The scope of ABS household surveys varies from survey to survey. The Census of Population and Housing has the broadest scope of all ABS household collections, and aims to collect information from all persons residing in Australia on Census night. The scope of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) is the civilian population aged 15 years and over, and while the Labour Force Supplementary Surveys (LFSSs) vary, their scope is generally narrower than that of the LFS. The target populations of Special Social Surveys (SSS) also vary.
Practical collection difficulties, low levels of response, high levels of sample loss and the small numbers involved have resulted in the exclusion of persons living in remote and sparsely settled parts of Australia from a number of household surveys (exceptions include: the Census of Population and Housing; the LFS; and some SSSs). The exclusion of these persons has only a minor impact on any estimates produced for individual states and territories, with the exception of the Northern Territory.
Some household surveys exclude all persons living in special dwellings from their scope. Special dwellings include hotels, motels, hospitals, prisons and boarding houses. Other household surveys exclude certain types of persons living in special dwellings: for example, institutionalised persons and boarding school pupils are excluded from the scope of most supplementary surveys.
Institutionalised persons are people selected in institutions such as hospitals and homes (including general homes, other hospitals, convalescent homes, homes for the aged, retirement homes, homes for the handicapped and orphanages), and prisons, apart from live-in staff that do not usually live in a private dwelling.
Coverage rules are generally applied in all household surveys to ensure that each person is associated with only one dwelling, and hence has only one chance of selection. The chance of a person being enumerated at two separate dwellings in the one survey is considered to be negligible. Some surveys remove certain dwellings from coverage but not from scope; the estimates still are intended to include these excluded dwellings. The estimation method used for the survey makes an adjustment to include these dwellings and persons in the final outputs.