Microdata: Household Energy Consumption

Provides data on household energy expenditure and consumption, and behaviours, perceptions and other characteristics related to household energy use

Introduction

This product provides information about the release of microdata from the Household Energy Consumption Survey (HECS), Australia, 2012. Included is summary information about the survey, details on microdata files and content, information about how to use the files, and conditions of use. Data item lists and information on 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. This level of detail is released with the approval of the Australian Statistician.

Available products

The following microdata products are available from this survey:

Further information about these services, and other information to assist users in understanding and accessing CURFs in general, is available from the CURF Microdata Entry Page on the ABS web site.

Before you apply for access, users should read and familiarise themselves with the information contained in this product and the User Manual: Responsible Use of ABS CURFs.

Apply for access

To apply for access to the CURF products, register and apply.

Further information

Further information about the microdata products can be found in this product

More information about the survey and related products can be found in the Household Energy Consumption Survey, User Guide, Australia (cat. no. 4671.0.).

Data available on request

Data obtained in the survey but not contained on the CURF 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. The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.

About the survey

Overview of the survey

The Household Energy Consumption Survey (HECS) collected information on household energy expenditure, consumption, behaviours, perceptions and other characteristics related to household energy use. Information is presented across key items of interest and also features longitudinal analysis on household energy efficient improvements.

The HECS collected information from a sample of 11,978 households over the period January 2012 to December 2012. Between January 2012 and June 2012, HECS was collected from households who participated in the second half of the 2011-12 Survey of Income and Housing (SIH). Households were asked for the same information collected in the SIH, as well as supplementary energy-related questions. These questions were continued for the remainder of 2012 on an additional sample.

Households where asked to volunteer for follow up questions approximately every three months following the household interview. Participating households where ask to complete a web-based questionnaire on their household's recent energy usage, costs and behaviours.

Some households provided a National Meter Identifier which could then be matched to data from the Business Survey of Residential Electricity Distribution (BSRED), Experimental Estimates. For consenting households this includes average historical electricity supply information for each quarter in 2010 and 2011.

User guide

Users of the microdata should also refer to the Household Energy Consumption Survey, User Guide, Australia (cat. no. 4671.0) for more information to assist in using the survey data, including concepts, definitions, methodology, data collection and processing, final sample sizes, and estimation and analysis techniques.

The remaining sections in this product provide information specifically relevant to using the microdata release files.

File structure

Record level types

Each of the HEC 2012 Basic and Expanded CURFs contain the following record levels:

  • Household level – contains information such as state or territory and area (capital city/balance of state) of residence, housing characteristics (including tenure and housing costs), dwelling characteristics, perceptions of energy use, energy sources, expenditure and consumption, household type and composition, household income by broad level source of income, household wealth, imputed rent, demographic information, and some information relating to the household reference person.
  • Income unit level – contains information such as income by broad level source of income, weekly rent payments, income unit type, selected housing characteristics (including tenure type and landlord type), child care use and costs, and demographic information.
  • Person level – contains information about age, sex, marital status, relationship in household, country of birth, year of arrival in Australia, family type, income unit type, labour force details, occupation and industry, education status, education qualifications and education institution attending, income by detailed source of income, barriers to labour force participation due to child care related reasons, and some information on personal assets. Person records exist only for persons aged 15 and over.
  • Loans level – contains information about the characteristics of each loan, such as the main purpose, security, amount borrowed, principal outstanding and weekly repayment.
  • Longitudinal level – contains items on household energy expenditure, consumption and behaviours that were collected during each follow-up period of the longitudinal component.

The first three levels are in a hierarchical relationship: a person is a member of an income unit, which is a member of a household. Levels four and five have a hierarchical relationship with the household level.

There are several identifiers on records at each level of the file. There are also weights on records at each level of the file to enable the production of estimates for the whole population.

A complete list of the data items available on each record level for the CURFs is available from the Data downloads section.

Record counts

The following table shows the number of records on each level of the HEC 2012 Basic and Expanded CURFs.

Record counts, HEC 2021 CURF
 HEC BasicHEC Expanded
Household11 97811 978
Income Unit14 71614 746
Person23 34123 390
Loans7 1147 114
Longitudinal8 7748 774

Further information on file contents

Children under 15

Children under 15 do not have their own person level record on the file. Information on the number and ages of such children was collected and is included on the household and income unit level files.

