TableBuilder: Childhood Education and Care, Australia

Provides data on child care arrangements, early childhood education, families' requirements for formal care, working arrangements of parents

Introduction

This product provides a range of information about the release of microdata from the Childhood Education and Care Survey (CEaCS), Australia, June 2017 including details about the survey methodology and how to use the TableBuilder. Data item list and information on the conditions of use and the quality of the microdata, as well as the definitions used, are also provided.

Microdata are the most detailed information available from a survey and are generally the responses to individual questions on the questionnaire or data derived from two or more questions and are released with the approval of the Australian Statistician.

The CEaCS is collected every three years and is designed to provide a range of information about children aged 0–12 years and their families. The information collected includes the child care arrangements used by parents to care for their children, use of formal and informal care, cost and duration of the care and the attendance of children at preschool programs and other early childhood learning activities.

Further information about this product, and other information to assist users in understanding and accessing microdata in general, is available from the Microdata Entry Page. Before applying for access, users should read and familiarise themselves with the information contained in the TableBuilder, User Guide.

Apply for access

To apply for access to TableBuilder, register and apply in the Registration Centre.

Further information on access steps can be found in How to Apply for Microdata.

Further information

Further information about the survey and the microdata can be found in the various pages associated with this product, including:

  • A detailed list of data items for the 2017 CEaCS TableBuilder, available in the Data downloads section.
  • The Quality Declaration and Abbreviations sections.

Support

For further support in the use of this product, please contact Microdata Access Strategies on 02 6252 7714 or via microdata.access@abs.gov.au.

Data available on request

Data collected in the survey but not included in TableBuilder may be available from the ABS, on request, as statistics in tabulated form.

Subject to confidentiality and sampling variability constraints, special tabulations can be produced incorporating data items, populations and geographic areas selected to meet individual requirements. These are available, on request, on a fee for service basis. Contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or client.services@abs.gov.au for further information.

Privacy

The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS handles any personal information that you provide to us.

Survey methodology

General information about the 2017 Childhood Education and Care survey, including key findings, are available in the publication Childhood Education and Care, Australia, June 2017 (cat. no. 4402.0).

Detailed information about the survey including scope and coverage, survey design, data collection methodology, weighting, estimation and benchmarking, estimate reliability and a glossary can be accessed from the Explanatory Notes page of that publication. All published summary tables, in Excel spreadsheet format, can be accessed from the Data downloads.

File structure and content

This 'File Structure and Content' section provides important information that will assist in understanding the CEaCS TableBuilder.

It is recommended that the 'File Structure and Content' and 'Using TableBuilder' sections are read in full prior to using the CEaCS TableBuilder.

File structure

The 2017 CEaCS TableBuilder is structured across four levels. The levels are:

  1. Income Unit level
  2. Income Unit Care level
  3. Child level
  4. Child Care level

The Income Unit level represents households consisting of a single income unit, which in CEaCS is a proxy for the family. All data items at this level relate to the household, the family, or to the parents (father/mother) in the family. Each family is represented as one record on this level. The next level, Income Unit Care level, is linked to the Income Unit level by a one-to-many relationship, and is comprised of a record for each different summary type of care used by the children aged 0-12 years in the family. Therefore, a family may have multiple records on this level dependent on how many types of care are used by the child(ren). This level is organised by the summary care index item 'Type of care used by the family', which has been derived using items relating to types of care used by selected children (on the Child Care level) and aggregate items relating to types of care used by other children in the family. This level includes one or more records for each family - a single record will be present for a family where 'no care or preschool' was used.

The Child level is linked to the Income Unit level in a one-to-many relationship. The Child level provides a record for each child aged 0-12 years selected for the CEaCS survey (up to two children per family), for which detailed information related to their education and care has been collected. The lowest level, Child Care level, is linked to the Child level in a one-to-many relationship, and provides a record for each type of care used by each child on the Child level. Therefore, a child may have multiple records on this level dependent on how many types of care they use. The Child Care level is organised by the care index item 'All types of care', which includes separate formal and informal care types as well as summary care type categories (which are sub-totals or totals of the separate care categories). This level includes one or more records for each selected child - a single record will be present for each child where 'no care or preschool' was used.

For further detail on how the terms household, family and income unit are used in CEaCS, please see the Glossary. Further information about each level is provided below.

File content

Income Unit level

Information available on the Income unit level includes age, country of birth, labour force status, income and educational attainment of parent(s). It also includes household and family characteristics, and geographic identifiers, such as state/territory of usual residence. Families may comprise:

  • couple family with children aged 12 years or younger, or
  • one parent family with children aged 12 years or younger.

Each family is represented as one record, and the counting unit is 'families'.

Income Unit Care level

The Income unit care level includes the type(s) of care used by the family, the cost of care to the family, the number of children in the family who use care, and whether care was used 'in the last week' and/or 'in a usual week'. All families are represented on this level (a single record will be present for a family where 'no care or preschool' was reported) and the counting unit is 'care instances for families'.

Child level

The Child level contains the demographic characteristics of each selected child (up to two children per family), including age, sex, and country of birth. It also includes information regarding the child's formal education, informal learning and parental engagement, formal and informal care arrangements and unmet need for formal care or preschool. Each selected child is represented as one record and the counting unit is 'children'.

