Latest release

How Australians Use Their Time methodology

Reference period
2006
Released
21/02/2008
Next release Unknown
First release

Explanatory notes

Introduction

1 This publication presents statistics compiled from data, collected by both computer assisted personal interview and respondent diary completion, in the 2006 Time Use Survey (TUS). The 2006 survey was the third national time use survey conducted in Australia. Previous time use surveys were conducted in 1992 and 1997.

2 The major aims of the 2006 Time Use Survey were to:

  • measure the daily activity patterns of people in Australia to establish the current Australian time use profile;
  • provide information on differences in patterns of paid work and unpaid household and community work by sex and other characteristics;
  • measure the volume of unpaid household, voluntary and community work, in its own right and as a basis for a satellite account for unpaid household work;
  • provide information on the ways in which Australians balance work and family obligations;
  • provide information on time use and its effects on a wide range of other areas of interest, such as:
     
    • family dynamics;
    • caring for people with disabilities and older people;
    • caring for children;
    • education activities;
    • leisure activities;
    • fitness and health activities;
    • radio and television listening/watching;
    • use of other technology;
    • transport, public and private;
    • outsourcing of domestic tasks;
    • patterns of interaction with others; and
       
  • allow comparisons with the 1992 and 1997 surveys in order to identify changes in patterns of time use over time.
     

Conduct of the survey

3 Survey enumeration was conducted over four 13-day periods in 2006, chosen to contain a representative proportion of public holidays and school holidays:

  • 20th February - 4th March 2006;
  • 24th April - 6th May 2006;
  • 26th June - 8th July 2006; and
  • 23rd October - 4th November 2006.
     

Scope

    4 The scope of the estimates from this survey is all usual residents in private dwellings throughout Australia, excluding very remote dwellings. The survey collected information by personal interview from usual residents of private dwellings in urban and rural areas of Australia, covering about 98 per cent of the people living in Australia. Private dwellings are houses, flats, home units, caravans, garages, tents and other structures that are used as places of residence at the time of interview. Long-stay caravan parks are also included. These are distinct from non-private dwellings which include hotels, boarding schools, boarding houses and institutions. Residents of non-private dwellings are excluded.

    5 The survey excludes:

    • households which contain members of non-Australian defence forces stationed in Australia;
    • households which contain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments; and
    • households in collection districts defined as very remote or Indigenous Communities.
       

    Sample design

      6 The 2006 Time Use Survey results were compiled from a sample of about 3,900 households across Australia, sufficient to provide estimates for those characteristics which are relatively common and for sub populations which are relatively large and spread fairly evenly geographically. Because time use activity on weekend days is quite different to time use on weekdays, for 2006, the proportion of total diary days allocated to weekend days was increased compared with earlier time use surveys to reduce sample error in many total time use estimates by activity, and to enable better time use estimates to compare time use for both Saturday and Sunday individually and with the weekdays.

      7 The survey was conducted using a stratified multistage area sample of private dwellings (houses, flats etc.) in both urban and rural areas in all States and Territories, except for very remote parts of Australia. The sample was selected to ensure that each dwelling within each of the geographic areas covered by the survey had an equal probability of selection. Different states and regions were allocated sample roughly in proportion to their population so that accurate national estimates could be obtained. All persons usually resident within the selected dwellings were included in the survey. A detailed description of the sample design can be found in the Time Use Survey: User Guide, 2006 (Cat. no. 4150.0).

      Data collection

      8 Information was obtained in the Time Use Survey partly by interview and partly by self-completion diary. Trained ABS interviewers collected information, about the household and other members of the household, from an adult member of the selected household. The interviewer also instructed the interviewee on how resident adult household members (aged 15 years and over) were to record their activities (including their nature, timing and duration), in the diaries supplied, over two specified days. Instructions and two completed sample pages were also provided at the beginning of the diaries to guide respondents on the type of information and level of detail required. The layout of the diary was unchanged from the 1997 TUS.

      9 The diary was divided into two separate days, with fixed intervals of five minutes covering 24 hours from 12 am. Five columns with question headings organised responses into primary and secondary activities, for whom the activity was done, who else was there and where the activity took place. The diary included several questions at the start and end of each diary day relating to the individual. Diaries were collected by the interviewer on a return visit or mailed back to the ABS in a Reply Paid envelope.

      Data processing

      10 A combination of clerical and computer-based systems were used to process data obtained in the survey. It was necessary to employ a variety of methods to process and edit the data which reflected the different modes used to collect data from the interview and diary components of the surveys.

      11 Processing of the diaries involved sorting the reported activities into episodes, editing where necessary and recording episodes into a data entry system where a look-up list of activities and detailed category screens allowed for consistency in coding. Interactive range and logical edits were used to detect unacceptable values and ensure that fields were appropriately coded. The quality of diary coding was also regularly monitored. A more detailed description of data processing can be found in the Time Use Survey: User Guide, 2006 (Cat. no. 4150.0).

      Data items

      12 Basic demographic and socio-economic characteristics were collected. These included age, sex, birthplace, employment, education and income. The activity classification in the tables indicates the type of activity information collected. Further disaggregation is possible for some items depending on the participation rate. An activity episode can contain the following elements:

      • start and finish time;
      • primary activity;
      • secondary activity;
      • person or group 'for whom' the activity is done;
      • location, both physical and spatial;
      • mode of transport for travel items;
      • technology/communication code where relevant;
      • who the respondent was with;
      • age details of any household people present; and
      • health details of any household people present.
         

