Microdata: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey

Provides data on comparisons between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous social outcomes

Introduction

This publication provides a range of information about the release of microdata from the 2014–15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (2014–15 NATSISS), and the 2014 General Social Survey (Non-Indigenous) (2014 GSSNI). The 2014 GSSNI is a subset from the 2014 General Social Survey (GSS) TableBuilder, which has been modified to reflect the NATSISS file structure and comparable data items. This will enable comparisons between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous social outcomes using 2014 GSSNI and 2014–15 NATSISS data. For further information regarding the GSS TableBuilder see Microdata: General Social Survey, Australia, 2014 (cat. no. 4159.0.30.004).

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 release:

2014–15 NATSISS

  • TableBuilder, an online tool for creating tables and graphs
  • Expanded CURF, which allows approved users interactive access through the Australian Bureau of Statistics' (ABS) Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL) or via an ABS Data Laboratory (ABSDL)

2014 GSSNI

  • TableBuilder, an online tool for creating tables and graphs

Further information about these services, and other information to assist users in understanding and accessing microdata in general, is available from the Microdata Entry Page.

Before you apply for access, you should read and familiarise yourself with the information contained in the User Manual: Responsible Use of ABS CURFs and/or the User Manual: TableBuilder, depending on the mode of access you are interested in.

Apply for access

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

To apply for access to the CURF, register and apply in DataLab.

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 products can be found in this product, including:

Support

For assistance in registering for access or to use these products:

Data available on request

Data obtained in the survey but not presented in microdata 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

2014–15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (2014–15 NATSISS)

Information about the 2014–15 NATSISS including summary results, is available in the publication National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2014–15 (cat. no. 4714.0).

Detailed information about the survey including scope and coverage, survey design, data collection methodology, weighting, estimation and benchmarking, and the reliability of estimates can be accessed from the Explanatory Notes page. Lists of terms and definitions used in the 2014–15 NATSISS can be found under the Abbreviations and Glossary pages. The Data Item List, all published summary tables and the survey questionnaire and prompt card books can be accessed from the Downloads page.

2014 General Social Survey (Non-Indigenous) (2014 GSSNI)

Information about the 2014 General Social Survey (for survey methodology relating to the 2014 GSSNI TableBuilder product) is available in the publication General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia, 2014 (cat no 4159.0).

Detailed information about the survey including scope and coverage, survey design, data collection methodology, weighting, estimation and benchmarking, and the reliability of estimates can be accessed from the Explanatory Notes page. Lists of terms and definitions used in the 2014 GSSNI can be found under the Abbreviations and Glossary pages. The Data Item List, all published summary tables and the survey questionnaire and prompt card books can be accessed from the Downloads page.

Data comparability

This release contains a TableBuilder product from both 2014–15 NATSISS and 2014 GSSNI. The purpose of the two TableBuilder products is to allow comparability of data between the non-Indigenous and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.

Understanding the extent to which data from the 2014–15 NATSISS and the 2014 GSSNI can be compared is essential to interpreting apparent differences in the data. There are differences in the sample design and coverage, survey methodology, content, definitions, and classifications, all of which may impact on comparability. For more information see Appendix 2: Data comparability from other sources from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, Australia, 2014–15 (cat. no. 4714.0).

File structure

Data available by level

The 2014–15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (2014–15 NATSISS) microdata is available across three levels. Some of these levels have a hierarchical relationship:

    1. Household level

            3. Selected person level

        4. Barriers to services level

Broadly, each level provides the following:

  • Household level - characteristics of the household, such as size and structure of the household, household income, household facilities and costs, household financial stress, household smoking and transport details
  • Selected person level - all demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the survey respondents, and most of the information they provided
  • Barriers to services level - information about the types of services that were difficult to access and the reasons why they were described as difficult

An additional level (2. All persons in household) was created for processing purposes, including family coding and calculating household income. Data from this level is not available for output.

General Social Survey (Non-Indigenous) — (TableBuilder only)

The 2014 General Social Survey (Non-Indigenous) (2014 GSSNI) TableBuilder is constructed as a subset from the 2014 General Social Survey (GSS) TableBuilder, which has been modified to reflect the NATSISS file structure and comparable data items. This will enable comparisons between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous social outcomes using 2014–15 NATSISS and 2014 GSSNI data.

