Microdata and TableBuilder: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Australia

Presents data about the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Accessing the data

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS) collects information on the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The 2018–19 NATSIHS is the fourth health survey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people conducted by the ABS. See National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, 2018–19 for summary results, methodology and other information.
You can use this data in: 

  • DataLab - analyse detailed microdata in a remote environment
  • TableBuilder - produce your own tables and graphs (will be available in early 2020)

Compare access options to see what's right for you or Apply for access.

Data and file structure

The following table shows the levels available in each of the microdata products and the information contained on those levels:

Level nameInformation contained on level
1. HouseholdGeographic classifications, household size and structure, dwelling characteristics and household income details
2. Selected personDemographic and socio-economic characteristics of survey respondents, and most of the health, health risks and related information they provided
3. Alcohol - Day consumedAlcohol consumption on the three most recent days on which respondents reported consuming alcohol and the order of consumption
4. Alcohol - Type consumedOrder of consumption, and the broad alcohol types and quantities for each type consumed on those days
5. Binge - Type consumedThe broad alcohol types and quantities for each type consumed on the day the respondent consumed the most alcohol in the last 2 weeks
6. ConditionsInformation about health conditions reported by respondents
7. MedicationsInformation on medications reported by respondents

Use the data item lists in the Data downloads section to confirm this dataset includes what you need for your research before purchasing your subscription.

Relationship between levels

Datasets from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey are hierarchical in nature. A hierarchical data file is a way of presenting information which describes one to many, or many to many, relationships (e.g. a person may report multiple days on which alcohol was consumed and also multiple types of alcoholic beverages on each of these days).

The following table shows the hierarchical file structure and the relationship between each level:

Level 1Level 2Level 3Level 4Relationship type
Household   One record per in scope household
 Selected Persons  Up to two selected person records per household for remote areas (1 adult and 1 child). Up to four selected person records per household for non-remote areas (2 adults and 2 children)
  Conditions One Conditions record for each reported condition for each selected person record
  Medications One Medications record for each reported medication/supplement for each selected person record
  Binge - Type consumed Up to 13 Binge - Type records for each selected person 15 years and older (children 0–14 years were out of scope for the alcohol module)
  Alcohol - Day consumed Up to three Alcohol - Day consumed records per selected person 15 years and older (children 0–14 years were out of scope for the alcohol module)
   Alcohol - Type consumedUp to 13 Alcohol - Type records per Alcohol - day consumed record

Using DataLab

The DataLab environment allows real time access to detailed microdata files from the 2018–19 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey through a portal to a secure ABS environment. The level of detail provided within the DataLab exceeds that previously provided in the Expanded CURF and provides researchers greater access to the data.

The DataLab is an interactive data analysis solution available for users to run advanced statistical analyses, for example, multiple regressions and structural equation modelling. The DataLab environment contains up-to-date versions of SPSS, Stata, SAS and R analytical languages. Controls in the DataLab have been put in place to protect the identification of individuals and organisations. All output from DataLab sessions is cleared by an ABS officer before it is released. 

For more information about the DataLab, please see the About the DataLab page.

The Expanded CURF and the use of the Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL) have been discontinued for this collection. Users are encouraged to consider the DataLab as an improved mechanism to access detailed microdata.

DataLab test file

Two test files have been created to enable researchers and analysts to become more familiar with the data structure and prepare code and programs before applying for or beginning a DataLab session.

The test files do not contain real data, and cannot be used for analysis. They mimic the structure of the detailed microdata in that they have the same data items and allowed values.

A Selected Person level and Household level test file are available as free downloads from the Data downloads section.

Counts and weights

The following table shows the number of records on each level and the weighted counts, where applicable.

LevelRecord counts (unweighted)Weighted counts (if applicable)
1. Household6,388352,169
2. Selected person10,579814,244
3. Alcohol - Day consumed8,992n/a
4. Alcohol - Type consumed9,467n/a
5. Binge - Type consumed7,433n/a
6. Conditions38,197n/a
7. Medications18,102n/a
8. Hearing10,579814,244

There are three weight variables on the detailed microdata files:

  • Household weight (FINHHWT) - benchmarked to produce Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander household estimates.
  • Person weight (FINPERWT) - benchmarked to the total Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.
  • Hearing weight (FINHEAWT) - must be used whenever an item is used from the hearing level.