Using the CURF

The Using the CURF section contains more information about the file contents, including identifiers and weights and how to use them, as well as notes on specific data items and data item types available in the microdata release.

Using the CURF

About the CURFs

The HEC 2012 Basic and Expanded CURFs contain 5 separate record level files which are described, along with information about record level identifiers, in the File Structure section. Subject to the limitations of sample size, the data classifications used, and the conditions of use, it is possible to interrogate the data, produce tabulations and undertake statistical analyses to individual specifications.

The 2012 CURFs contain unit records relating to almost all of the survey respondents. The data are released under the Census and Statistics Act 1905, which has provision for the release of data in the form of unit records where the information is not likely to enable the identification of a particular person or organisation. Accordingly, there are no names or addresses of survey respondents on the CURFs and other steps, including the following list of actions, have been taken to protect the confidentiality of respondents:

  • For the Basic CURF, persons were removed from households with seven or more persons to reduce them to a maximum household size of six. For the Expanded CURF, persons were removed from households with nine or more persons to reduce them to a maximum household size of eight. This was done across a variety of ages and in ways that minimised the impact on family and relationship coding of other people in the household. This also resulted in the deletion of several whole income units, mainly comprising a single person record only.
  • The level of detail for many data items has been reduced.
  • Most income items, and some wealth, energy expenditure and usage, and loan data have been perturbed.
  • Some variables have had values ranged, collapsed or topcoded.
  • Changes have been made to some records to protect against identification. Amendments have been made to household level variables and/or person level variables such as geography, age, educational qualifications, industry and/or occupation.

As a consequence, aggregated data obtained from the CURFs are slightly different to that published in Household Energy Consumption Survey, Australia (cat. no. 4670.0). Information about comparisons of published estimates and estimates produced from the CURFs for key items and populations is available through the Reconciliation of the CURF Data section.

Steps to confidentialise the datasets made available on the CURFs are undertaken in such a way as to ensure the integrity of the datasets and optimise the content, while maintaining the confidentiality of respondents. Intending purchasers should ensure that the data they require at the level of detail they require are available on the CURFs; data obtained in the survey but not contained on the CURFs may be available in tabulated form on request. The Data Item List section contains information about the list of data items and categories on the HEC 2012 Basic and Expanded CURFs which is available as a datacube from the Data downloads section.

Contents of the CURFs

This section provides details of the files included on each of the Basic and Expanded CURFs.

HEC basic CURF file contents

The HEC Basic CURF distributed on CD–ROM or via the RADL contains the following files:

Raw data:

These files contain the raw confidentialised survey data in hierarchical comma delimited ASCII text format.

HEC12B.CSV contains all levels data

HEC12BH.CSV contains the Household level data

HEC12BI.CSV contains the Income unit level data

HEC12BP.CSV contains the Person level data

HEC12BL.CSV contains the Loans level data

HEC12BLN.CSV contains the Longitudinal level data

SAS files:

These files contain the data for the CURF in SAS for Windows format.

HEC12BH.sas7bdat contains the Household level data

HEC12BI.sas7bdat contains the Income unit level data

HEC12BP.sas7bdat contains the Person level data

HEC12BL.sas7bdat contains the Loans level data

HEC12BLN.sas7bdat contains the Longitudinal level data

SPSS files:

These files contain the data for the CURF in SPSS for Windows format.

HEC12BH.SAV contains the Household level data

HEC12BI.SAV contains the Income unit level data

HEC12BP.SAV contains the Person level data

HEC12BL.SAV contains the Loans level data

HEC12BLN.SAV contains the Loans level data

STATA files:

These files contain the data for the CURF in STATA format.

HEC12BH.DTA contains the Household level data

HEC12BI.DTA contains the Income unit level data

HEC12BP.DTA contains the Person level data

HEC12BL.DTA contains the Loans level data

HEC12BLN.DTA contains the Loans level data

Information files:

FORMATS.sas7bcat is a SAS library containing formats

SIH12B.SAS contains a SAS program to run the SAS formats

IMPORTANT INFORMATION.PDF describes the file contents of the CURF and information on using the CURF

COPYRITE1.BAT describes Copyright obligations for CURF users

RESPONSIBLE ACCESS TO CURFs.PDF is an acrobat file explaining CURF users' role and obligations when using confidentialised data

Frequency files:

The following plain text format files contain documentation about data item code values and category labels at each level, with weighted and unweighted frequencies for each value.