        13 A complete activity classification and more detailed description of data items are available in the Time Use Survey: User Guide, 2006 (Cat. no. 4150.0).

        14 Income is used in several tables as a characteristic of the persons for whom time use is being presented. Household equivalised gross weekly income is the income measure, derivable from TUS information, that best allows for comparisons of time use relative to income, because it allows comparison of the relative economic wellbeing of people living in households of different sizes and composition. For more information on equivalised income, see Household Income and Income Distribution, Australia, 2005-06 (Cat. no. 6523.0)

        Changes since the 1997 survey

        15 The 2006 Time Use Survey was designed to be as comparable as possible with the 1997 survey. However, user consultation identified some additional data items, and modifications to data items that had been used in 1997, to improve the usefulness of the survey results. Notwithstanding these improvements to quality and usefulness for 2006, a high level of comparability with 1997 survey results has been achieved.

        16 The activity classification used for the 1997 survey was reviewed with users and a number of minor changes were made, which have a negligible impact on comparability between 1997 and 2006 results.

        17 Changes to diary episode data items included collecting additional detail in 2006 (but do not affect comparability at the higher levels that remain consistent between 1997 and 2006):

        • additional communication/technology categories to encompass changes in technology and computer usage since 1997 and to allow for all technology use to be captured for primary activities instead of just the technology used for communication;
        • additional 'for whom' categories to distinguish between household members who were well and those who were sick, frail or had a disability;
        • an additional category in the 'spatial location' item for waiting in a car; and
        • the 'country, bush, beach' category for 'physical location' was separated into its individual components.
           

        18 Coding rule changes included:

        • in the 2006 survey, there was a difference in coding to the activity 'talking/reading/playing with children' compared with the 1997 survey. In 1997, when a respondent reported 'talking to family' and there were children under 15 and adults present, this activity was usually coded to 'talking for recreation and leisure' and no time was allocated to 'talking to children' unless it was clear that the child participated in the conversation. However, in 2006, episodes of 'talking to family' were split into two episodes to include the time for talking to adults and time for talking to children, when children under 15 were present; this change is likely to add to the time spent on the 'talking/reading/playing with children' category, and lessen time spent on general conversation. These changes should be taken into account when making comparisons with the earlier surveys;
        • in 2006, all episodes of 'talking to children' were coded as primary activities and 'talking to adults' was coded as a secondary activity as all child care activities other than passive minding were treated as primary activities;
        • communication codes were used more consistently in 2006 compared to 1997, for example, in 2006 no communication/technology codes were used for employment activities as this information was generally not provided in respondents' diaries;
        • the 'for whom' information was coded more consistently in 2006, for example, all personal care activities such as sleeping, eating or personal hygiene were coded as being 'for self';
        • travel to and from eating locales was coded to travel associated with purchasing in 2006 whereas in 1997 it was coded to travel associated with recreation and leisure. This change may impact on the comparability of these two activities between the 1997 and 2006 surveys; and
        • in 2006, there were changes to the way that purchasing episodes were coded. In 1997, purchasing a meal or alcoholic drink at an eating or drinking locale was coded to either eating or social/alcoholic drinking. However, in 2006, the first five minutes of episodes at the eating or drinking locale were coded to purchasing consumer goods and the remainder was coded to either eating or drinking. This should be taken into account when making comparisons with the earlier surveys.
           

        Activity aspects

          19 An activity can be categorised in many different ways, to reflect different aspects of time use. There is the nature of the activities, but also the intent or purpose. The inclusion of a 'Who did you do this for?' ('for whom') column in the diary of the 1997 and 2006 surveys provided direct information about the purpose of an activity. Activities which can be recorded as 'helping', 'caring' or 'unpaid community services' are not always reported at the 'intent or purpose' level. In fact, they consist of, and are usually described in terms of, a wide range of specific acts such as visiting, cooking, nursing, lending books, washing clothes, moving furniture, and organising fundraising.

          20 In 1997 and in 2006, activities were coded to their basic nature. This is identified as the 'nature of activity' classification. The 'for whom' item is then used in conjunction with the nature classification to derive the 'purpose of activity' classification. The 'purpose of activity' classification provides the maximum information on volunteering, caring and helping. The 'concordance of activities' information, shown in tables 1 and 2, is derived using the 'for whom' and communication/technology items in conjunction with the nature of activity classification to allow comparison across the three surveys. The totals for activities in tables 1 and 2 may vary from the activity totals in tables 3 to 21 as tables 1 and 2 use the concordance of activities to enable comparison with the 1992 survey, while the remaining tables use the 'purpose of activity' classification. All three classifications are correct for their appropriate uses.

          21 The Nature, Purpose and Concordance Comparison table in Appendix 1 shows the differences between average time for activities.

          Survey methodology

          Weighting

          22 'Weighting' is the process of adjusting results from a sample survey to infer results for the total population. To do this, a 'weight' is allocated to each sample unit, e.g. person-day, person or household. The weight is a value which indicates how many population units are represented by the sample unit.

          23 The 2006 Time Use Survey was conducted over four 13-day collection periods and population distributions appropriate to each period were used in the weighting process. Significant changes in the weighting methodology from that used in the 1997 Time Use Survey have been instituted to:

          • calculate more appropriate initial selection weights;
          • better deal with differences in non-response and sampling fractions for each State and Territory by region; and
          • utilise a finer level estimated distribution of the person and person-day populations.
             