As a modified version of the GSS TableBuilder file, The 2014 GSSNI TableBuilder file contains the following key features:

  • Retained GSS data items common to both NATSISS and GSS
  • Removal of persons of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin
  • Removal of households where any person in the household was of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin (i.e. the if the selected person was non-Indigenous, but another household member was of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin, then the household was removed.)

For further information regarding the GSS TableBuilder see Microdata: General Social Survey, Australia, 2014 (cat. no. 4159.0.30.004).

Weights and estimation

As the NATSISS survey was conducted on a sample of households in Australia, it is important to take account of the method of sample selection when deriving estimates. This is particularly important as a person's chance of selection in the survey varied depending on the state or territory in which they lived. Survey 'weights' are values which indicate how many population units are represented by the sample unit.

There are two survey weights provided: a person weight (ISSFINWT) and a household weight (HHFINWT). These should be used when analysing data at the person and household level respectively.

Where estimates are derived, it is essential that they are calculated by adding the weights of person or households, as appropriate in each category, and not just by counting the number of records falling into each category. If the 'weight' of each person or household were to be ignored, then no account would be taken of a person or household's chance of selection in the survey or of different response rates across population groups, with the result that counts produced could be biased. The application of weights ensures that person and household estimates conform to an independently estimated distribution of the population by state, remoteness, age, sex and remote community status.

General Social Survey (Non-Indigenous) — (TableBuilder only)

For the 2014 GSSNI TableBuilder, weights for applicable household, person and access to services level records were retained from the GSS Tablebuilder. For information about weighting of the GSS file, see the File structure section from Microdata: General Social Survey, Australia, 2014 (cat. no. 4159.0.30.004).

Counting units and weights

The counting unit for NATSISS level one is the household, for level three the person, for level four barriers to services. There is a weight attached to each level in order to estimate the total population of the respective counting unit. The weight on level one is the household weight, and the weight for levels three and four is the person weight.

What you count depends on the level from which you select the weight. A household level weight estimates the number of households with a particular characteristic. Likewise the weight included in the person level estimates the number of persons with the selected characteristics. Replicate weights have also been included and these can be used to calculate the standard error. For more information, refer to the Standard Errors section below.

General Social Survey (Non-Indigenous) — (TableBuilder only)

For the 2014 GSSNI TableBuilder, counting units and weights were retained from the GSS TableBuilder. For information about weighting of the GSS file, see the File structure page from Microdata: General Social Survey, Australia, 2014 (cat. no. 4159.0.30.004).

Standard errors

Each NATSISS record on the household level and person level also contains 250 replicate weights and, by using these weights, it is possible to calculate standard errors for weighted estimates produced from the microdata. This method is known as the 250 group delete-a-group jack-knife variance estimator.

Under the delete-a-group jack-knife method of replicate weighting, weights were derived as follows:

  • 250 replicate groups were formed, with each group formed to mirror the overall sample. Units from a cluster of dwellings all belong to the same replicate group, and a unit can belong to only one replicate group
  • For each replicate weight, one replicate group was omitted from the weighting and the remaining records were weighted in the same manner as for the full sample
  • The records in the group that was omitted received a weight of zero
  • This process was repeated for each replicate group (i.e. a total of 250 times)
  • Ultimately each record had 250 replicate weights attached to it with one of these being the zero weight

Replicate weights enable variances of estimates to be calculated relatively simply. They also enable unit record analyses such as chi-square and logistic regression to be conducted, which take into account the sample design. Replicate weights for any variable of interest can be calculated from the 250 replicate groups, giving 250 replicate estimates. The distribution of this set of replicate estimates, in conjunction with the full sample estimate, is then used to approximate the variance of the full sample.

The formulae for calculating the Standard error (SE) and Relative standard error (RSE) of an estimate using this method is shown below.

\(SE(y) = \sqrt {\left( {\large \frac{{249}}{{250}}} \right)\sum\limits_{g = 1}^{250} {{{({y_g} - y)}^2}} } \)

\(RSE(y) = \Large \frac{{SE(y)}}{{y \times 100}}\)

where 

\(g\) = (1, ..., 250) (the number of replicate weights)

\(y(g)\) = estimate from using replicate weighting

\(y\) = estimate from using full person weight.