FREQUENCIES_HEC12BH.TXT contains documentation of the Household level data

FREQUENCIES_HEC12BI.TXT contains documentation of the Income Unit level data

FREQUENCIES_HEC12BP.TXT contains documentation of the Person level data

FREQUENCIES_HEC12BL.TXT contains documentation of the Loans level data

FREQUENCIES_HEC12BLN.TXT contains documentation of the Longitudinal level data

HEC expanded CURF file contents

The HEC Expanded CURF can only be accessed via the RADL or the ABSDL, and contains the following files:

Main files:

HEC12EH.sas7bdat contains the file of Household level data in SAS for Windows format

HEC12EI.sas7bdat contains the file of Income unit level data in SAS for Windows format

HEC12EP.sas7bdat contains the file of Person level data in SAS for Windows format

HEC12EL.sas7bdat contains the file of Loans level data in SAS for Windows format

HEC12ELN.sas7bdat contains the file of Longitudinal level data in SAS for Windows format

HEC12EH.SAV contains the file of Household level data in SPSS format

HEC12EI.SAV contains the file of Income unit level data in SPSS format

HEC12EP.SAV contains the file of Person level data in SPSS format

HEC12EL.SAV contains the file of Loans level data in SPSS format

HEC12ELN.SAV contains the file of Longitudinal level data in SPSS format

HEC12EH.DTA contains the file of Household level data in STATA format

HEC12EI.DTA contains the file of Income unit level data in STATA format

HEC12EP.DTA contains the file of Person level data in STATA format

HEC12EL.DTA contains the file of Loans level data in STATA format

HEC12ELN.DTA contains the file of Longitudinal level data in STATA format

Information files:

FORMATS.sas7bcat is a SAS library containing formats.

Frequency files:

The following plain text format files contain documentation about data item code values and category labels at each level, with weighted and unweighted frequencies for each value.

FREQUENCIES_HEC12EH.TXT contains documentation of the Household level data

FREQUENCIES_HEC12EI.TXT contains documentation of the Income Unit level data

FREQUENCIES_HEC12EP.TXT contains documentation of the Person level data

FREQUENCIES_HEC12EL.TXT contains documentation of the Loans level data

FREQUENCIES_HEC12ELN.TXT contains documentation of the Loans level data

Notes on specific data items

The data items included on the CURFs, and the categories within the data items, differ between the Basic and Expanded CURFs. The Expanded CURFs contain more variables than the Basic CURFs as well as more detailed data for selected variables. The data item list also shows the differences between the 2012 Basic and Expanded CURFs. Many of the differences result from the difference in the maximum household size permitted on the Basic and Expanded CURFs.

A complete list of the data items available on each record level for the CURFs, including relevant population and classification details, is available from the Data downloads section.

Many of the data items included on the CURFs are self-explanatory. The Glossary provides links to terms and definitions for most of the survey's data items. However, some items require further explanation.

Identifiers

There are several identifiers on records at each level of the file.

Each household has a unique random identifier. This identifier appears on the household level (ABSHID), and is repeated on the income unit, person, expenditure and loans level records relating to that household.

Each family within the household is numbered sequentially. Non family members, single person households and persons in group households have a sequential "family number" commencing at 50. Family number (ABSFID) appears on the income unit level and the person level. The combination of household and family number uniquely identifies a family.

A family has one or more income units and each income unit within the family is numbered sequentially. Income unit number (ABSIID) appears on the income unit level and the person level. The combination of household, family and income unit number uniquely identifies an income unit.

An income unit has one or more persons and each person within the income unit is numbered sequentially. Person number (ABSPID) appears on the person level. The combination of household, family, income unit and person number uniquely identifies a person.

A household may have one or more loans and each loan within the household is numbered sequentially. Loan number (ABSLID) appears on the loans level. The combination of a household and loan number uniquely identifies a loan.

A household may have one or more longitudinal records and each instance within the household is numbered according to the wave number. Longitudinal number (ABSWID) appears on the longitudinal level. The combination of a household and Longitudinal number uniquely identifies a longitudinal instance.

Geographic items

To enable CURF users greater flexibility in their analyses, the ABS has included Climate Zones, Socio-economic Indexes for Area (SEIFA) and several sub-state geography items on the Basic and Expanded 2012 CURFs. Conditions are placed on the use of these items. Tables showing multiple data items, cross-tabulated by more than one sub-state geography at a time, are not permitted due to the detailed information about small geographic regions that could be presented. However, simple cross-tabulations of population counts by sub-state geographic data items may be useful for clients in order to determine which geography item to include in their primary analysis, and such output is permitted.