          Person-day weights

          24 Person-day estimates obtained from the Time Use Survey were derived using a ratio estimation procedure. Estimates from the survey were obtained by weighting person-day responses to represent the in-scope population of the survey. Calculation of weights for person-days was carried out in two steps, the first being the calculation of the initial weight, and the second being the calibration to population benchmarks. For further information refer to the Time Use Survey: User Guide, 2006 (Cat. no. 4150.0).

          Person weights and household weights

          25 Person and household estimates obtained from the Time Use Survey were also derived using a ratio estimation procedure. Person and household estimates from the survey were obtained by weighting person level and household level responses, respectively, to represent the in-scope population of the survey. Calculation of weights for persons and households was carried out in two steps, the first being the calculation of the initial weight, and the second being the calibration to population and household benchmarks, respectively. For further information refer to the Time Use Survey: User Guide, 2006 (Cat. no. 4150.0). Table 19 was produced using the household weight.

          Benchmarks

          26 For the person-day and person benchmarking, two sets of population distributions (benchmarks) were used for each collection period of the Time Use Survey. Similarly, for the household benchmarking, two sets of household benchmarks were used for each collection period.

          Person-day benchmarks

          27 The first set of person-day benchmarks was at the State by region (capital city/rest of State) by sex level and was obtained by averaging population distribution estimates on each side of the time use collection periods.

          28 The second set of benchmarks was at the sex by age group by employment status by day type level. For further information refer to the Time Use Survey: User Guide, 2006 (Cat. no. 4150.0).

          Person benchmarks

          29 The first set of person level benchmarks are the same as those used for the person-day benchmarking. The second set of person benchmarks use sex by age group by employment status as for the second set of the person-day benchmarks, but without the split by day type.

          Household benchmarks

          30 The first set of household benchmarks was at the State by region level, and the second at the household composition (number of adults and children) level. Both sets were obtained by averaging resident household estimates available for periods just before and just after each of the four 2006 Time Use Survey enumeration periods. For further information refer to the Time Use Survey: User Guide, 2006 (Cat. no. 4150.0).

          Reliability of the estimates

          31 Two types of error are possible in an estimate based on a sample survey: sampling error and non-sampling error.

          Non-sampling error

          32 Non-sampling error can occur in any collection, whether the estimates are derived from a sample or from a complete collection such as a census. Sources of non-sampling error include non-response, errors in reporting by respondents or recording of answers by interviewers and errors in coding and processing of data.

          33 Non-sampling errors are difficult to quantify in any collection. However every effort is made to reduce non-sampling error by careful design and testing of the questionnaire, training of interviewers and data entry staff, and extensive editing and quality control procedures at all stages of data processing.

          Non-response bias

          34 One of the main sources of non-sampling error is non-response when persons resident in households selected in the survey cannot be contacted, or if they are contacted are unable or are unwilling to participate. Non-response can affect the reliability of results and can introduce bias. The magnitude of any bias depends upon the level of non-response and the extent of the difference between the characteristics of those people who responded to the survey and those who did not. For the 2006 TUS, some of the non-response resulted from logistical difficulty in aligning interview times with allocated diary days rather than the unwillingness of selected household members to participate in the survey.

          Steps to minimise errors

          35 Every effort is made to reduce non-sample error by careful design and testing of the questionnaire and diaries, training of interviewers and other staff, using detailed coding instructions and extensive editing and quality control procedures at all stages of processing.

          Sampling error

          36 Sampling error is a measure of the variability that occurs by chance because a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed. Since the estimates in the Time Use Survey publication are based on information obtained from occupants of a sample of dwellings they are subject to sampling variability. That is, they may differ from the figures that would have been produced if all dwellings had been included in the survey. One measure of the likely difference is given by the standard error (SE), which indicates the extent to which an estimate might have varied by chance because only a sample of dwellings was included. There are about two chances in three (67%) that a sample estimate will differ by less than one SE from the figure that would have been obtained if all dwellings had been included, and about nineteen chances in twenty (95%) that the difference will be less than two SEs.

          37 Another measure of the likely difference is the relative standard error (RSE), which is obtained by expressing the SE as a percentage of the estimate:

          \(R S E \%=\frac{S E}{e s t i m a t e} \times 100\)

          38 The RSE is a useful measure in that it provides an immediate indication of the percentage errors likely to have occurred due to sampling, and thus avoids the need to refer also to the size of the estimate.

          39 RSEs for estimates from the 2006 Time Use Survey are published for the first time in 'direct' form. Previously, a statistical model was produced that related the size of estimates with their corresponding RSEs, and this information was displayed via a 'SE table'. For the 2006 Time Use Survey, RSEs for estimates have been calculated for each estimate and published individually. The Grouped Jackknife method of variance estimation is used for this process, which involved the calculation of 60 'replicate' estimates based on 60 different subsamples of the original sample. The variability of estimates obtained from these subsamples is used to estimate the sample variability surrounding the main estimate.

          40 In the tables in this publication, only estimates (numbers, percentages, participation rates and means) with RSEs less than 25% are considered sufficiently reliable for most purposes. However, estimates with large RSEs (between 25% and 50%) have been included and are marked with a cell comment to indicate they have a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution. Estimates with RSEs of 50% or more are marked with a cell comment to indicate that they are subject to sampling variability too high for most practical purposes.