The weighted counts for the selected person and the hearing level are the same. This is because only a maximum of one hearing test was counted for each person. However, the hearing weight must be used whenever an item is used from the hearing level. If the correct weight is not used, the errors associated with the data will be incorrect.

There is no weight associated with the other levels. This is because the records are repeated for each person. If, for example, FINPERWT is merged onto the Conditions level, it will be attached to each condition record and therefore be repeated for each person where they have more than one condition.

Identifiers

Every record on each level of the file is uniquely identified. The identifiers ABSHIDD, ABSPID, ABSDID, ABSTID, ABSCID, ABSMID, ABSBID and ABSXID appear on all levels of the file. Where the information for the identifier is not relevant for a level, it has a value of 0. See the data item list for details on which identifier equates to which level.

Each household has a unique thirteen digit random identifier, ABSHIDD. This identifier appears on the household level and is repeated on each level on each record pertaining to that household. The combination of identifiers uniquely identifies a record at a particular level as shown below:

  1. Household = ABSHIDD
  2. Selected person = ABSHIDD + ABSPID
  3. Alcohol - Day consumed = ABSHIDD + ABSPID + ABSDID
  4. Alcohol - Type consumed = ABSHIDD + ABSPID + ABSDID + ABSTID
  5. Binge - Type consumed = ABSHIDD + ABSPID + ABSBID
  6. Conditions = ABSHIDD + ABSPID + ABSCID
  7. Medications = ABSHIDD + ABSPID + ABSMID
  8. Hearing = ABSHIDD + ABSPID + ABSXID

The household record identifier, ABSHIDD, assists with linking people from the same household, and also with household characteristics such as geography (located on the household level) to the person records.

Using TableBuilder

TableBuilder User Guide

The TableBuilder User Guide provides you with information about how to create basic tables, custom groups, graphs and large tables. It also includes practical examples and video tutorials.

Weights

When tabulating data in TableBuilder, person weights are automatically applied to the underlying sample counts. 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.

There are three weights on the file: 

  • Household weight PAA - benchmarked to produce Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander household estimates.
  • Person weight PAA - benchmarked to the total Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.
  • Hearing test weight - must be used whenever an item is used from the hearing level.

When analysing a Household level item, you may want to change the summation weight from persons to households. For example, if you wanted to know the number of households in a state rather than the number of persons living in that state. In this case, you would add the weight called 'Household weight PAA' from the Summation Options heading. The default weight is 'Person weight PAA' - a count of persons.

The weighted counts for the selected person and the hearing level are the same, which is because only a maximum of one hearing test was counted for each person. When analysing any item from the Hearing level, you must use the 'Hearing test weight'. You would add the weight called 'Hearing' from the Summation Options heading. If the correct weight is not used, the errors associated with the data will be incorrect.

Weighted counts for the selected person

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 on the Downloads page. 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. Age started having daily insulin injections is not applicable for people who do not have daily insulin injections).

Table populations

The population relevant to each data item is identified in the data item list and should be kept in mind when extracting and analysing data. The actual population estimate for each data item is equal to the total cumulative frequency minus the 'Not applicable' category.

Continuous data items

TableBuilder includes a number of continuous variables:

  • They can have a response value at any point along a continuum.
  • Some continuous data items are allocated special codes for certain responses (e.g. 9999 = 'Not applicable)
  • 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).
  • Continuous items with special codes have a corresponding categorical item on the Person level that provides the ability to display data for the special code.
  • Any special codes for continuous data items are listed in the data item list in the Data downloads section.

Multiple response data items

A number of data items allow a respondent to have more than one response. For these items, a person is counted against each category they responded to and consequently the sum of the categories may be different to the total. The table below displays the multiple response data item 'Sources of personal income (NR only)' with the Person weight PAA. For example, a person who receives a 'wage or salary', 'superannuation or annuity' and an 'Other regular source' of income will be counted against each of these three categories.