Child Care level

Information on the Child care level includes the type(s) of care used by the child(ren), number of days/hours care used and whether care was used 'in the last week' and/or 'in a usual week'. Also included is weekly cost of care after the CCB and/or CCR are deducted, and whether the CCB and/or CCR was claimed for the care. All selected children are represented on this level (a single record will be present for children where 'no care or preschool' was reported) and the counting unit is 'care instances for children'.

The following diagram shows a view of the four levels, as seen in TableBuilder, including the sub–categories under which the individual data items have been grouped. A complete data item list for TableBuilder can be accessed from the Data downloads.

TableBuilder structure, showing the four levels

Multi-response data items

A number of questions included in the survey allow respondents to provide more than one response. The data items resulting from these questions are referred to as 'multi–response data items' and are identified in the CEaCS TableBuilder data item list with <multiple response> appended to the data item name. Note that the sum of individual multi-response categories will be greater than the total population or number of people applicable to the data item as respondents are able to select more than one response.

For example, for the data item 'Parental involvement in informal learning activities with child last week (0-2 years)' shown below, the total applicable population is 936,500 while the sum of responses to individual categories is 3,576,100.

Example of multi-response data item

Special codes

Most data items included in the TableBuilder file include special codes for 'Not applicable', 'Could not be determined', 'Not stated', 'Inadequately described’ and/or 'Other' categories. These are shown in the data item list in the Downloads tab. For continuous items, TableBuilder does not include these codes when calculating sums, medians and means, and ranges. See the example provided under Continuous data items section (below).

The 'Not applicable' category generally represents the number of people who were not asked a particular question or the number of people excluded from the population for a data item when that data was derived (e.g. Year of Arrival in Australia is not applicable for people born in Australia).

The Income Unit level has data items which are specific to mother or father. For most of these data items the 'Not applicable' category represents no mother or father, respectively, in the income unit. However, there are a few mother/father data items where the 'Not applicable' category includes more than no mother or father in the income unit. For example, the 'Not applicable' category for the data item 'Weekly income of mother' refers to 'no source of income for the mother' or 'no mother in the income unit'. Similarly for 'Weekly income of father'. The 'Not applicable' category for the data item 'Weekly income of parent(s)' refers to 'no source of income for the parent(s)'. Note that the Family composition data item can be used to restrict a table to couple families or one parent families.

Continuous data items

The TableBuilder file contains a number of continuous data items which can have a response value at any point along a continuum. All continuous items are available under Summation Options (on the left hand panel in Data View of TableBuilder), where means, medians and ranges can be calculated.

Many continuous data items include special codes for certain responses (e.g. 999 = 'Not applicable'). Such continuous items have a corresponding categorical item that provides the ability to display data for the special code. Any special codes for continuous data items are displayed on the data item list.

When creating ranges in TableBuilder for such continuous items, special codes will automatically be excluded. Therefore the total will show only 'valid responses' rather than all responses (including special codes). Similarly, means and quantiles calculated for continuous items will only include 'valid responses'.

For example:

It can be seen on the data item list that the data item 'Age child first commenced long day care (in months) - continuous' includes the special codes '998. Could not be determined' and '999. Not applicable'. The data item can be selected from the Child level list of items (on the left hand panel in Data View) to create a table showing data for the special codes. The following shows the tabulation of the data item. The continuous values of the data item are contained in the 'A valid response was recorded' row. 'Could not be determined' includes children for which the age they commenced long day care is not known. 'Not applicable' includes children not currently attending long day care. To show the actual continuous values in a table, a range must be created.

Example of continuous item showing special codes

Here is the same table with a range applied to the continuous values (i.e. the 'valid responses') for the data item, available under Summation Options. Note that the numbers of children for the 'Could not be determined' and 'Not applicable' categories no longer contribute to the table.

Example of continuous item with ranges of valid responses only

Some continuous data items are available as categorical data items with values grouped into categories. For example, cost of care is available as ‘Cost of care in a usual week after the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate - continuous’ and ‘Cost of care in a usual week after the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate' with cost categorised into $25 ranges.

Populations

The population relevant to each data item is shown in the data item list and should be considered when extracting and analysing the microdata. The actual population count for each data item is equal to the total cumulative frequency minus the 'Not applicable' category.

Generally, all populations, including very specific populations, can be 'filtered' using other relevant data items. For example, if the population of interest is 'Children aged 4-12 years', any data item with that population (excluding the 'Not applicable' category) can be used as a filter - such as the data item 'Whether child attends school'.

While any applicable data item can be used for this filtering process, the CEaCS TableBuilder also includes some data items that have been specifically derived for this purpose. For example, the population data item 'Children aged 0-2 years' can be used rather than the 'Age of child 0-12 years in single years' data item. The specifically derived population data items are listed in the data item list and are included in the 'Populations' folder on the Child level of the TableBuilder product.

Using TableBuilder

For general information relating to the TableBuilder or instructions on how to use features of the TableBuilder product, please refer to the TableBuilder, User Guide (cat. no. 1406.0.55.005).

Detailed information about the 2017 Childhood Education and Care Survey (CEaCS) can be accessed from the Methodology page of the publication Childhood Education and Care, Australia, June 2017 (cat. no. 4402.0). In particular, the section titled 'Using the Data' on the Explanatory Notes page provides useful information on changes to the survey since the last iteration (in 2014).

More specific information relevant to the 2017 CEaCS TableBuilder, which should enable users to understand and interpret the data, is outlined below. Please read the 'File Structure and Content' section first, for information that will assist in understanding the Using TableBuilder content.