          Standard errors of proportions and percentages

          41 Proportions and percentages formed from the ratio of two estimates are also subject to sampling error. The size of the error depends on the accuracy of both the numerator and the denominator. The RSE of a proportion or percentage can be approximated using the formula

          \(R S E\left(\frac{x}{y}\right)=\sqrt{[R S E(x)]^{2}-[R S E(y)]^{2}}\)

          42 This formula is only valid when \(\large{^x}\) is a subset of \(\large{^y}\).

          Standard errors of differences

          43 The difference between two survey estimates (of numbers or percentages) is itself an estimate and is therefore subject to sampling variability. The SE of the difference between two survey estimates depends on their SEs and the relationship (correlation) between them. An approximate SE of the difference between two estimates can be calculated using the formula

          \(S E(x-y)=\sqrt{[S E(x) ]^{2}+[S E(y)]^{2}}\)

          44 While this formula will only be exact for differences between separate and uncorrelated (unrelated) characteristics or sub-populations, it is expected to provide a good approximation for all of the differences likely to be of interest in this publication.

          Significance testing

          45 For comparing estimates between surveys or between populations within a survey it is useful to determine whether apparent differences are 'real' differences between the corresponding population characteristics or simply the product of differences between the survey samples. One way to examine this is to determine whether the difference between the estimates is statistically significant. This is done by calculating the standard error of the difference between two estimates (x and y) and using that to calculate the test statistic using the formula

          \(\Large{\frac{|x-y|}{S E(x-y)}}\)

          46 If the value of the test statistic is greater than 1.96 then it is 95% certain that there is a statistically significant difference between the two populations with respect to that characteristic. Otherwise, it cannot be stated with confidence that there is a real difference between the populations.

          Interpretation of results

          47 Information presented in this publication is essentially as reported by survey respondents. There may be some error as a consequence of survey respondents reporting information that is in error (whether accidentally or because they are unwilling to report full particulars in some circumstances).

          Related publications

          48 The following publications from the 2006 Time Use Survey are expected to be released in February 2008:

          49 Time Use Survey: User Guide, 2006 (Cat. no. 4150.0)

          50 Time Use Survey, Australia, Confidentialised Unit Record File, 2006 (Cat. no. 4152.0.55.001)

          51 Further information on the ABS and its products and services is available on the ABS website.

          Appendix - comparison of the nature, purpose and concordance classification

          Show all

          All persons, primary activities

           Nature(a)Purpose(a)Concordance(a)
           Hours and minutes per dayHours and minutes per dayHours and minutes per day
          Personal care activities
          10:57
          10:57
          10:57
          Sleeping
          8:31
          8:31
          8:31
          Sleeplessness
          0:01
          0:01
          0:01
          Personal hygiene
          0:49
          0:49
          0:49
          Health care
          0:06
          0:06
          0:06
          Eating/drinking
          1:29
          1:29
          1:29
          Associated travel
          0:00
          0:00
          0:00
          Other
          0:01
          0:01
          0:01
          Employment related
          3:27
          3:27
          3:27
          Main job
          2:59
          2:59
          2:59
          Other job
          0:01
          0:01
          0:01
          Unpaid work in family business or farm
          0:01
          0:01
          0:01
          Work breaks
          0:01
          0:01
          0:01
          Job Search
          0:01
          0:01
          0:01
          Associated travel
          0:21
          0:21
          0:21
          Other
          0:02
          0:02
          0:02
          Education
          0:30
          0:30
          0:30
          Attendance at educational courses (excluding job related training)
          0:14
          0:14
          0:14
          Job related training
          *0:01
          *0:01
          *0:01
          Homework/study/research
          0:11
          0:11
          0:11
          Breaks at place of education
          0:00
          0:00
          0:00
          Associated travel
          0:04
          0:04
          0:04
          Other
          0:01
          0:00
          0:01
          Domestic activities
          2:18
          2:11
          2:15
          Total housework
          1:30
          1:26
          1:27
          Food and drink preparation/cleanup
          0:50
          0:47
          0:49
          Laundry and clothes care
          0:17
          0:17
          0:17
          Other housework
          0:22
          0:21
          0:22
          Total other household work
          0:41
          0:39
          0:40
          Grounds and animal care
          0:22
          0:21
          0:22
          Home maintenance
          0:09
          0:09
          0:09
          Household management
          0:10
          0:09
          0:09
          Associated travel
          0:04
          0:04
          0:04
          Other
          0:04
          0:03
          0:04
          Child care
          0:43
          0:40
          0:41
          Physical and emotional care of children
          0:16
          0:16
          0:15
          Teaching/helping/reprimanding children
          0:02
          0:02
          0:01
          Playing/reading/talking with child
          0:13
          0:12
          0:12
          Minding child
          0:04
          0:03
          0:03
          Visiting child care establishment/school
          0:01
          0:00
          0:00
          Associated travel
          0:06
          0:06
          0:06
          Other
          0:01
          0:01
          0:03
          Purchasing goods and services
          0:49
          0:47
          0:48
          Purchasing goods
          0:23
          0:22
          0:23
          Purchasing services
          0:06
          0:06
          0:05
          Associated travel
          0:19
          0:19
          0:19
          Other
          0:01
          0:01
          0:01
          Voluntary work and care
          0:11
          0:25
          0:19
          Support for adults
          0:04
          0:15
          0:09
          Unpaid voluntary work
          0:04
          0:07
          0:04
          Associated travel
          0:03
          0:03
          0:03
          Other
          *0:00
          *0:00
          0:03
          Social and community interaction
          0:44
          0:43
          0:43
          Socialising
          0:10
          0:10
          0:10
          Visiting entertainment and cultural venues
          0:05
          0:05
          0:04
          Attendance at sports event
          0:02
          0:02
          0:02
          Religious activities/ritual ceremonies
          0:05
          0:05
          0:04
          Community participation
          0:10
          0:09
          0:09
          Negative social activities
          **0:00
          **0:00
          **0:00
          Associated travel
          0:12
          0:12
          0:12
          Other
          0:00
          0:00
          0:02
          Recreation and leisure
          4:14
          4:13
          4:13
          Sport and outdoor activity
          0:21
          0:21
          0:19
          Games, hobbies, arts, crafts
          0:14
          0:13
          0:10
          Reading
          0:23
          0:23
          0:23
          Audio/visual media
          2:18
          2:18
          2:20
          Attendance at recreational courses
          0:01
          0:01
          0:01
          Other free time
          0:20
          0:20
          0:19
          Talking (including phone) or writing/reading own correspondence
          0:30
          0:30
          0:30
          Associated travel
          0:05
          0:05
          0:05
          Other
          *0:00
          *0:01
          0:05
          Undescribed
          0:07
          0:07
          0:07
          Total
          24:00
          24:00
          24:00
          * estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution
          ** estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use
          a. See paragraphs 19 to 21 of the Explanatory Notes for an explanation of nature, purpose and concordance activity measures compared in this appendix
           