The delete-a-group jack-knife method can be applied not just to estimates of the population total, but also where the estimate y is a function of estimates of the population total, such as a proportion, difference or ratio. For more information on the delete-a-group jack-knife method of SE estimation, see Research Paper: Weighting and Standard Error Estimation for ABS Household Surveys (Methodology Advisory Committee), July 1999 (cat. no. 1352.0.55.029).

Use of the 250 group delete-a-group jack-knife method for complex estimates, such as regression parameters from a statistical model, is not straightforward and may not be appropriate. The method as described does not apply to investigations where survey weights are not used, such as in unweighted statistical modelling.

General Social Survey (Non-Indigenous) — (TableBuilder only)

For the 2014 GSSNI TableBuilder, the weighting methodology was retained from the GSS TableBuilder. The main difference from the NATSISS being that the 2014 GSSNI contains 60 replicate weights. For information about weighting of the GSS file, see the File structure section from Microdata: General Social Survey, Australia, 2014 (cat. no. 4159.0.30.004).

Using the TableBuilder

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

This TableBuilder product is comprised of two datasets:

  • The 2014–15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (2014–15 NATSISS), which contains all the data applicable to the 2014–15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey
  • The 2014 General Social Survey (Non-Indigenous) (2014 GSSNI), which contains data items comparable to the 2014–15 NATSISS for non-Indigenous persons from the 2014 General Social Survey.

Information on the structure for these datasets is provided in the File Structure section.

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 population units are represented by each sample unit.

Both person and household estimates can be obtained from the TableBuilder products. Each type of estimate uses a different weight (or 'Summation Option') and it is essential that the correct one is selected when specifying tables. Weights are selected from the Summation Options, as shown below:

Summation options

Generally, as the Person level relates to people, a person weight is attached in the Summation Options. Similarly, as the Household level relates to households, a household weight is attached.

However, the default weight when producing any table using the TableBuilder products is the person weight (in bold in the image above) which is automatically applied to any table being generated. If generating a table from the Household level, the weight will usually need to be changed. A weight shown in bold, such as in the image above, indicates the weight being used in the table. Placing a tick in a 'Sum' tick box and then adding it to a row or column in the table will select a different weight.

The following table summarises the weights recommended for use with each of the levels:

2014-15 NATSISS
Level, Summation option weights and Units of measure

LevelSummation option weightsUnit of measure
Household levelHouseholdHouseholds
Person levelPersonPersons
Barriers to services levelBarriersBarriers to services

2014 GSSNI
Level, Summation option weights and Units of measure

LevelSummation option weightsUnit of measure
Household levelHouseholdHouseholds
Person levelPersonPersons
Barriers to services level       BarriersServices had difficulty accessing

Continuous data items

TableBuilder includes a number of continuous variables which can have a response value at any point along a continuum. Some continuous data items are allocated special codes for certain responses (e.g. 998 = '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).

For example:

The following shows the tabulation of the data item 'Age of child's main carer'. The continuous values of the data item are contained in the 'A valid response was recorded' row. To show the actual continuous values in a table, a range must be created for the data item in Summation options.

Valid response recorded

Below is the same table with a range applied for the continuous values. Note that the persons with a 'Not applicable' and 'Unknown' responses no longer contribute to the total.

Not applicable and Unknown

Continuous data items and special codes for continuous data items are identified in the Data Item List.

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.

Zero value cells

Tables generated from sample surveys will sometimes contain cells with zero values because no respondents that satisfy the parameters of the cell were in the survey. This is despite there being people in the population with those characteristics. That is, the cell may have had a value above zero if all persons in scope of the survey had been enumerated. This is an example of sampling variability which occurs with all sample surveys. Relative Standard Errors cannot be generated for zero cells. Whilst the tables may include cells with zero values, the ABS recommends that TableBuilder clients do not use these data.

Multi-response data items

Some of the survey's data items allow respondents to provide more than one response. This is referred to as a 'multi-response data item'. For the example data item below respondents can report 'all' types of support provided to anyone living outside household in last 4 weeks.