It is recommended that the 'File Structure and Content' and 'Using TableBuilder' sections are read in full prior to using the CEaCS TableBuilder.

Counting units and weights

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. The weight is the value that indicates how many population units are represented by the sample unit.

It is critical that the correct weight is selected when specifying tables to ensure that the estimates produced reflect the counting unit of interest. Using the incorrect weight will produce incorrect estimates.

The CEaCS has two weights: one for income units, and one for children. The income unit weights are applied to the Income Unit level and the Income Unit Care level to estimate income units or 'families' and 'care instances for families', respectively. The child weights are applied to the Child level and the Child Care level to estimate 'children,' and 'care instances for children', respectively. The terms 'families', 'care instances for families', 'children' and 'care instances for children' are also referred to as counting units.

The weight can be selected from the Summation Options on the left hand panel in Data View of the TableBuilder. The names of the weights, or counting units, for each level are highlighted below.

Summation Options and weights by level

The default weight in this TableBuilder is the Income Unit level weight, providing estimates for the income unit or 'families'. This default weight will automatically be applied to a table unless an alternative is selected - so care needs to be taken that the correct weight has been selected for the estimates you require.

In general, the Child weight is used if child estimates are required and the Income Unit weight is used if estimates of income units/families are required. Child Care level weights should be used when producing tables with data items from the Child Care level. Income Unit Care level weights should be used when producing tables with data items from the Income Unit Care level. As a general rule of thumb, the weight corresponding to the lowest level data item in a constructed table should be used to ensure the correct weights are applied. For example, if a Child Care level data item is cross-tabulated with a Child level data item, the weight for the Child Care level should be selected.

Using repeating datasets

The Income Unit and Child levels provide 'count' estimates of income units (as a proxy for families) and children, respectively, whereas the Income Unit Care and Child Care levels are repeating datasets. The 'one-to-many' relationships, described in the File Structure section, between the Income Unit level and the Income Unit Care level, and the Child level and the Child Care level, indicate the connection between these levels, i.e. an 'instance of care' is repeated (by type of care) so that multiple records with the same set of data exist for the same family, or child.

For example, a child may have used more than one instance of child care such as (i) a long day care centre, (ii) family day care and (iii) grandparents. Consequently, three records would be present on the Child Care level for this child, representing a repeating dataset, with each record containing information for a common set of data items, e.g. Number of days of care used, Number of hours of care used, cost of the care and so on. Also, the child will have summary records in addition to the individual care type records, described in the following section.

In this example, although the three records all relate to a single child, totals from the Child Care level are a count of child care instances for that child. Similarly, the totals from the Income Unit Care level are a count of summary child care instances for families.

More commonly, CEaCS is used to count the number of children or families who use a particular type (or types) of care, for a particular time period (either in a usual week, or in the last week). The data items that are key to extracting data in this way are specific to each level, as follows:

Child Care level

  • All types of care
  • Flag to indicate whether care used in a usual week
  • Flag to indicate if care used last week

Income Unit Care level

  • Type of care used by the family
  • Flag to indicate if any child in family used care in a usual week
  • Flag to indicate if any child in family used care last week

The following sections detail how to use these items to count care used by 'children' from the Child Care level, and care used by 'families' from the Income Unit Care level, for either 'in a usual week' or 'in the last week'.

Child care level and 'all types of care'

The 'All types of care' index item provides the structure for the Child Care level - i.e. the Child Care level provides a record for each type of care used by each selected child, using the classifications (or categories) provided by this item. 'All types of care' includes separate formal and informal care types as well as summary care type categories (which are sub-totals or totals of the individual type of care categories). Understanding how this data item works is critical as it can result in miscounts if used incorrectly.

Below are the output categories for the 'All types of care' item:

00 No care or preschool
01 Before and/or after school care
02 Long day care centre
03 Family day care
04 Occasional care centre
06 Grandparent
07 Brother/sister
08 Non-resident parent
09 Other relative
10 Other person
21 All care and preschool
22 All formal care
23 All informal care
24 Preschool
25 All care excluding preschool
31 Used formal, used informal, used preschool
32 Used formal, used informal, no preschool
33 Used formal, no informal, used preschool
34 Used formal, no informal, no preschool
35 No formal, used informal, used preschool
36 No formal, used informal, no preschool
37 No formal, no informal, used preschool
41 Used formal care only (disregarding preschool)
42 Used informal care only (disregarding preschool)
43 Used both formal and informal care (disregarding preschool)
52 Family day care and Occasional care
61 Brother/sister and Other relative
62 Brother/sister, non resident parent and other relative
63 Brother/sister, non resident parent, other relative and other person

Categories 00 to 10 and 24 provide counts of individual types of care (01 to 04 are formal care types, and 06 to 10 are informal care types). A child can have a response to one or more of these types of care and therefore these categories can be interpreted as a multi-response item within this data item. Note that individual types of care cannot be summed to provide a total number of children using care, as double counting of children who use more than one type of care will occur. Summary categories must be used to calculate totals (as described below).

Categories 21, 22, 23 and 25 are summary categories and provide totals for formal care, informal care and all care. These summary categories should be used to calculate totals, as they count a child only once across the summarised care types. If you sum formal care types or informal care types, the total will not represent the sum value for each child, but the number of instances of each type of care, resulting in double counting of children. This is particularly important when cross-tabulating 'All types of care' with another variable which may differ between different types of care for the same child (e.g. cost of care or days attended).