          Glossary

          Show all

          Activities

          The description of particular tasks that were being done during a person's day.

          Activity episode

          Describes all the things which related to a particular activity; for whom, what else was being done, physical and spatial location, mode of transport used, communication or technology used during the activity and who else was there, at any particular time. A change in any of these elements identified a new activity episode.

          Activity priority

          Any activity recorded in the diary is coded to a different activity type depending on whether it was described in the first diary column 'What was your main activity' or in the third diary column 'What else were you doing at the same time'. If it was described as a main activity it is stored on the computer file as the item Primary Activity. If the description occurred in diary column 3, it was stored as the item Secondary Activity.

          All persons

          Refers to the whole population of the particular group being examined, for instance, the whole population of Australians, or of males, or of women in full-time employment. There are only a few activities that everybody does every day. Most activities are done by different numbers of people. In order to compare times between different countries or groups of people, the time spent on activities by the people who reported doing them was distributed over the whole population, and presented as average time spent by all persons.

          Average time spent

          The time spent by each person on a particular activity in a day was added to the time spent on that activity by everyone else. For 'average time spent by all persons', divide the total time spent on an activity, by the whole population (see All persons). For 'average time spent by participants' divide the total time spent on an activity by the number of persons engaged in that activity (see Participants). In an 'All persons' average time table, the time spent on activities by a particular population, for example 'males', can be added together. The time spent on activities by participants cannot be added together, as the average time calculation is based on a different population for each activity.

          Carer

          A carer is a person in the household specified as the provider of assistance to a person with a disability; or a person who identifies him/herself as the provider of assistance to a person with a long-term illness or disability living in another household.

          Caring for adults

          This activity category included physical care and emotional support as well as any other activities done for anyone outside the household who was sick, frail or who had a disability.

          Child

          A person of any age who is a natural, adopted, step, or foster son or daughter of a couple or lone parent, usually resident in the same household. A child is also any individual under 15, usually resident in the household, who forms a parent-child relationship with another member in the household. This includes otherwise related children and unrelated children under 15. In these cases in order to be classified as a child, the person can have no child or partner of their own usually resident in the household. For the purpose of asking about the presence of a child with disabilities in the household, a child is defined as aged under 15 years; for questions about use of child care, the relevant age is under 13 years.

          Child care activities

          A major activity classification group which relates to all activities done for children aged under 15 years. It contains activities such as the physical and emotional care of children, teaching, reprimanding, playing with and talking to children. It also includes minding children and visiting child care establishments or schools.

          Commercial or service area

          Includes banks, shops, offices and hospitals.

          Committed time

          Describes activities to which a person has committed him/herself because of previous acts or behaviours or community participation such as having children, setting up a household or doing voluntary work. The consequent housework, care of children, shopping or provision of help to others are committed activities. In most cases, services could be bought to provide the same activity (e.g. an exchange could be made of time for money). The activity classifications of domestic work, child care, purchasing goods and services, and voluntary work and care are all included in this time category.

          Communication/technology

          This was recorded when a person reported any type of communication or use of technology. It is used to describe how a person is communicating with others (e.g. in person, by phone) or the technology that they are using during the activity.

          Concordance of activities

          A concordance has been derived on activities to allow for comparison of data from 1992 with 1997 and 2006.

          Contracted time

          Includes paid work and regular education. Activities within this category have explicit contracts which control the periods of time in which they are performed. These activities, therefore, constrain the distribution of other activities over the rest of the day. The activity classification of employment related activities and education activities are included in this time category.

          Core activity limitation

          Limitation in one of the three core activity areas namely self-care, mobility and communication, because of a long term health condition.

          Couple

          A couple refers to two usual residents, both aged at least 15 years, who are either married to each other or living in a de facto relationship with each other.

          Couple family with dependent children

          See family types.

          Dependent child

          All persons aged under 15 years; and persons aged 15-24 years who are full-time students, have a parent in the household and do not have a partner or child of their own in the household.

          Disability status

          Whether has a disability, the level of core-activity limitation, and whether has a schooling or employment restriction. A disability or long-term health condition exists if a limitation, restriction, impairment, disease or disorder, had lasted, or was likely to last for at least six months, and which restricted everyday activities.

          It is classified by whether or not a person has a specific limitation or restriction. Specific limitation or restriction is further classified by whether the limitation or restriction is a limitation in core activities or a schooling/employment restriction only.