When a multi-response data item is tabulated, a person is counted against each response they have provided (e.g. a person who provided 'Domestic work, home maintenance or gardening' and provided 'Any unpaid child care' will be counted one time in each of these two categories).

As a result, each person in the appropriate population is counted at least once, and some persons are counted multiple times. Therefore, the total for a multi-response data item will be less than or equal to the sum of its components

Multi-response data items

Multi-response data items are clearly labelled in the Data Item List for this product.

Comparisons between the 2014–15 NATSISS and 2014 GSSNI files

This product includes a TableBuilder file (2014 GSSNI) containing non-Indigenous data from the 2014 GSS. Data items have only been included on the 2014 GSSNI TableBuilder file where reasonable comparisons between the NATSISS and GSS are possible. The TableBuilder Data Item List is structured to serve as a guide for reasonable comparisons. Age standardisation will not be available for this TableBuilder and in some cases, age group comparisons will be the most appropriate method of comparing the non-Indigenous and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.

Differences between NATSISS and GSS, such as question wording, sample design, coverage, survey methodology, definitions, and classifications, should all be taken into account when making comparisons between the 2014–15 NATSISS and 2014 GSSNI files. Users should note that the 2014–15 NATSISS and the 2014 GSSNI cannot be summed to produce estimates for the total Australian population. For more information see Appendix 2: Data comparability from other sources from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, Australia, 2014–15 (cat. no. 4714.0).

Using the TableBuilder Data Item List

The TableBuilder Data Item List provides:

  • 2014–15 NATSISS TableBuilder data items; and
  • 2014 GSSNI TableBuilder data items.

While the TableBuilder Data Item List primarily serves to provide the NATSISS TableBuilder data items for users, GSSNI data items provided have been listed in a way for users to easily identify where data items may be used for comparison. Each worksheet of the Data Item List is divided into 2014–15 NATSISS and 2014 GSSNI; where some comparison is possible between data items, GSSNI data items have been listed adjacent to NATSISS data items.

The Index worksheet summarises all the available and comparable data items as well as the relevant weights used in the 2014–15 NATSISS and 2014 GSSNI TableBuilders.

Each sheet of the Data Item List indicates a level of data (e.g. Barriers level, Household level) or a grouping of like data about a selected person (e.g. Demographics, Education, Work, Health, Health Risk Factors, Mobility and Transport, Information Technology).

A glossary of definitions for the data items can be found in the Explanatory Notes and the Household Questionnaire in the Downloads section of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2014-15 (cat. no. 4714.0) and the General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia, 2014 (cat. no. 4159.0).

For confidentiality and/or usability reasons, some data item values have been collapsed and/or restricted for use in the TableBuilders.

Understanding the extent to which data from the 2014–15 NATSISS and the 2014 GSSNI can be compared is essential to interpreting apparent differences in the data. There are differences in the sample design and coverage, survey methodology, content, definitions, and classifications, all of which may impact on comparability. For more information see Appendix 2: Data comparability from other sources from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, Australia, 2014–15 (cat. no. 4714.0).

The purpose of the two TableBuilders is to allow comparability of data between the non-Indigenous and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. The Data Item Lists have been combined to serve as a guide only. Care should always be taken when making comparisons between 2014–15 NATSISS and 2014 GSSNI data items, and the following need to be considered:

  • Differing scope between surveys
  • Inconsistent data item labels
  • Inconsistent category naming
  • Inconsistent categories
  • Differing question wording or methodology
  • Differing populations
  • Any other differences in survey methodology

Further information on using the TableBuilder Data Item List is provided on the Notes worksheet within the Data Item List provided in the Data downloads section.