For example, consider creating a table cross-tabulating the type of care by cost of care in $25 ranges. If a child attended family day care at a cost of $50 and occasional care at a cost of $25, that child would appear once in the 'All formal care' row with a value of $75. This is the result that will be produced by using the category 21 to get a total of 'All formal care'. If categories 01, 02, 03 and 04 were summed together to create a 'total formal care' category, this child would appear twice in the 'total formal care' row, once with a value of $25 and once at $50, resulting in a double count of that child in the total. They would not appear with their true value of $75 for cost of care.

Categories 31 to 37 and 52, 61, 62 and 63, are additional summary categories that should also be used when calculating totals. For example, to determine how many children attend both some type of formal care (e.g. family day care) and informal care (e.g. grandparent care), but don't attend preschool, use category '32 - Used formal, used informal, no preschool'.This is because if you sum the individual care types (categories 03 and 06) to generate a total, then a child will appear twice in this total, resulting in double counting. Using category number 32 only counts the child once.

Three other summary categories have been provided - categories 41, 42 and 43. These are; '41 - Used formal care only (disregarding preschool)', '42 - Used informal care only (disregarding preschool)' and '43 - Used both formal and informal care (disregarding preschool)'. These differ from 34, 36 and 32, respectively. Category 41 combines 33 and 34 but ignores any preschool cost and hours attended. Similarly, category 42 combines 35 and 36, and category 43 combines 31 and 32. Categories 41, 42 and 43 should be used where preschool attendance is not of importance and is to be removed from the denominator of tables. Note that categories 41 and 42 should not be used in combination with the 'last week' flag items 'Flag to indicate if care used last week' (on Child Care level) or 'Flag to indicate if any child in family used care last week' (on Income Unit Care level). Categories 41 and 42 can be used in combination with the 'usual week' flag items 'Flag to indicate whether care used in a usual week' (on Child Care level) or 'Flag to indicate if any child in family use care in a usual week' (on Income Unit Care level).

Income unit care level and 'type of care used by family'

Similar to 'All types of care' found on the Child Care level, the 'Type of care used by the family' index item provides the structure for the Income Unit Care level - i.e. the Income Unit Care level provides a record for each type of care used by the income unit, or family, using the classifications (or categories) provided by this item. 'Type of care used by the family' provides summary care type categories only, as it combines information for all children aged 0-12 years in the family. It is also complex and can result in miscounts if used incorrectly.

Below are the output categories for the 'Type of care used by the family' item:

00 No care or preschool
21 All care and preschool
22 All formal care
23 All informal care
24 Preschool
25 All care excluding preschool
31 Used formal, used informal, used preschool
32 Used formal, used informal, no preschool
33 Used formal, no informal, used preschool
34 Used formal, no informal, no preschool
35 No formal, used informal, used preschool
36 No formal, used informal, no preschool
37 No formal, no informal, used preschool
41 Used formal care only (disregarding preschool)
42 Used informal care only (disregarding preschool)
43 Used both formal and informal care (disregarding preschool)
52 Family day care and Occasional care
61 Brother/sister and Other relative
62 Brother/sister, non resident parent and other relative
63 Brother/sister, non resident parent, other relative and other person

The categories of 'Type of care used by the family' are the same as the equivalent categories of the 'All types of care' item on the Child Care level except that they represent types of care used by the family, rather than by the child. The descriptions for these categories can be found in the section above for 'All types of care'.

A variety of summary care types has been provided by this item in order to provide a wide range of possible combinations of interest to data users. Note that a family may have records in one or more categories, depending on how many types of care have been used by a child, or children, in the family.

Using flag items

Both the Child Care level and Income Unit Care level require the use of 'flag' items to ensure that estimates are extracted correctly.

The 'All types of care' data item (on the Child Care level) and the 'Type of care used by the family' (on the Income Unit Care level) include responses for child care used both 'in the last week' and 'in a usual week', and many of the items on these levels are specific to one or other of these time periods. Therefore, it is essential to use the 'flag' data items to restrict the population to the time period that you require. For example, to generate frequencies for care used by a child in a usual week, select the data item called 'Flag to indicate whether care used in a usual week' and select the category 'Care used in a usual week' and use this as a filter to restrict the table population.

Note that it is imperative that the 'usual week' or 'last week' care flags are used when any data items from the Child Care level or the Income Unit Care level are used, regardless of whether the care level data items are used alone or with other Income unit or Child level data items. If these flags are not used, the data will be incorrect.

The flags for the Child Care level, and their categories are:

Flag to indicate whether care used in a usual week

  1. Care not used in a usual week
  2. Care used in a usual week

Flag to indicate if care used last week

  1. Care not used last week
  2. Care used last week

The flags for the Income Unit Care level, and their categories are:

Flag to indicate if any child in family use care in a usual week

  1. No children in the family use care in a usual week
  2. At least one child in the family use care in a usual week

Flag to indicate if any child in family used care last week

  1. No children in the family used care last week
  2. At least one child in the family used care last week

Examples: Cross-tabulating data items from different levels

The following examples demonstrate how to apply the information provided in the sections above to cross-tabulate data from different levels on the CEaCS TableBuilder. The four levels are:

  1. Income Unit level
  2. Income Unit Care level
  3. Child level
  4. Child Care level

Example 1: Child level by Child Care level.