          There are four levels of core activity limitation (profound, severe, moderate, and mild) which are based on whether a person needs help, has difficulty, or uses aids or equipment with any of the core activities (self care, mobility or communication). A person's overall level of core activity limitation is determined by their highest level of limitation in these activities.

          The four levels are:

          • profound - always needs help/supervision with core activities
          • severe - does not always need help with core activities
          • moderate - has difficulty with core activities
          • mild - uses aids to assist with core activities.
             

          Persons are classified as having only a schooling/employment restriction if they have no core activity limitation and are aged 15 to 20 years and have difficulty with education, or are less than 65 years and have difficulty with employment.

          Domestic activities

          A major activity classification group (See Total housework and Total other household work).

          Eating and drinking locale

          Includes pubs, cafes, restaurants and food courts. Excludes canteens or eating areas in the workplace.

          Education activities

          A major activity classification group relates to formal education and training such as attending school, university and technical college courses, job related training (including time spent at professional conferences), studying and breaks at the place of education. As for 1997, but unlike in 1992, eating lunch or morning or afternoon tea at a school or other place of education is not included in Educational activities.

          Educational institution

          Includes preschools, schools, universities, TAFE, technical colleges, colleges etc.

          Employment related activities

          A major activity classification group which includes activities carried out in paid employment, or unpaid work in a family business or farm; job search activities such as travel to work or in the course of job search, and time spent in the workplace during work breaks. Looking at job advertisements in a newspaper, has been coded as job search. As for 1997, it does not include eating lunch or coffee breaks etc. In cases where respondents who were not in the labour force according to their interview, reported doing clerical and related work at home, and their spouse was self-employed, these activities were coded as unpaid work in a family business.

          Employed persons

          Persons aged 15 years and over who, during the week before the interview:

          • worked one hour or more for pay, profit, commission, payment in kind in a job or business, or on a farm (includes employees, employers and own account workers)
          • worked one hour or more, without pay in a family business or on a family farm
          • had a job, business, or farm but was not at work because of holidays, sickness or other reason.
             

          Family

          Two or more persons, one of whom is at least 15 years of age, who are related by blood, marriage (registered or de facto), adoption, step or fostering; and who are usually resident in the same household. The basis of a family is formed by identifying the presence of a couple relationship, lone parent-child relationship or other blood relationship. Some households will, therefore, contain more than one family. For the purposes of the Time Use diary, family members who are usually resident in the same household are referred to as 'in household' family while family members who live outside of the household are referred to as family 'living elsewhere'.

          Family types

          Families are classified to one of the following categories:

          • Couple only - two persons in a registered or de facto marriage who usually live in the same household.
          • Couple family with dependent children - a family consisting of a couple with at least one dependent child. The family may also include non-dependent children, other relatives and unrelated individuals.
          • One parent family with dependent children - a family comprising a lone parent with at least one dependent child. The family may also include non-dependent children, other relatives and unrelated individuals.
          • Other families:
            • one couple with their non-dependent children only
            • one couple, with or without non-dependent children or other relatives, plus unrelated individuals
            • a lone parent with his/her non-dependent children, with or without other relatives and unrelated individuals
            • two or more related individuals where the relationship is not a couple relationship or a parent-child relationship (e.g. two brothers).
               

          For whom

          In column two of the diary, persons reported for whom they were doing the main activity. This information was used to gain details on the purpose of the activity performed. The 'for whom' code was used to identify voluntary work, caring activities and helping activities.

          Free time

          The amount of time left when committed, contracted and necessary time have been taken out of a person's day. Social and community interaction and recreation and leisure activities are included in this time category.

          Full-time/part-time status

          For employed persons, full-time/part-time status is determined by the actual hours worked in the reference week or, as in this survey, the usual number of hours worked in a week in all jobs. For unemployed persons, it is the respondent's perception of whether the work sought is full-time or part-time. Full-time work is defined as 35 hours or more per week.

          Group household

          A household consisting of two or more unrelated persons where all persons are aged 15 years and over. There are no reported couple relationships, parent-child relationships or other blood relationships in these households.

          Helping, doing favours

          This category includes any activity that is performed for people outside the household who are not sick and do not have a disability.

          Household

          One or more persons, at least one of whom is at least 15 years of age, usually resident in the same private dwelling.

          Household equivalised gross weekly income

          Total household income that has been adjusted for the number of adults and children in the household using an equivalence scale. For a lone person household, it is equal to income received. For a household comprising more than one person, equivalised income is an indicator of the household income that would be required by a lone person household in order to enjoy the same level of economic wellbeing as the household in question.

          Household items

          Persons were asked if particular household items were present in their household. These items included the number of televisions, motor vehicles and whether they had a computer, dishwasher or a clothes dryer in their household.

          Income

          Regular and recurring cash receipts including money received from:

          • wages and salaries (whether from an employer or own incorporated enterprise), including income provided as part of a salary sacrifice arrangement
          • profit/loss from own unincorporated business (including partnerships)
          • investment income (interest, rent, dividends, royalties)
          • government pensions and allowances
          • private cash transfers (e.g. superannuation, regular workers' compensation, income from annuities, child support, and other transfers from other households).
             

          Gross income is the sum of the income from all these sources before income tax or the Medicare levy are deducted. See also Equivalised gross weekly household income.

          Labour force status

          Classifies all persons aged 15 years or over as employed, unemployed or not in the labour force (according to the relevant definitions), during the specified reference week.

          Leisure, culture or sport establishment

          Includes indoor sports centres, museums, cinemas and theatres, public swimming pools, gyms etc.