The climate zone classification used for HECS is based on the eight broad climatic zones defined by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB). Each zone is based on humidity, temperature and rainfall characteristics. For more information please see paragraphs 18 to 20 of the Explanatory Notes, Household Energy Consumption Survey, Australia: Summary of Results (cat. no. 4670.0.).

Income items

The person level records contain detailed information on income by source. The income unit and household level records contain information at a broader level. If detailed information is required for income analyses at the income unit or household level, this can be calculated by aggregating the person level information for each income unit or household. Income is recorded on both a 'current' and a 'previous financial year' basis. For more information about current and previous financial year income, see Part 1.2 'Current, annual and weekly income' in Household Energy Consumption Survey, User Guide, Australia (cat. no. 4671.0).

'Total current weekly income from all sources'

The publications relating to the 2012 HECS use this measure of income. It is consistent with the measure of income used in the 2011-12 SIH.

The component items of "Total current weekly income from all sources" are:

  • Current weekly cash employee income from main job (incl. salary sacrifice and bonuses)
    • Total current weekly employee income (incl overtime, salary sacrifice, bonuses and STRP)
      • Current weekly cash employee income from main job (incl. salary sacrifice)
      • Total current weekly non cash benefits from employer (non-salary sacrifice)
      • Current weekly employee cash income from bonuses
      • Expected current weekly paid overtime this financial year
    • Current weekly employee income from second job
    • Current weekly income from paid-out unused leave
    • Current weekly income from redundancy pay
    • Other wage and salary income – reported as other sources
  • Current weekly cash income from own unincorporated business (reported)
  • Total current weekly income from government pensions and allowances
    • Current weekly income from Austudy/Abstudy
    • Current weekly income from age pension
    • Current weekly income from carer allowance
    • Current weekly income from carer payment
    • Current weekly income from carer supplement
    • Current weekly income from clean energy advance
    • Current weekly income from disability pension, (DVA)
    • Current weekly income from disability support pension
    • Current weekly income from education tax refund
    • Current weekly income from family tax benefits (modelled)
    • Current weekly income from Baby Bonus
    • Current weekly income from Paid Parental Leave
    • Current weekly income from Newstart allowance
    • Current weekly income from other government pensions and allowances
    • Current weekly income from overseas pensions and benefits
    • Current weekly income from parenting payment
    • Current weekly income from partner allowance
    • Current weekly income from service pension (DVA)
    • Current weekly income from sickness allowance
    • Current weekly income from special benefit
    • Current weekly income from utilities allowance
    • Current weekly income from war widow's pension (DVA)
    • Current weekly income from widow allowance
    • Current weekly income from wife pension
    • Current weekly income from youth allowance
    • Current weekly income from pension supplement
    • Current weekly income from seniors supplement
  • Total current weekly income from investments (incl. silent partner income, shares/trusts net of expenses)
    • Current weekly income from financial institution account interest (excl offset accounts) (reported)
    • Current weekly income from interest on debentures and bonds (reported)
    • Current weekly income from interest on loans to persons not in this household (reported)
    • Current weekly income from non-residential property (reported)
    • Current weekly income from residential property (reported)
    • Current weekly income from royalties (reported)
    • Current weekly income as beneficiary of a trust (excl. public unit trusts and employment income)
    • Current weekly income as silent partner
    • Current weekly income from other financial investments (reported)
    • Current weekly income from dividends from own incorporated businesses and trusts (reported)
    • Current weekly income from offset accounts
    • Current weekly net income from public unit trusts
    • Current weekly net income from dividends from shares
  • Total current weekly income from other sources (incl. workers' compensation lump sums)
    • Total current weekly income from other regular sources
      • Current weekly income from accident compensation and sickness insurance
      • Current weekly income from child support/maintenance
      • Current weekly income from family members not living in the household
      • Current weekly income from regular workers' compensation
      • Current weekly income from scholarships
      • Current weekly income from superannuation/annuity/private pension
      • Current weekly income from regular sources n.e.c
    • Current weekly income from workers' compensation lump sum.