When cross-tabulating across levels, in particular with care level items (either from the Child Care level or Income Unit Care level), remember there are several things to consider - what weight to use (i.e. what is your counting unit? Families or children?), what time period do you require (i.e. last week or in a usual week?) and what care types do you require (i.e. individual types of care or summary care items?).

For example, consider you want to extract the number of children, aged 0-5 years, who used formal care in the last week, by type of formal care.
In this example the counting unit is children, the time period is last week and you're interested in the individual types of formal care as well as the total for all types of formal care.

The following steps are taken:

  1. Choose the data item 'Age of child 0-12 in single years' from the Child level
  2. Create a recode item for children aged 0-5 years (see the TableBuilder, User Guide for detail on how to do this).
  3. Select the formal care types you are interested in from the data item 'All types of care' from the Child Care level, including the summary category 'All formal care', which provides a total count.
  4. As a count children is required, and the lowest level item in the table is from the Child Care level, select the 'Care instances for children' as the weight to apply, from Summation Options under Child Care level.
  5. Choose the item 'Flag to indicate if care used last week' from the Child Care level and select the category 'Care used last week' to restrict the population for the table to those children who used care last week. Using the flag item eliminates double-counting of children across the two time periods ('in a usual week' and 'in the last week') and the resulting estimates represent the number of children aged 0-5 years by type of formal care. Note in this example that the flag item has been included in the table as a 'Filter' item (though it may be added as a Wafer, or added directly to the Column or Row).

Note from the tabulation shown below, that the sum of the different types of formal care (Before and after school care, Long day care, Family day care and Occasional care) is greater than the total for All formal care, as a child may have used more than one type of formal care in the last week. This highlights the need to use the summary data items when total counts are required.

Example Table 1: Child level by Child Care Level

Example 2: Income Unit level by Income Unit Care level.

The table below is a count of families with at least one child usually using care, by state/territory.
In this example the counting unit is families, the time period is a usual week, and the types of care required are totals for all formal care, all informal care and preschool.

The steps to create this table were:

  1. From the Income Unit Care level, the summary categories All formal care, All informal care and Preschool have been selected from the 'Type of care used by the family' data item.
  2. This has been cross-tabulated by the data item 'State or territory of usual residence' on the Income Unit level.
  3. The lowest level data item used is from the Income Unit Care level, so the Summation Option 'Care instances for families' is selected to apply the correct weight for this level.
  4. In addition, the flag item category 'At least one child in the family use care in a usual week' (from 'Flag to indicate if any child in family use care in a usual week') has been selected for the time period required. By using the flag items and eliminating any double-counting of families across the two time periods ('in a usual week' and 'in the last week') the estimates represent the number of families by state/territory by type of care.
Example Table 2: Income Unit level by Income Unit Care level

Example 3: Income Unit level by Child level by Child Care level

The table below is a count of children aged 0–8 years who used care in a usual week, by state.
In this example the counting unit is children, the time period is a usual week, and the types of care required include individual care types as well as summary (or total) care types.

The steps to create this table were:

  1. Data items were chosen - 'State or territory of usual residence' from the Income Unit level, the population data item 'Children aged 0–8 years' from the Child level, and multiple categories (for individual care types as well as summary categories) from the 'All type of care' item on the Child Care level.
  2. The Child Care level weight was selected ('Care instances for children' from the Summation Options), because the lowest level data item used is from the Child Care level.
  3. In addition, the flag item category 'Care used in a usual week' (from 'Flag to indicate whether care used in a usual week') has been used to apply the required time period. By using the flag item and eliminating any double-counting of children across the two time periods ('in a usual week' and 'in the last week') the estimates represent the number of children by state/territory by type of care.

Note that, as in Example 1, totals cannot be created by summing individual types of care, but are available in the summary care categories for the data item 'All types of care' (i.e. All care and preschool, All formal care, All informal care and All care excluding preschool).

Example Table 3: Income Unit level by Child level by Child Care level

Example 4: Child level by Income Unit level data using different weights.

There may be instances when it is useful to extract estimates based on the higher level weight in a cross-tabulation. The following example demonstrates how to correctly interpret data output in this way.

Firstly, the table below demonstrates the usual scenario - the data items 'State or territory of usual residence' from the Income Unit level and 'Whether child attends school' from the Child level are cross-tabulated. The Child level weight is used as it is the lowest level in the table. The result is a count of the number of children attending school by state.

Example Table 4: Child level by Income unit level using the Child level weight

When cross-tabulating data items from different levels using the weight from the higher level, things are more complicated and care needs to be taken. Under this scenario, data items at the lower level effectively become multi-response data items at the higher level and, in addition, each category in a data item is tabulated as 'one or more occurrences with the particular characteristic(s)'. It is important to note that the totals in these types of tables indicate the actual estimate of Income Units (i.e. each Income Unit counted only once) while the component cells, which contain the multi-response concept, will be greater than the total.

Using the same table as above, but replacing the Child level weight with the Income Unit level weight, the result is a count of the number of Income Units (i.e. families) with at least one child attending school (see table below). If a family has a child attending school and a child aged less than 4 years this family will be counted twice. Therefore, 'Whether child attends school' is treated as a multi-response data item when the Income Unit weight is used. Note that this is evidenced by the sum of the categories by state being greater than the 'Total' categories.