          Location

          Refers to where the person was when an activity was taking place. This includes a person's physical location e.g. at home, at work or in a street; and spatial location e.g. indoors, outdoors, or in transit.

          Lone parent

          A person who has no spouse or partner present in the household but who has a parent-child relationship with at least one dependent or non-dependent child usually resident in the household.

          Lone person household

          A household consisting of a person living alone. See also Non-family households.

          Major activity groups

          There are nine major activity groups within the activity classification. These are at the one digit code level. They are: personal care activities; employment related activities; education activities; domestic activities; child care activities; purchasing goods and services; voluntary work and care activities; social participation; and recreation and leisure.

          Main activity

          The person's description of an activity in the first diary column is designated as their main activity. In many countries, only one activity is collected for a time slot. Thus main activity tables are required for some comparability between countries. For many time periods, only one (the main) activity is described by respondents.

          Main English-speaking countries

          The list of Main English Speaking countries provided here is not an attempt to classify countries on the basis of whether or not English is the predominant or official language of each country. It is a list of the main countries from which Australia receives, or has received significant numbers of settlers from overseas who are likely to speak English. These countries comprise the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Canada, United States, New Zealand and South Africa.

          Nature of activity

          Describes what people are actually doing regardless of the purpose.

          Necessary time

          Includes activities which serve basic physiological needs such as sleeping, eating, personal care, health and hygiene. These activities are identified in the activity classification as personal care activities.

          Non-dependent children

          Persons aged 15 years and over who:

          • do not have a spouse or offspring of their own in the household
          • have a parent in the household
          • are not full-time students aged 15-24 years.
             

          Non-family household

          A household that consists of unrelated persons only. Non-family households are classified to one of the following categories:

          • Group household - a household consisting of two or more unrelated persons where all persons are aged 15 years and over. There are no reported couple relationships, parent-child relationships or other blood relationships in these households.
          • Lone person household - a household consisting of a person living alone.
             

          Non-school qualifications

          Non-school qualifications are awarded for educational attainments other than those of pre-primary, primary or secondary education. They include qualifications at the Post Graduate Degree Level, Master Degree Level, Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate Level, Bachelor Degree Level, Advanced Diploma and Diploma Level, and Certificates I, II, III and IV levels. Non-school qualifications may be attained concurrently with school qualifications.

          Not employed

          A combination of those people not in the labour force and unemployed. See Not in the labour force and Unemployed.

          Not in the labour force

          Persons not in the categories employed or unemployed as defined.

          Older people

          People aged 65 and over.

          One parent family

          A family which consists of a lone parent with at least one dependent or non-dependent child (regardless of age) who is also usually resident in the household. The family may also include any number of other dependent children, non-dependent children and other related individuals.

          Other free time

          An aggregation of activities such as relaxing, resting, thinking, worrying, drinking alcohol, smoking, enjoying memorabilia and interacting with pets.

          Participants

          Defined in respect of a particular activity, participants are those respondents who reported some time spent on that activity on a diary day.

          Participation rate

          The proportion of the whole population who reported on at least one of their diary days that they were taking part in a particular activity. Whole population refers to the population used for a table, or for part of a table. For example, where a table shows a disaggregation by sex, the male participation rate reflects the proportion of total males. Activity participation rates compare usefully between different populations within the table, but they do not present a similar proportion to the proportion of the population who report taking part in an activity during a longer reference period.

          For activities that take place on every day of the week, such as sleeping, the participation rate will be similar to a weekly rate. For activities that take place at regular intervals, such as sports events at weekends, the relevant weekday or weekend participation rate will be more realistic than the participation rate for the whole week. For irregular and occasional activities the participation rate cannot be used as an accurate representation of the population taking part in the activity. In this case the participation rate is likely to be either an overcount or an undercount of the real value because the activity occurs at irregular periods of time which may or may not have occurred during the time when the survey was conducted.

          Personal care activities

          A major activity classification group which includes activities such as sleeping, personal hygiene, health care and eating and drinking.

          Personal hygiene

          Includes getting up, getting ready, bathing, using the toilet and grooming.

          Personal medical care

          Includes taking medications, vitamins, applying dressings or ointments, and exercising for specific conditions.

          Primary activity

          See Activity priority.

          Private dwelling

          A residential structure which is self-contained, owned or rented by the occupants, and intended solely for residential use. A private dwelling can be a flat, part of a house, or even a room; but can also be a house attached to, or rooms above, shops or offices; an occupied caravan in a long-stay caravan park or boat in a marina; a houseboat, or a tent if it is standing on its own block of land. A caravan situated on a residential allotment is also classed as a private dwelling.

          Public place

          Includes streets, town halls, public gardens and churches.

          Purchasing goods and services

          A major activity classification group which includes activities such as purchasing consumer and durable goods, buying repair services and administrative services.

          Purpose of activity

          The reason why the person is doing what they are doing. For example, if someone is cooking for volunteer firemen, the purpose of the activity would be unpaid voluntary work. The nature of the activity is cooking. Purpose data is derived from the 'for whom' column.

          Quintiles

          Groupings that result from ranking all households or persons in the population in ascending order according to some characteristic such as their household income and then dividing the population into five equal groups, each comprising 20% of the estimated population.

          Recreation and leisure activities

          A major activity classification group which includes activities such as playing sport, walking, participating in games or hobbies, reading and watching television. Also included is other free time such as relaxing, thinking, smoking and drinking alcohol.