Previous financial year exclusion flag

The previous financial year exclusion flag at the person level (FINSCOPE) has a value of 1 for females whose family situation changed since the last financial year at time of interview (by moving in with a new partner, separating from a partner or becoming widowed) and for persons who arrived in Australia during 2012. At the income unit level a value of 1 in the previous financial year exclusion flag (FINSCOPU) indicates income units where the reference person or spouse has FINSCOPE=1. At the household level the previous financial year exclusion flag (FINSCOPH) indicates households where the reference person or spouse of one of the income units in the household has FINSCOPE=1. Users wishing to analyse previous financial year income data may wish to exclude such persons from their analysis (by limiting their analysis to records where FINSCOPE=2).

Assets and liabilities

The survey collected information on a comprehensive range of household assets and liabilities to enable analysis of net worth and its components across households. Similar data was collected in the Survey of Income and Housing.

Household energy expenditure and consumption

Weekly energy expenditure is included for all households. Households that were unable or refused to supply energy expenditure information had their expenditure imputed. please see Data processing methods, Survey design and operation, Household Energy Consumption Survey, User Guide, Australia (cat. no. 4671.0) for more information. Detailed expenditure and consumption on electricity, mains gas and bottle gas are only available to households who had their billing details on hand during the interview.

Housing costs

Weekly housing costs used in the 2012 HECS are consistent with those used in the 2011-12 SIH. For further information refer to the section 'Using the CURF' in Microdata: Income and Housing, Australia, 2011–12 (cat. no. 6541.0.30.001).

Imputed rent

The CURFs include estimates of imputed rent for owner-occupied dwellings. The imputation has also been applied to other housing tenures in order to value the in-kind benefit conferred to households paying subsidised rent or households occupying their dwelling rent free. Including imputed rent as part of household income and expenditure conceptually treats owner-occupiers as if they were renting their home from themselves, thus simultaneously incurring rental expenditure and earning rental income. Inclusion of imputed rent estimates in income measures is in accord with international standards for household income statistics, and provides a broader picture of the economic well-being of owner-occupier households and their social and economic circumstances relative to other households.

The imputed rent estimates have been included on the CURFs. Two household level variables are included, 'Weekly gross imputed rent' and 'Weekly HH income from net imputed rent'. Gross imputed rent is the market value of the rental equivalent, and has been estimated using hedonic regression. Net imputed rent for owner occupiers has been derived by subtracting the housing costs normally paid by landlords (i.e. rates, mortgage interest, insurance, repairs and maintenance) from gross imputed rent. Income totals incorporating the imputed rent estimates have not been included. Users wishing to analyse the effect of imputed rent on income should add net imputed rent to household income. When analysing household expenditure, gross imputed rent should be added and any housing costs normally paid by a landlord should be deducted. For further information refer to Part 1.12 'Imputed rent estimates' in Survey of Income and Housing, User Guide, Australia, 2011–12 (cat. no. 6553.0).

Payments to non household members

The financial resources available to certain persons can be affected by regular payments that they may make to provide support for persons outside the household. Information on payments for child support, alimony to former spouse, and payments to family members not in the household have been included on the CURFs.

Imputation flags

Imputation flags exist for each module in the questionnaire, rather than for specific data items. A value of 1 (partially imputed) indicates that at least one question in that module was imputed. Referring to the contents of the questionnaire module can provide an indication of whether particular data items may have included imputed data. The number of flags with a value of 1 for a particular record provides an indication of the extent of imputation in that record. A value of 2 (fully imputed) indicates that a person record has been fully imputed. In households where one or more people did not respond, person records were imputed if the non-responding persons was not a 'significant person'.

Multiple response data items

The energy and child care topics contains a number of multiple response data items on the CURF. In these instances respondents were able to select one or more response categories, and the output data items are multi-response in nature. This section describes these items and provides some information on how to use them.

On the Basic and Expanded CURFs, the data items are:

Household level

  • 'All sources of energy used in dwelling' (ENGY01A--ENGY01F)
  • 'All sources of energy used to heat dwelling (AHEATBCA--AHEATBCE basic, ENGY18A--ENGY18F expanded)
  • 'Where insulation is installed in dwelling' (DINSULCA--DINSULCC)
  • 'Window treatments in dwelling' (ENEF04A--ENEF04H)
  • 'Types of fuel purchased for motor vehicles in household in the last 2 weeks' (VEHFUELA--VEHFUELC)
  • 'Actions members of household currently taking to reduce energy use' ('ENEF18A--ENEF18I)
  • 'Type of modification made to dwelling in previous 2 years or since bought dwelling if within 2 years' (ENEF6CA--ENEF6CJ)
  • 'Whether household replaced any heaters, coolers or major whitegoods in selected dwelling in previous 2 years or since bought dwelling if within 2 years' (ENEF08A--ENEF08C)
  • 'Type of modification to selected dwelling intended in the next 12 months' (ENEF12A--ENEF12L)
  • 'Whether household intends to replace any heaters, coolers or major whitegoods in selected dwelling in next 12 months' (ENEF14A--ENEF14C)
  • 'Type of heating equipment used during winter' (HEATTYPA--HEATTYPG)
  • 'Type of cooling equipment used during summer' (COOLTYPA--COOLTYPG)