Using the Expanded CURF

About the CURF

The 2014–15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) Expanded CURF contains three separate record level files which are described In the File Structure section. Subject to the limitation 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 data included in the CURF are released under the provisions of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. This legislation allows the Australian Statistician to release unit record data, or microdata, provided this is done "in a manner that is not likely to enable the identification of a particular person or organisation to which it relates." Accordingly, there are no names or addresses of survey respondents on the CURF and other steps, including the following list of actions, have been taken to protect the confidentiality of respondents: 

  • Excluding some data items that were collected
  • Applying value ranges, collapses or top-coding to some variables
  • Perturbation of dollar values
  • Changing some demographic characteristics on unusual records to protect against identification

The nature of the changes made ensure that the effects on data for analysis purposes is considered negligible. These changes, and the fact that estimates previously published in National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, Australia, 2014–15 (cat. no. 4174.0) have perturbation applied to all data items, mean that estimates produced from the CURF may differ from those published in the summary publication or produced in TableBuilder.

Steps to confidentialise the datasets made available on the CURF 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 CURF. Data obtained in the survey, but not contained on the CURF may be available in TableBuilder or in tabulated form on request. The Data Item List contains information about the data items, which is available as an Excel spreadsheet in the Data downloads section.

Record counts

Table 1 shows the number of records on each level for the CURF dataset.

Table 1: Counting units and number of records, by level
LevelCounting unitNumber of records
Household levelHouseholds6,611
Person levelSelected persons11,178
Barriers to services levelBarriers to services8,717

Weights and Estimation

Information regarding Weights and Estimation is available in the File Structure section

Identifiers

There are a series of identifiers that can be used on records at each level of the file.

File level identifiers

The identifiers ABSHID, ABSPID, ABSBID appear on all levels of the file (as they are needed to create a hierarchical CSV file). Where the information for the identifier is not relevant for a level, it has a value of 0.

Each household has a unique thirteen digit random identifier, ABSHID. This identifier appears on the Household level and is repeated on every other level. The Barriers to services episode level is a child of the Person level, and therefore the unique identifier is comprised of the Household, Person and episode level. The composition of identifiers for each level is outlined below:

1. Household = ABSHID
3. Person = ABSHID, ABSPID
4. Barriers to services = ABSHID, ABSPID, ABSBID

Copying information across levels

Identifiers can be used to copy information from one level of the file to another. The following SAS code (or equivalent) can be used to copy information from one level to another:

PROC SORT DATA=ISS14EP; *Person level file;
BY ABSHID;
RUN;

PROC SORT DATA=ISS14EH; *Household level file;
BY ABSHID;
RUN;

DATA MERGE_FILE;
MERGE ISS14EP (IN=A) ISS14EH (IN=B);
BY ABSHID;
IF A AND B THEN OUTPUT;
RUN;

The following SAS code (or equivalent) can be used to copy information from a higher level to a level below:

PROC SORT DATA=ISS14EP; *Person level file;
BY ABSHID;
RUN;

PROC SORT DATA=ISS14EB; *Barriers to services level file;
BY ABSHID;
RUN;

DATA MERGE_FILE;
MERGE ISS14EB (IN=A) ISS14EP (IN=B)
BY ABSHID;
IF A AND B THEN OUTPUT; *Only keeps records which are present on both files;
RUN;

This merge will match one ISS14EP record to many ISS14EB records. The statement 'If A and B then OUTPUT;' ensures that only records present on both files are kept. If this statement was not used then ISS14EP records without a corresponding ISS14EB record would appear with a missing value for all ISS14EB data items. Note that the data items copied from the ISS14EP level will now have the counting unit for the level they have been added to, being instances of Barriers to services in this case.

Combining data from different levels can sometimes be confusing, both in selecting an appropriate item and in understanding the counting unit. For example, if you are interested in Barriers to services, and you want to analyse this by characteristics such as sex or age, then you might cross-tabulate SEX by COUNTBAR (Types of selected services has most problems accessing). This would yield results indicating the estimate (or sample count) of instances of barriers experienced in each category, split by sex, rather than the estimate (or sample count) of males or females. When looking at the Barriers to services level, the counting unit is instances of barriers experienced, rather than persons.

Example STATA code

The following STATA code will display values for the household level data items STATE and SF2SA1DN:

use "`ISS14EH'"
table STATE, c( freq ) f(%11.0f) stubwidth(30)
table SF2SA1DN, c( freq ) f(%11.0f) stubwidth(30)

The following STATA code will display values for the person level data items LTCQ01 and NETINHOM:

use "`ISS14EP'"
table LTCQ01, c( freq ) f(%11.0f) stubwidth(30)
table NETINHOM, c( freq ) f(%11.0f) stubwidth(30)

Example SPSS code

The following SPSS code will display values for the household level data items STATE and SF2SA1DN:

GET
FILE=ISS14EH.
EXECUTE.
FREQUENCIES
VARIABLES=STATE SF2SA1DN/ORDER=ANALYSIS.