Example Table 4: Child level by Income unit level using the Income unit level weight

Adjustment of cell values

To minimise the risk of identifying individuals in aggregate statistics, a technique is used to randomly adjust cell values. This technique is called perturbation. Perturbation involves small random adjustment of the statistics and is considered the most satisfactory technique for avoiding the release of identifiable statistics while maximising the range of information that can be released. These adjustments have a negligible impact on the underlying pattern of the statistics. After perturbation, a given published cell value will be consistent across all tables. However, adding up cell values to derive a total will not necessarily give the same result as published totals. The introduction of perturbation in publications ensures that these statistics are consistent with statistics released via services such as TableBuilder. For CEaCS, perturbation was introduced in 2014.

Data item list

A complete list of the data items available for use, including population and classification details, can be found in an Excel spreadsheet in the Data downloads section.

The data item list spreadsheet has five worksheets, with data items grouped by level, as follows: 

  • Contents
  • Income Unit level
  • Income Unit Care level
  • Child level
  • Child Care level

Users intending to purchase the 2017 CEaCS TableBuilder should ensure that the data they require, and the level of detail needed, are available and applicable for the intended use.

Conditions of use

User responsibilities

The Census and Statistics Act 1905 includes a legislative guarantee to respondents that their confidentiality will be protected. This is fundamental to the trust the Australian public has in the ABS, and that trust is in turn fundamental to the excellent quality of ABS information. Without that trust, survey respondents may be less forthcoming or truthful in answering our questionnaires. For more information, see 'Avoiding inadvertent disclosure' and 'Microdata' on our web page How the ABS keeps your information confidential.

The release of microdata must satisfy the ABS legislative obligation to release information in a manner that is not likely to enable the identification of a particular person or organisation. Therefore, in accordance with the Census and Statistics Act, a confidentiality process is applied to the data in TableBuilder to avoid releasing information that may lead to the identification of individuals, families, households, dwellings or businesses.

Prior to being granted access to TableBuilder users must agree to the following ABS Terms & Conditions for Microdata and TableBuilder.

Conditions of sale

All ABS products and services are provided subject to the ABS Conditions of Sale. Any queries relating to these Conditions of Sale should be emailed to intermediary.management@abs.gov.au.

Price

Microdata access is priced according to the ABS Pricing Policy and Commonwealth Cost Recovery Guidelines. For details refer to ABS Pricing Policy on the ABS website. For microdata prices refer to the Microdata prices web page.

Australian universities

The ABS/Universities Australia Agreement provides participating universities with access to a range of ABS products and services. This includes access to microdata. For further information, university clients should refer to the ABS/Universities Australia Agreement web page.

Citations

Information or data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics must be acknowledged responsibly whenever it is used. Citing, or referencing is important for several reasons, including acknowledging that one has used the ideas, words or data of others. Accurately citing sources used also allows others to find and use the original information. For information on how to cite ABS data refer to Help: How to cite ABS Sources.

Further information

The Microdata Entry Page contains links to microdata related information to assist users in understanding and accessing microdata. For further information users should email microdata.access@abs.gov.au or telephone (02) 6252 7714.

Privacy

The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS handles any personal information that you provide to us.

Data downloads

CEACS 2017 TableBuilder data item list

Previous releases

 TableBuilder data seriesMicrodataDownloadDataLab
Childhood Education and Care, 2014TableBuilder  
Childhood Education and Care, 2011TableBuilder Detailed microdata
Childhood Education and Care, 2008  Detailed microdata
Child Care, 2005  Detailed microdata
Child Care, 2002  Detailed microdata
Child Care, 1999 Basic microdataDetailed microdata
Child Care, 1996 Basic microdata 
Child Care, 1993 Basic microdata 
Child Care Arrangements, 1984 Basic microdata 

Glossary

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Actively involved

Active parental involvement refers to parents' behaviour during the activity. Actively involved parents take part in the activity with the child. For most activities, this excludes simply watching the child engaging in the activity. However, transporting the child to and from sport, outdoor games or other physical activities and remaining with the child during the activity, are included.

Additional formal care or preschool required

Includes instances in which children were already attending care or preschool and parents wanted them to attend more, as well as instances in which children did not attend any care or preschool and parents wanted them to attend. Does not include instances in which parents want to change service providers but not type or quantity of service.

Approved care

Child care providers that meet the requirements of the Australian Government quality assurance system, such as having a license to operate; qualified and trained staff; and meeting health, safety and other quality standards.

Before and after school care

Care provided for school aged children before school, after school, during school holidays and on 'pupil free days'. Estimates of children's attendance at before and after school care include children who attend only before school care, only after school care, or both.

Books

Includes all book types including fiction, non-fiction, text books, recipe and reference books. Also includes e-books or books on e-readers, such as a Kindle. Books borrowed from the library or elsewhere are also included, but audio books are not.

Child Care Benefit (CCB)

Assistance in the form of a payment made by the Australian Government to help with the costs of child care for families who use a child care service approved by, or registered with, the government.

Child Care Rebate (CCR)

The Child Care Rebate covers 50 per cent of out-of-pocket child care expenses for approved child care up to the maximum legislated amount per year per child. The Child Care Rebate is available to families who have used approved child care during the year, been eligible for Child Care Benefit and have passed the work, training, study test some time during the week the approved care was provided.

Computer

Includes portable and desktop computers (e.g. laptops, notebook computers), as well as devices with computer-type functions (e.g. tablets, iPods, smartphones). Also includes computers brought home from work and games consoles, such as Playstations and Xboxes.

Cost of care

Within this publication, cost of care is reported as the net cost of care to the parents after the CCB and CCR have been deducted.