Income unit level

  • 'Types of formal child care income unit used in the last 4 weeks' (TYPFCIUA--TYPFCIUF)
  • 'Types of informal child care income unit used in the last 4 weeks' (TYICIUCA--TYICIUCH)

Person level

  • 'All reasons lack of child care prevents parent from working' (UNMET07A--UNMET07J)

Longitudinal level

  • 'All sources of energy used in dwelling (LNGSENGA--LNGSENGF)
  • 'Type of modification made to dwelling in the past 3 months' (WFEEMODA--WFEEMODN)
  • 'Type of modification to selected dwelling intended in the next 12 months' (WFMODINA--WFMODINN)
  • 'Actions household is currently taking to reduce energy use' (WFACTNA--WFACTNH)

These items capture multiple responses where a person provides more than one type of child care. The first response is captured in the first, or 'A', position (e.g. ENGY01A), and additional responses are in the second and then third and higher, or 'B' and 'C' and higher, positions (e.g. ENGY01B, ENGY01C). If only one response is possible, for example 'none of the above' then this response may also appear in the 'A' position. If a data item does not apply (e.g. an income unit does not use child care) then a value of 9 or 99 for 'Not applicable' will appear in the first position (e.g.ENGY01A). The 'Null response' (value of 0 or 00) is a default code and should be ignored. All of these categories should be used in analysis. For specific information on the number of item repeats and the category labels and values refer to the data item list available from the Data downloads section.

Reliability of estimates

Use of weights

As the survey was conducted on a sample of private households in Australia, it is important to take account of the method of sample selection when deriving estimates from the CURF. This is particularly important as a person's chance of selection in the survey varied depending on the state or territory in which the person lived. If these chances of selection are not accounted for, by use of appropriate weights, the results will be biased.

Each household, income unit, person and loan record contains a weight. This weight indicates how many population units are represented by the sample unit.

Weights for each member of the household are the same as the weight for the household itself. Information for sampled households can be multiplied by the weights to produce estimates for the whole population. For further information on the weighting process, refer to Part 2.6 'Benchmarks and weighting of survey results' in Household Energy Consumption Survey, User Guide, Australia (cat. no. 4671.0).

If estimates of population sub groups are to be derived from the CURF, it is essential that they are calculated by adding the weights of persons/households in each category and not just by counting the number in each category. If each person's/household's weight were to be ignored when analysing the data to draw inferences about the population, then no account would be taken of a person's/household's chance of selection or of different response rates across population groups, with the result that the estimates produced could be seriously biased. The application of weights ensures that estimates will conform to an independently estimated distribution of the population by age, by sex, etc. rather than to the distributions within the sample itself.

It should be noted that as a result of some of the changes made to protect confidentiality on the CURF, estimates of benchmarked items produced from the CURF may not equal the benchmarked values. For further information refer to the 'Reconciliation of the CURF data' document in this product.

Relative sampling error

Two types of error are possible in an estimate based on a sample survey: non sampling error and sampling error. For further information on non-sampling and sampling error refer to 'Reliability of Estimates' in Household Energy Consumption Survey, User Guide, Australia (cat. no. 4671.0).

Each record on the CURF contains 60 'replicate weights' in addition to the 'main weight'. These replicate weights can be used to derive estimates of standard error.

The basic idea behind the replication approach is to select subsamples repeatedly (60 times) from the whole sample. For each of these subsamples the statistic of interest is calculated. The variance of the full sample statistic is then estimated using the variability among the replicate statistics calculated from the subsamples. As well as enabling variances of estimates to be calculated relatively simply, replicate weights also enable unit record analyses such as chi–square tests and logistic regression to be conducted which take into account the complex sample design.