Multiple response data items are identified in the Data Item List in the label using the indicator ‘<multiple response>’.

Data Item List

Confidentiality

A confidentiality process called perturbation is applied to the data in TableBuilder to avoid releasing information that may lead to the identification of individuals, families, households, dwellings or businesses. See Confidentiality in the TableBuilder user guide.

Data downloads

Data files

Previous releases

 TableBuilder data seriesMicrodataDownloadDataLab
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, Core Content - Risk Factors and Selected Health Conditions, 2012-13TableBuilder Detailed microdata
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, Detailed Conditions and Other Health Data, 2012-13TableBuilder Detailed microdata
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2012-13TableBuilderBasic microdataDetailed microdata
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, 2004-05TableBuilder Detailed microdata
National Health Indigenous, 2001  Detailed microdata

History of changes

Show all

26/03/2020 

The TableBuilder is now available. A TableBuilder data item list is available from the Data downloads section. Information about the TableBuilder is on the 'Using TableBuilder' page.

Detailed microdata available in the DataLab has been updated to include hearing test data. See the 'Using DataLab' page for more information.

Corrections were made to the following items in the DataLab: 

  • Duration of unemployment (weeks) (continuous)
  • Duration of unemployment (weeks) (ranges)
  • Number of weeks since last worked full-time (values)

Quality declaration

Institutional environment

The 2018–19 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS) will be released as: 

  • detailed microdata files in the DataLab
  • a TableBuilder

To maintain confidentiality, microdata files must meet the conditions specified in the Statistics Determination section of the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

More information on confidentiality practices can be found at:

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

Information from the 2018–19 NATSIHS contributes to existing data on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the formulation of government policies and legislation.

The 2018–19 NATSIHS collected information on a range of topics including:

  • long-term health conditions
  • health actions and health service use
  • nutrition
  • physical activity
  • physical measurements
  • risk factors such as alcohol consumption, discrimination, smoking and substance use
  • experiences of harm
  • medications
  • social and emotional wellbeing
  • cultural identification
  • language
  • general demographic information
  • personal and household characteristics
  • education and employment
  • income

Detailed information about the data items available for each microdata product is provided in the data item lists in the Data downloads section.

Timeliness

The 2018–19 NATSIHS was conducted from 1 July 2018 to 13 April 2019.

A summary of findings, including a broad set of tables in spreadsheet format was available on the ABS website on 11 December 2019.

Detailed microdata was released via the DataLab on 11 December 2019. A TableBuilder product is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2020, subject to the approval of the Australian Statistician.

Accuracy

The microdata contain levels of detail of data items generally greater than those found in publications. For more information on the level of detail provided for the microdata, see the associated data items lists in the Data downloads section.

Steps are taken to confidentialise the microdata files in a way that maximises the usefulness of the content while maintaining the confidentiality of respondents 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 in How the ABS keeps your information confidential.

Coherence

This is the fourth health survey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people conducted by the ABS. The previous surveys were conducted in 2012–13 (as part of the Australian Health Survey), 2004–05 and 2001.

Information about the comparability of each data item to the previous release in 2012–13, as well as to the 2017–18 National Health Survey, can be found in the data item lists available in the Downloads section.

Interpretability

The information within this product should be referred to when using the microdata. It contains information about accessing the data, the data and file structure, and how to use each of the microdata products.

Further information can be found in National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, 2018–19 (cat. no. 4715.0). In particular, information to assist in interpretation of the data can be found in the Interpretation of Results section of the Explanatory Notes.

Accessibility

Microdata products are available to approved users. Users wanting to access microdata should familiarise themselves with information available via the Microdata Entry Page.

The 2018–19 NATSIHS microdata can be accessed using detailed microdata in the DataLab environment or TableBuilder.

The Compare Access Options page contains general information on different types of microdata product access. A full list of available microdata can be viewed via Available Microdata.

Other data are available from the ABS on a fee for service basis, subject to confidentiality and data quality constraints. Tabulations to meet individual requirements can incorporate data items, populations and geographic areas.

For further information, contact information is available on the Microdata contacts page.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 4715.0.55.001.