Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey methodology

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Reference period
February 2022



This publication presents results from the Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey, which was conducted throughout Australia between 9 and 18 February 2022.

This is the first cycle of the monthly survey since June 2021. The survey will run from February to April 2022.

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.

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 first monthly survey in February 2022, 3,418 participants who had completed the survey in June 2021 were approached to obtain 2,305 fully responding participants. While households were initially selected, we are now following the individual respondents, as people may move households over time.  

The people who responded, and those who were not available for the survey in February but indicated they would be available, will define the longitudinal panel for subsequent surveys.  

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 February 2022 survey include:

  • symptoms of COVID-19 and testing
  • precautions
  • frequency of activities
  • changes in job status
  • impact of COVID-19 on school or childcare attendance.

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

Interviews were conducted with any responsible person aged 18 years and over who was a usual resident of the selected household.

While some topics have been repeated with previous surveys, this collection methodology differs from the monthly iterations of the 2021 survey, which gathered information via online forms and telephone interviews. Where topics are comparable over time, comparisons are made, which are based on the weighted representative data for both surveys. 

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.

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 with the Downloads. 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 of the 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.


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