The following SPSS code will display values for the person level data items LTCQ01 and NETINHOM:

GET
FILE=ISS14EP.
EXECUTE.
FREQUENCIES
VARIABLES=LTCQ01 NETINHOM/ORDER=ANALYSIS.

Geography

Remote/Non-remote only data items

Some survey questions were only asked of people/households in either remote or non-remote areas. Data items based on these questions are therefore only applicable to their relevant geographies. These items are identified by their population description on the Data Item List. 

Indigenous status for Queensland

The 2014–15 NATSISS sample for Queensland was designed to allow for the release of data on the Torres Strait Islander population in that state. When using the Indigenous status item for Queensland on the CURF (QLDINDS), it should be noted that the Torres Strait Islander category comprises persons who: 

  • Identified as being of Torres Strait Islander origin only; and
  • Identified as being of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin.

Multi-response items on the CURF

There are a number of data items on the CURF that contain multiple responses. This means that the person being interviewed was able to select one or more response categories for these items. Multiple response items are indicated on the Data Item List.

On the CURF, each response category for the multiple response questions is treated as a separate data item. Each data item therefore has a response of either:

  • Not applicable; or
  • Yes.

A 'Not applicable' response has a code of '0' indicating that the response category does not apply for the respondent. A 'Yes' response has a code greater than '0' indicating a positive response for that category.

An example of a multiple response item is the question on the 'Types of selected stressors experienced by self, family or friends in last 12 months' (TSTRAL), which has 26 response categories. From these categories, 26 separate data items have been produced - TSTRALLA, TSTRALB, TSTRALC...TSTRALZ.

In most cases, multiple response items will have a number of categories falling into the first SAS category. This is denoted by an 'A' at the end of the fixed SAS name, eg TSTRALA. This category will contain the first multiple response category, as well as any special codes for the item. Using the example of TSTRALA, these special codes are 99 'Not applicable' and 98 'Refusal'. When using data from these multiple response items, the placement of these special codes should be confirmed by referring to the Data Item List.

Continuous data items on the CURF

When analysing continuous items at the person and household levels, it is necessary to exclude the special codes. The special codes are used for responses that do not represent the data being collected (eg 'Don't know'). The codes vary, but will generally be 0, 96, 97, 98, 99 or variations of these. For example, the 'Weekly rent' data item has reserved values of: 

  • 9997 for Not applicable; and
  • 9998 for Not known.

The Data Item List provides the special codes for continuous items. Care should be taken to exclude these codes when categorising higher values for ranges, and when calculating means, medians and other summary statistics.

Accessing the Expanded CURF

The 2014–15 Expanded CURF can be accessed via the ABS Data Laboratory and the Remote Access Data Laboratory, and is available in SAS, SPSS and STATA formats.

Expanded CURF data files

SAS files

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

ISS14EH.SAS7BDAT contains the Household level data
ISS14EP.SAS7BDAT contains the Person level data
ISS14EB.SAS7BDAT contains the Barriers to services data

SPSS files

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

ISS14EH.SAV contains the Household level data
ISS14EP.SAV contains the Person level data
ISS14EB.SAV contains the Barriers to services data

STATA files

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

ISS14EH.DTA contains the Household level data
ISS14EP.DTA contains the Person level data
ISS14EB.DTA contains the Barriers to services data

Information files

Data Item List

The Data Item List contains all the data items, including details of categories and code values that are available on the CURF, and is available on the Downloads tab.

Formats file

FORMATS.sas7bcat is a SAS library containing formats

Frequency files

The following plain text format files contain data item code values and category labels at each level, for both unweighted and weighted data.

