to publish. 

Current job status

The survey collected information about the current job status of all respondents, and whether the employment situation of anyone in the household changed in the last four weeks due to COVID-19.

Respondents were asked simple questions about their job situation, rather than the full suite of employment-related questions included in the ABS' Labour Force Survey (see the Labour Force Survey questionnaire, available from the Collection method chapter in the Labour force, Australia methodology publication). The results of this survey are, therefore, not directly comparable to Australia’s official Labour Force measures. 

For more information about measuring the labour market impacts of COVID-19 please see the educational piece Measuring the Labour Market impacts of COVID-19.

Data release

Margin of error

Margin of Error (MoE) describes the distance from the population value that the sample estimate is likely to be within and is specified at a given level of confidence. MoE's presented in this publication are at the 95% confidence level. This means that there are 19 chances in 20 that the estimate will differ by less than the specified MoE from the population value (the figure obtained if all in-scope dwellings had been enumerated).


The Data Cubes, containing all tables for this publication in Excel spreadsheet format, are available within the Downloads section of the publication. The spreadsheets present tables of proportions and their corresponding MoE. Totals may vary in some tables as some respondents did not provide an answer to all questions.


The Census and Statistics Act 1905 provides the authority for the ABS to collect statistical information, and requires that statistical output shall not be published or disseminated in a manner that is likely to enable the identification of a particular person or organisation. This requirement means that the ABS must take care and make assurances that any statistical information about individual respondents cannot be derived from published data.


The ABS would like to thank all participants for their involvement in the survey. The information collected is critical to informing the government response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia.

ABS surveys draw extensively on information provided by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated and without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to the ABS.

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