TableBuilder: Labour Force Status of Families

Enables detailed analysis of how families engage with the labour market


This product provides a range of information about the release of microdata from Labour Force Status of Families, including details about the survey methodology and how to use the microdata product; TableBuilder, data item list and information on the conditions of use and the quality of the microdata are also provided. TableBuilder is an online tool for creating tables and graphs.

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.

Labour Force Status of Families is produced from data collected in the Labour Force Survey (LFS) in June each year and designed to provide statistics on broad family dynamics including the number and age of children in the household. Estimates are also available on the number of children aged 0–4 years, 5–9 years and 10–14 years in families. This information can be cross classified by characteristics of parent/s (such as age, country of birth, and employment information such as full or part-time status, hours worked and duration of job search). Data on the family such as number of employed, unemployed and not in the labour force (NILF) persons are also available.

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.

Applying for access

To apply for access to TableBuilder, register and apply in Microdata Entry Page.

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

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 Labour Force Status of Families TableBuilder, available in the Data downloads section.


For further support in the use of this product, please contact Microdata Access Strategies on 02 6252 7714 or via

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. For more information, contact the ABS by visiting or email the the Labour Statistics Branch at


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

Data and file structure

Survey methodology

General information about the Labour Force Status of Families, including summary results, are available in the publication Labour Force Status of Families.

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 Methodology page of the publication. All published summary tables, in Excel spreadsheet format, can also be downloaded.

Data items

The data items included in the Labour Force Status of Families TableBuilder are grouped under broad headings and subheadings as shown in the image below. A complete data item list can be accessed from the Data downloads section.

Image: File structure headings and subheadings

File structure

The underlying format of the Labour Force Status of Families TableBuilder file is structured at a single family level. This family level contains general demographic characteristics of parent/s such as age and country of birth as well details about family type, number and age of children in the family and employment information for parent/s.

When tabulating data from TableBuilder, family level weights are automatically applied to the underlying sample counts to provide estimates for the total number of families.

Reference year

From 2020, the Labour Force Status of Families TableBuilder contains a mandatory field called Reference year to allow for historical analysis. By default this field will be present in any new table as per the image below:

Image: File structure, reference year

Individual years can be removed from the table using the data item panel by selecting the required year and removing it from the table as per the image below:

Please contact us at if you have any difficulty interpreting this image

However, at least one category (reference period) of the mandatory field must be present in a table for TableBuilder to retrieve data.

Not applicable categories

Most data items included in the TableBuilder file include a 'Not applicable' category. The classification values of these 'Not applicable' categories, where relevant, are shown in the data item list in the Data downloads section. 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 were derived (e.g. Hours usually worked is not applicable to people who weren't employed; likewise Age of wife/partner does not apply to one-parent families where there is not a wife or partner).

Zero value cells

Tables generated from sample surveys will sometimes contain cells with zero values because no respondents that satisfied the parameters of a particular cell in a table were in the survey. This is despite there being people in the general population with those characteristics. This is an example of sampling variability which occurs with all sample surveys. Relative Standard Errors cannot be generated for zero cells. 

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.

More specific information applicable to the Labour Force Status of Families TableBuilder, which should enable users to understand, interpret and tabulate the data, is outlined below.

Confidentiality features in TableBuilder

In accordance with the Census and Statistics Act 1905, all the data in TableBuilder are subjected to a confidentiality process before release. This confidentiality process is undertaken to avoid releasing information that may allow the identification of particular individuals, families, households, dwellings or businesses.

Processes used in TableBuilder to confidentialise records include the following: 

  • perturbation of data; and
  • table suppression

Perturbation effects

To minimise the risk of identifying families in aggregate statistics, a technique is used to randomly adjust cell values. This technique is called perturbation. Perturbation involves small random adjustments 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.

The introduction of these random adjustments may result in tables not adding up. As a result, randomly adjusted individual cells will be consistent across tables, but the totals in any table may not be the sum of the individual cell values. The size of the difference between summed cells and the relevant total will generally be very small.

Please be aware that the effects of perturbing the data may result in components being larger than their totals. This includes determining proportions.

Table suppression

Some tables generated within TableBuilder may contain a substantial proportion of very low counts within cells (excluding cells that have counts of zero). When this occurs, all values within the table are suppressed in order to preserve confidentiality. The following error message below is displayed (in red) at the bottom of the table when table suppression has occurred.

ERROR: The table has been suppressed as it is too sparse
ERROR: table cell values have been suppressed

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

As just one level of weight is used, TableBuilder will apply 'Family level' by default.

When creating a table the Reference year will be a mandatory item. The default setting is all available years (2009-2020); this can be changed by users.

Selecting data items for cross-tabulation

The file contains a range of data items detailing the characteristics of the family including demographic characteristics of parents, family type, employment characteristics of parents and number of children and dependants by age.

Cross-tabulating data from various items will produce data about families. For example, cross-tabulating `'State or territory of usual residence' by the 'Hours worked by husband or partner' produces a table showing the number of families usually resident in each state and territory by the hours that the husband or partner worked.

For more information on definitions and concepts that apply to the data items in this file, please refer to Labour Force Status of Families and Labour Force, Australia.

Data downloads

Data item list

History of changes

Show all


TableBuilder updates for June 2021 release

  • Addition of the latest data from June 2021
  • Addition of June data for 2011 to 2013 and 2015 to 2018, which were previously unavailable
  • Addition of quarterly data from March 2019 to June 2021 (March, June, September and December)
  • Addition of new data item "Age of youngest dependant - OECD age groups" to aid in international comparisons

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 6224.0.00.001.