FREQUENCIES_ISS14EHU.txt contains Household level unweighted data
FREQUENCIES_ISS14EHW.txt contains Household level weighted data

FREQUENCIES_ISS14EPU.txt contains Person level unweighted data
FREQUENCIES_ISS14EPW.txt contains Person level weighted data

FREQUENCIES_ISS14EBU.txt contains Barriers to services level unweighted data
FREQUENCIES_ISS14EBW.txt contains Barriers to services level weighted data

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' and 'Microdata' on our web page How the ABS keeps your information confidential.

CURF data

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.

TableBuilder

The release of data to TableBuilder is authorised by Section 12 of the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

In accordance with the Census and Statistics Act 1905, the ABS must ensure that information is not released in a manner that is likely to enable identification of a respondent. Consequently, the output from TableBuilder are subject to a confidentiality process prior to release. The ABS aims to achieve a careful balance between maintaining a sufficient level of confidentialisation and ensuring the utility and high quality of statistical output.

All registered users of TableBuilder agree to abide by the Terms and Conditions set out and any future conditions that are notified to registered users.

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.

Apply for access

To apply for access to the CURF, register and apply in DataLab.

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

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

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.

Data downloads

I-Note

Amendments to the Data Item list

  • Correction to the TableBuilder Data Item List title from 'Data Item List' to 'TableBuilder Data Item List.'
  • Removal of an unpublished data item from the Data Item List.

Note that there are no changes to the 2014–15 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander data.

Data files

Previous releases

 TableBuilder data seriesMicrodataDownloadDataLab
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2008  Detailed microdata
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2002  Detailed microdata
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey, 1994 Basic microdataDetailed microdata

History of changes

Show all

29/07/2016

  • Additional documentation published in relation to the release of the Expanded CURF for the 2014–15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey.
  • Updated TableBuilder Data Item List with corrected file name and removal of data item (Experience of physical or threatened violence in last 12 months — 2002 comparison) not present on TableBuilder.

Quality declaration

Institutional environment

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.

Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs) and TableBuilder files 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 on the About CURF Microdata page. More information on the confidentiality practices associated with TableBuilder can be found on the Confidentiality page of the User Manual: TableBuilder.

Relevance

Microdata from the 2014–15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) provides information on a range of demographic, social, environmental and economic indicators, including: personal and household characteristics; geography; language and cultural activities; social networks and support; health and disability; education; employment; stressors; income; housing; and crime, law, and justice. Information from the NATSISS contributes to existing data on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the formulation of government policies and legislation.

This is the fourth social survey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians conducted by the ABS. The previous surveys were conducted in 2008 and 2002, and the first survey, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey (NATSIS), was conducted in 1994.

The level of detail provided for selected data items are available within the Data Item List in the Data downloads section.

Timeliness

Data from the survey are released within twelve months of the completion of enumeration.

Accuracy

The NATSISS was designed to produce reliable estimates at the national and state/territory levels, as well as by remoteness at the national level.

Estimates from the NATSISS are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors. Information on sampling and non-sampling errors is provided in the Technical Note in the summary publication.

Microdata contains finer levels of detail of data items than what is otherwise published in other formats. For more information on the level of detail provided, please see the Data Item List in the Downloads page of this product.

Steps to confidentialise 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 links:

Coherence

Supporting documentation provided with this release can assist in understanding the relationships between data variables within the dataset. The Data Item List in the Downloads page contains a 'Notes' worksheet which provides explanation of differences between products and the level of care required when making comparisons.

Further information is available in the NATSISS summary publication on comparisons to the 2008 NATSISS (Appendix 1), and comparisons with data from other sources (Appendix 2). In addition, there is a full list of data items available in spreadsheet format from the Downloads page.

Interpretability

The information within this release should be referred to when using the microdata. It contains information including Introduction, Survey Methodology, File Structure, Using the TableBuilder, Conditions of Use and About this Release.

Detailed information on the terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with the NATSISS can be found in the Explanatory notesTechnical Note and Glossary in the NATSISS summary publication. More information is available in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey: User Guide, 2014–15 (cat. no. 4720.0).

Accessibility

For more detailed information on the products and services available for this survey refer to the Introduction page.

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 themselves with information available via the Microdata web pages.

A full list of available microdata can be viewed via the List of 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.

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

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 4720.0.55.002.