There are various ways of creating replicate subsamples from the full sample. The replicate weights produced for the 2012 HECS have been created using a group jack knife method of replication. The formulae for calculating the SE and RSE of an estimate using this method are:

\(S E(y)=\sqrt{(59 / 60) \sum_\limits {g}\left(y_{(g)}-y\right)^{2}}\)

where:

\(g\) = 1,..,60 (the no. of replicate groups)

\(y(g)\) = weighted estimate, having applied the weights for replicate group g

\(y\) = weighted estimate from the full sample.

\(R S E (y)=\left(\frac{S E(y)}{y}\right) \times 100 \%\)

It is not clear that the jack knife method will provide good estimates for the variance of quantile boundaries such as the median, (see Rao, J.N.K., Wu, C.F.J., and Yue, K., (1992) for some recent work on resampling methods for complex surveys: Survey Methodology, vol. 18, pp. 209–217). An indirect approach (known as the Woodruff method) is available for estimating the variance of a quantile based on replicate weights (see Sarndal, Swenson and Wretman: Model Assisted Survey Sampling, Springer–Verlag, 1992).

To enable CURF users to check that they are using the replicate weights correctly, RSEs for selected key items have been calculated from the SIH Expanded CURF, and are presented as part of the sample tabulations available from the Downloads tab. The RSEs for estimates other than medians have been calculated using the group jack knife method, and RSEs for the medians have been calculated using the Woodruff method.

Reconciliation of the CURF data

Reconciliation of CURF data against published estimates

It is not possible to reconcile exactly the data produced from the CURF with published data. This is as a result of the steps taken to preserve confidentiality. These steps include:

  • large households have been reduced to a maximum of eight people on the Expanded CURF and six people on the Basic CURF
  • the level of detail for some data items has been reduced (for example, age of person is detailed for each year then 85 years and over for the expanded, but has been collapsed into finer age groups for the basic)
  • most income, expenditure, wealth, loan and detailed energy data have been perturbed
  • some variables have had values ranged, collapsed or topcoded
  • demographic information of some respondents has been changed.

A sample tabulation of HECS data for reconciliation and validation purposes is available from the Data downloads section. It presents key household income, energy expenditure and characteristics estimates produced from the unconfidentialised file along with equivalent estimates from both the Expanded and Basic CURFs. A table showing the RSEs for the sample tabulation of the Expanded CURF estimates is also included

Note that the full population estimate derived from the Basic CURF (22,271,012) is lower than that obtained from the Expanded CURF (22,401,020), and the unconfidentialised file (22,427,919). This is due to weights not being recalibrated to compensate for the reduction in household sizes on the CURFs.

Data item list

The 2012 Household Energy Consumption Survey collected information using household and personal questionnaires. The Basic and Expanded CURFs contain information at household, income unit, person, loans, childcare, wealth and longitudinal levels. Users intending to purchase the CURFs should ensure that the data they require, and the level of detail they need, are available in these products.

Subject to the limitations of sample size, the data classifications used, and the conditions of use, it is possible to interrogate the CURF data, produce tabulations and undertake statistical analyses to individual specifications.

A complete list of all data items included on the CURF, including relevant population and classification details, is available in the Data downloads section. The spreadsheet has 10 worksheets containing the following information:

  • About this Data Item List
  • Contents
  • Subject Index
  • Field Index
  • Household level data items
  • Income unit level data items
  • Person level data items
  • Loans level data items
  • Longitudinal level data items
  • 2012 Basic v Expanded.
 

Conditions of use

User responsibilities

The Census and Statistics Act 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 in published statistics' and 'Microdata' on our web page How the ABS keeps your information confidential.

The release of CURF data is authorised by clause 7 of the Statistics Determination made under subsection 13(1) of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. The release of a CURF 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.

This legislation allows the Australian Statistician to approve release of unit record data. All CURFs released have been approved by the Statistician. Prior to being granted access to CURFs, each organisation's Responsible Officer must submit a CURF Undertaking to the ABS. The CURF Undertaking is required by legislation and states that, prior to CURFs being released to an organisation, a Responsible Officer must undertake to ensure that the organisation will abide by the conditions of use of CURFs. Individual users are bound by the undertaking signed by the Responsible Officer.

All CURF users are required to read and abide by the conditions and restrictions in the User Manual: Responsible Use of ABS CURFs. Any breach of the CURF Undertaking may result in withdrawal of service to individuals and/or organisations. Further information is contained in the Consequences of Failing to Comply web page.

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 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.