Couple family

A couple family is based on two persons who are in a couple relationship and who are usually resident in the same household. To be included in CEaCS, a couple family must also have at least one child aged 0-12 usually resident. A 'couple relationship' includes same-sex couples.

Family

A family is defined as 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 or fostering; and who are usually resident in the same household. Only families with children aged 0-12 years are included in CEaCS. Note that while the word 'family' is often used interchangeably with 'income unit' in CEaCS, the income unit may not include all members of a family, as only information on parental income is collected. For example, a child aged 15 years or over living at home with their own income source is not included in the income unit, but is included as a member of the family.

Family day care

A type of formal care provided in the home environment of a registered carer.

Father

The male parent or guardian usually resident in the same household as the child.

Formal care

Regulated care away from the child's home. The main types of formal care are:

  • long day care,
  • before and/or after school care,
  • family day care,
  • occasional care.

Full-time/part-time workers

Full-time workers are employed persons who usually work 35 hours or more a week as well as those who, although they usually work less than 35 hours a week, worked 35 hours or more during the survey reference week. Part-time workers are employed persons who usually work less than 35 hours a week and who did so during the survey reference week.

Government establishment

Includes any preschool/kindergarten conducted or managed principally by a state, territory or federal government agency.

Household

A household may consist of a single person, one or more families, or one or more unrelated persons, who are usually resident in the same private dwelling. In CEaCS, where multiple family households were included in the survey sample, only one family per household was selected for enumeration.

Income unit

An income unit in CEaCS equates to a family of one or more parents and any other dependent family members, including dependent children aged 0 to 12 years. Information regarding income is collected only from parents in selected families and does not include income from any other family members.

Informal care

Non-regulated care either in the child's home or elsewhere. It includes paid or unpaid care by:

  • (step) brothers or sisters,
  • grandparents,
  • other relatives (including a non-resident parent),
  • other people such as friends, neighbours, nannies or babysitters and other organisations (e.g. crèche at gyms and health centres).

Informal learning

Unstructured learning activities that occur in daily life, such as reading, musical activities and physical activities.

Last week

The survey reference week. For interviews conducted between 11 and 17 June 2017, the reference week was 4 to 10 June. For interviews conducted between 18 to 24 June, the reference week was 11 to 17 June.

Long day care

A centre-based form of child care service providing all-day or part-time care for children.

Mean

The mean is a measure of central tendency often referred to as the 'average'. The mean of a variable is calculated by summing the values of all observations in a data set and then dividing by the number of observations in the set. The mean is a good choice of measure of central tendency when the data is symmetrically spread out from the lowest to highest value (i.e. evenly distributed). However, the mean is not a good measure when the data is unevenly distributed. For more information see Statistical Language!, 2008 (cat. no. 1332.0.55.002).

Median

The median is another measure of central tendency - it is the middle value that separates the higher half of the data set from the lower half. To calculate a median, the observations of a variable are ordered by value and the median value corresponds to the middle observation of that ordered list. When compared to the mean of a variable, the median can illustrate a skewed or uneven distribution. However, as the median only reports the middle observation of the data, it may hide the presence of extreme values. For more information see Statistical Language!, 2008 (cat. no. 1332.0.55.002).

Mother

The female parent or guardian usually resident in the same household as the child.

Multiple response

Indicates that more than one category can be chosen for a particular data item.

Non-government establishment

Includes any preschool/kindergarten conducted or managed by a non-government institution or organisation, including a Catholic school or preschool/kindergarten or an independent school or preschool/kindergarten.

Non-resident parent

A child's natural or adoptive parent who is not usually resident in the same household as the child.

Occasional care

Services usually provided at a centre on an hourly or sessional basis for short periods or at irregular intervals.

One parent family

A one parent family is based on a person who has no spouse or partner usually present in the household, but who forms a parent-child relationship with at least one child usually resident in the household. To be included in CEaCS, a one parent family must have at least one child aged 0-12 years usually resident.

Parent/guardian

Natural, step, foster or adoptive parents are considered parents in CEaCS. A guardian is a person who has the designated responsibility for a minor child, whether or not it is a legal or informal arrangement. In this publication, when the term 'parent' is used, this includes guardians.

Preschool or preschool program

A preschool program is a structured, play-based education program, delivered by a degree qualified teacher, primarily aimed at children in the year before they commence full-time schooling. The program may be delivered in a dedicated preschool, a long day care centre or a school.

Registered care

Child care provided by persons and institutions that are registered with the Department of Human Services as registered care providers.

Remoteness

The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) was used to define remoteness. The Remoteness Structure is described in detail in the publication Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 5 - Remoteness Structure, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.005).

School age

Whether a child is eligible to attend primary school is determined by age and varies by state or territory. The age requirements in 2017 are listed below:

NSW - aged 5 years or older on or before 31st of July 2017
VIC - aged 5 years or older by 30th of April 2017
QLD - aged 5 years or older by 30th June 2017
SA - aged 5 years or older by 30th of April 2017
WA - aged 5 years or older on or before 30th June 2017
TAS - aged 5 years or older on or before 1st January 2017
NT- aged 5 years or older before 30 June 2017
ACT- aged 5 years or older by 30th of April 2017

Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA)

SEIFA in CEaCS 2017 is a suite of four indexes that have been created from social and economic information provided by the 2011 Census. Each index ranks geographic areas across Australia in terms of their relative socio-economic advantage and disadvantage. The four indexes each summarise a slightly different aspect of the socio-economic conditions in an area. For each index, every geographic area in Australia is given a SEIFA score which measures how relatively 'advantaged' or disadvantaged' that area is compared with other areas in Australia. Information about SEIFA and how to use them is available in the publication Census of Population and Housing: Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), Australia, 2011 (cat. no. 2033.0.55.001).

