Classification and coding

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Family, Household and Income Unit Variables
Reference period

The classification criteria

The criteria used in classifying Registered Marital Status are:

Table 1: Registered marriage classification criteria
Never marriedPerson has never been in a registered marriage. 
WidowedPerson has been in a registered marriage.
Most recent registered marriage partner is no longer living.
DivorcedPerson has been in a registered marriage.
Person is no longer legally married to their most recent registered marriage partner/has a decree nisi or decree absolute.
SeparatedPerson is currently in a registered marriage.
Person considers themselves to be no longer in a relationship with most recent registered marriage partner, but has not legally divorced.
MarriedPerson is currently in a registered marriage.

The standard classification and code structure

Registered Marital Status is a single-level classification with the following five categories and code structure:

  1. Never married
  2. Widowed
  3. Divorced
  4. Separated
  5. Married

Residual categories and codes

Not applicable.

Supplementary codes

The following supplementary code is used to code non-responses:

0 Not stated

Scope of the classification

The classification Registered Marital Status applies operationally to all people aged 15 years and over in Australian Bureau of Statistics surveys and the Census of Population and Housing. Although the legal age of marriage in Australia is 18, this age range supports the inclusion of the exceptions to this rule that are noted in the 'Nominal definition' section, above.

Application of the classification to other variables

Registered Marital Status can be cross-tabulated with Social Marital Status. Care should be taken to ensure that labels and footnotes clearly differentiate the two variables. Recommendations for the output structure of this cross tabulation are provided in the 'Output' section of this standard.

Coding procedures

Registered Marital Status is coded to the classification as reported. All categories of the classification are read out or presented as tick-box options, and each of the possible responses is assigned a unique numerical code.

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