          Remoteness

          Within the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), 2001 (Cat. no. 1216.0) the Remoteness classification comprises five categories each of which identifies a (non-contiguous) region in Australia having a particular degree of remoteness. The categories range from 'Major Cities of Australia' to 'Very Remote Australia'. The degree of remoteness of each Collection District (CD) was determined using the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA). CDs have then been grouped into the appropriate category of Remoteness to form non-contiguous areas within each state.

          Sample loss

          Defined as those dwellings from which no interviews or diaries were obtained for reasons other than non-response. This occurred in cases where all persons in the household were excluded on scope or coverage, the dwelling was vacant, or the dwelling was under construction, converted to non-dwelling use, derelict or listed in error.

          Secondary activity

          See Activity priority.

          Self-assessed health status

          Respondent's perception of their current health status.

          Social and community interaction

          A major activity classification group which includes activities relating to social interaction participation such as attending a concert, a library or amusement park. Also included are attending sports events, participating in religious ceremonies and community participation such as attendance at meetings.

          Socio-economic status of area

          Person's area of residence ranked according to the 2001 Census-based Index of Disadvantage. Greater disadvantage is at the low end of the scale.

          Support for adults

          An aggregate covering both the physical and emotional care for adults and helping or doing favours.

          Time saving services

          Persons were asked whether their household used services such as house cleaning services, clothes care or laundry services and gardening services. They were also asked how many times, in the previous two weeks, anyone in their household had a takeaway meal or had eaten a meal in a restaurant.

          Time use diary

          The time use diary was used to collect information about people's daily activities. The diary was set out in columns requiring the respondent to enter what activity they were doing, who the activity was done for, if they were doing anything else at the same time, where they were and who they were with.

          Total housework

          The activity group Domestic activities has been further divided into two sub-groups, 'Total housework' and 'Total other household work'. Total housework includes food preparation, service and clean-up; washing, ironing and clothes care; and other housework such as indoor cleaning and tidying activities. The reason for this division is that previous time use studies have shown men's domestic work is mostly identified in 'Total other household work', and women's domestic work is mostly identified in 'Total housework'.

          Total other household work

          Includes domestic management, home and car maintenance and improvement, pet care and care of the grounds. Associated travel is not included.

          Travel associated with activities

          Whenever a respondent reported an episode of travelling in their diary, the travel was assigned to a particular activity group such as purchasing goods and services, depending on the activity following the travel episode, such as shopping at the mall or the preceding activity in the case of travelling home after shopping.

          Types of time

          The four types of time are:

          • Necessary time includes activities which serve basic physiological needs such as sleeping, eating, personal care, health and hygiene;
          • Contracted time includes paid work and regular education. Activities within this category have explicit contracts which control the periods of time in which they are performed;
          • Committed time describes activities to which a person has committed him/herself because of previous acts or behaviours or community participation such as having children, setting up a household or doing voluntary work. The consequent housework, care of children, shopping or provision of help to others are committed activities. In most cases, services could be bought to provide the same activity (e.g. an exchange could be made of time for money); and
          • Free time is the amount of time left when the previous three types of time have been taken out of a person's day. Social and community interaction and recreation and leisure activities are included in this category.
             

          Undescribed

          This category is used where a characteristic for an activity, such as specific physical location, was not specified by the respondent in the diary entry.

          Unemployed

          Persons aged 15 years and over who were not employed during the week before the interview and had actively looked for full-time or part-time work at any time in the four weeks before the interview and:

          • were available for work in the week before the interview, or
          • were waiting to start a new job within four weeks from the interview and would have started in the week before the interview if the job had been available then.
             

          Unpaid voluntary work

          Activities which are performed for community organisations without pay.

          Unpaid work in a family business or farm

          Worked for one hour or more without pay in a family business or on a farm. Also includes reported episodes where diary schedule does not indicate employment and there is no earned income but the respondent was clearly doing clerical or other work for (usually the spouse's) business. It also includes activities such as when the respondent reported 'pottering on the farm'.

          Usual Resident (UR)

          A person who lives in a private dwelling and regards it as his/her own or main home.

          Voluntary work and care

          A major activity classification group which includes physical and emotional caring activities for adults, unpaid work for organisations and assisting family, friends, neighbours and others.

          Weekday/weekend

          Monday to Friday are regarded as weekdays, Saturdays and Sundays as weekends. All persons were asked to complete a diary for two days, either or both of which could be weekdays or weekends. The seven days were spread through the whole population as evenly as possible. The type of day (weekday/Saturday/Sunday) was used in the weighting procedure for time estimates and the underlying populations (See Time Use Survey: User Guide, 2006 (Cat. no. 4150.0).

          Who with

          Other people present when an activity was taking place. In this survey, other people taking part in the activity are not identifiable. The emphasis was on all people within the area for which a person might be responsible. This means everyone at a person's home when that person reported being at home, and all the people accompanying him/her away from home. It is more likely that activities away from home are shared with the family or friends reported present. When the respondent is home, he/she may be reading, someone else watching television, a baby may be asleep and other children playing in the back yard; yet if the respondent is the only adult present there may be a monitoring role in respect of all these other people.

          Work breaks

          Includes taking a break for OHAS exercises, waiting for a job to start, equipment to arrive etc.

          Young people

          Persons aged 15 to 24 years.

          Abbreviations

          The following symbols and abbreviations are used in this publication:

          Show all

          ABSAustralian Bureau of Statistics
          cat. no.Catalogue number
          DVDdigital versatile disc
          hrshours
          minminute
          necnot elsewhere classified
          nfdnot further defined
          RSErelative standard error
          SEstandard error