How to apply for access

Clients wishing to access the microdata should read the How to Apply for Microdata web page. Clients should familiarise themselves with the User Manual: Responsible Use of ABS CURFs and other related microdata information which are available via the Microdata Entry Page, before applying for access.

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.

Further information

The Microdata Entry page on the ABS website contains links to microdata related information to assist users to understanding and access microdata. For further information users should email microdata.access@abs.gov.au or telephone (02) 6252 7714. The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.

Data downloads

I-Note

11/4/2014 - The data item list for the Household Energy and Consumption CURF has been replaced to correct minor errors.

Data files

History of changes

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11/4/2014

The data item list has been replaced to correct some errors in the data item list for the Household Energy and Consumption CURF as detailed below.

The data item list has had the following changes:

  • the addition of two data items that were missing in the Subject Index
  • the removal of four data items that were not collected and were incorrectly listed in the Subject Index
  • the correction of the SAS name listed in the Subject Index for the 'State or Territory of usual residence' data item available on the Basic CURF
  • the correction of the Longitudinal level identifier data item label in the 'Longitudinal' level tab
  • minor spelling and formatting corrections for a small number of data item and category labels within the data item list.

Glossary

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For a list of terms and definitions used in the Household Energy Consumption Survey, 2012, products, refer to the Glossary in the Household Energy Consumption Survey, User Guide, Australia (cat. no. 4671.0).

Quality declaration

Institutional environment

Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs) are released in accordance with the conditions specified in the Statistics Determination section of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. This ensures that confidentiality is maintained whilst enabling micro level data to be released. More information on the confidentiality practices associated with CURFs can be found at the About CURF Microdata page.

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

Relevance

Microdata from the Household Energy Consumption Survey are available as a Basic and an Expanded CURF.

The type of information collected includes estimates of income received by households, classified by various characteristics of the households and their residents (e.g. income quintile, main source of household income, family composition, tenure type, age, employment status). Also available are housing costs, wealth, loans, child care and social transfers in kind.

The level of detail provided for selected data items are available within the data item lists.

Timeliness

The Household Energy Consumption Survey (HECS) was collected from January 2012 to December 2012.

Accuracy

The microdata contains finer levels of detail of data items than what is otherwise published in other formats, for example, in Household Energy Consumption Survey, Australia: Summary of Results (cat. no. 4670.0). For more information on the level of detail provided, please see the associated data item list from the Data downloads section.

For details about the 2012 Household Energy Consumption Survey, please refer to the Household Energy Consumption Survey, User Guide, Australia (cat. no. 4671.0.).

Steps to confidentialise the data made available on the microdata 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 the microdata with other published statistics. Further information about the steps taken to confidentialise the microdata is available through the following link: CURF confidentiality.

Interpretability

The information within this product should be referred to when using the microdata. It contains information about the microdata outputs, including file structures and contents, specific information relating to how to use the CURF, notes on specific data items, conditions of use, data item listings and comparisons of estimates.

Users of the microdata should use this information in conjunction with information about the survey and topics more generally. The Household Energy Consumption Survey, User Guide, Australia (cat. no. 4671.0.) includes information on survey concepts, methods and design, data quality and interpretation, output data items, information about the availability of results.

Accessibility

Microdata products are available to approved users. Users wishing to access the microdata should read the How to apply for Microdata web page, before applying for access. Users should also familiarise with information available via the Microdata Entry Page.

A full list of available microdata can be viewed via the Expected and available Microdata. More detail regarding types and modes of access to CURFs can be found on the CURF Access Modes and Levels of Detail web page.

The Basic CURF can be accessed on CD-ROM and through the Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL). The Expanded CURF can be accessed through the Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL) and ABS Data Laboratory (ABSDL).

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

Abbrevations

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For a list of abbreviations used in the Household Energy Consumption Survey, Australia: Summary of Results products, refer to the Abbreviations in the Household Energy Consumption Survey, User Guide, Australia (cat. no. 4671.0).

A list of additional abbreviations specific to the microdata product is provided below.

ABSCQAustralian Bureau of Statistics Classification of Qualifications
ABSDLAustralian Bureau of Statistics Data Laboratory
ANZSCOAustralian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations
ANZSICAustralian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification
ASCEDAustralian Standard Classification of Education
CD-ROMcompact disc read-only memory
RADLRemote Access Data Laboratory
SASsoftware package for preparing and executing computerised data analysis
SPSSsoftware package for preparing and executing computerised data analysis
STATAsoftware package for preparing and executing computerised data analysis

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 4670.0.30.001.