Weekly income of parents

Total gross income received from all sources by the parent or parents in the family.

Work arrangements

Arrangements such as flexible working hours, or working from home, used by employed parents to assist them to care for their children.

Quality declaration

Institutional environment

The Childhood Education and Care survey (CEaCS) is conducted throughout Australia every three years in June as part of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) household survey program.

For information on the institutional environment of the ABS, including its legislative obligations, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.

TableBuilder files are released in accordance with the conditions specified in the Statistics Determination section of the Census and Statistics Act 1905 (CSA). This ensures that confidentiality is maintained whilst enabling micro level data to be released.TableBuilder files are released in accordance with the conditions specified in the Statistics Determination section of the Census and Statistics Act 1905 (CSA). This ensures that confidentiality is maintained whilst enabling micro level data to be released. Microdata is released using methods and systems that protect the confidentiality people, households, and businesses. For more information about confidentiality, see the ABS Confidentiality Series and How ABS keeps your information confidential.

Relevance

The CEaCS provides information about child care arrangements and early childhood education for children aged between 0–12 years of age. Information collected in the survey included: usual care arrangements (types of care, duration and cost); care arrangements used in the survey reference week (types of care, duration and cost); attendance at a preschool or preschool program (usually or in the survey reference week); need for additional formal care or preschool; early childhood education and learning activities.

As CEaCS was conducted as a supplement to the Labour Force Survey (LFS) persons excluded from the LFS were also excluded from this survey (see Explanatory Notes of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) for standard LFS exclusions). Exclusions included any non-residents visiting Australia (diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, members of non-Australian defence forces stationed in Australia, or non-residents otherwise visiting Australia), and residents of non-private dwellings such as hospitals, hotels and motels. Persons in all Indigenous Communities were again excluded from CEaCS in 2017.

Timeliness

The ABS has been conducting similar surveys since 1969. Until 2005, these were known as the Child Care Surveys. Data from the survey are released approximately eleven months after they have been collected.

Accuracy

The microdata contains finer levels of detail of data items than what is otherwise published in other formats, for example, in Childhood Education and Care, Australia, June 2017 (cat. no. 4402.0). For more information on the level of detail provided, please refer to the data item list in the Data downloads section.

Steps to confidentialise the data made available in TableBuilder are taken in such a way as to maximise the usefulness of the content while maintaining the confidentiality of respondents selected in the survey. As a result, it may not be possible to exactly reconcile all the statistics produced from TableBuilder with other published statistics. Further information about the steps taken to confidentialise the microdata is available in How the ABS keeps your information confidential.

Coherence

The ABS seeks to maximise consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to the survey. Sound survey practice, however, requires ongoing development and maintenance to maintain the integrity of the data and the efficiency of the collection. For changes between iterations of the survey, please refer to the Explanatory Notes. For a full list of changes made to the LFS, see Chapter 19.1 of Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001) and Information Paper: Forthcoming Changes to Labour Force Statistics (cat no. 6292.0).

After each Census, population estimates are normally revised back five years to the previous Census year. As announced in the June 2012 issue of Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0), intercensal error between the 2006 and 2011 Censuses was larger than normal due to improved methodologies used in the 2011 Census Post Enumeration Survey. The intercensal error analysis indicated that previous population estimates for the base Census years were over-counted. An indicative estimate of the size of the over-count is that there should have been 240,000 fewer people at June 2006, 130,000 fewer in 2001 and 70,000 fewer in 1996. As a result, Estimated Resident Population estimates were revised for the previous 20 years rather than the usual five.

Consequently, estimates of particular populations derived since CEaCS 2014 may be lower than those published for previous years as the CEaCS estimates have not been revised. Therefore, comparisons of CEaCS 2014 and CEaCS 2017 estimates of the number of children or families with previous years should not be made. However, for comparable data items, comparison of rates or proportions between years is appropriate.

Interpretability

Detailed information on the terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with the Childhood Education and Care Survey can be found in the relevant web pages included with this release.

Accessibility

Microdata products are available to approved users. Access can be applied for through the Registration page. Users should also familiarise themselves with information available via the Microdata Entry Page.

A full list of all available microdata can be viewed via the List of expected and available Microdata.

Any queries regarding access to microdata can be forwarded to microdata.access@abs.gov.au or phone (02) 6252 7714.

The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS handles any personal information that you provide to us.

Abbreviations

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ABSAustralian Bureau of Statistics
ACTAustralian Capital Territory
ARAAny responsible adult
ASGSAustralian Statistical Geography Standard
CCBChild Care Benefit
CCRChild Care Rebate
CEaCSChildhood Education and Care Survey
ERPEstimated Resident Population
HHHousehold
LDCLong Day Care
LFSLabour Force Survey
MOEmargin of error
NECECCNational Early Childhood Education and Care Collection
NSWNew South Wales
NTNorthern Territory
QldQueensland
RSErelative standard error
SASouth Australia
SEstandard error
SEIFASocio-Economic Indexes for Areas
Tas.Tasmania
Vic.Victoria
WAWestern Australia

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 4402.0.55.001.