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Year of Arrival Standard

This standard collects the year a person, born in another country, first arrived in Australia to live for one year or more

Reference period
2014, Version 1.5

Introduction

Background

Year of Arrival in Australia collects the year in which a person, born in another country, first arrived in Australia with the intention of living here for one year or more. The year in which an overseas-born person arrived in Australia can be used to derive the variable Period of Residence in Australia, which is included as part of this standard.

Data related to Year of Arrival in Australia can be used in conjunction with variables such as Country of Birth and Proficiency in Spoken English to analyse settlement patterns for various migrant groups.

Period of Residence in Australia can be used in cross classification with other data, to analyse how the characteristics of migrants change with the length of time they have been in Australia.

Closely associated with the variable Country of Birth, Year of Arrival in Australia should only be asked of those people who were born in a country other than Australia.

Name of standard

The name of the variable is ‘Year of Arrival in Australia’.

The name of the variable derived from Year of Arrival in Australia is 'Period of Residence in Australia'.

Definitions

Nominal definition

Year of Arrival in Australia is defined as the year a person (born outside of Australia) first arrived in Australia, from another country, with the intention of living in Australia for one year or more.

Period of Residence in Australia is the length of time a person (born outside of Australia) has resided in Australia. It is derived from Year of Arrival in Australia – for details of the process, refer to 'Derivation procedures'. Significant periods of absence from Australia are excluded. Significant periods are absences of one year or more, excluding holidays, visits and business trips overseas.

Operational definition

The operational definition for Year of Arrival in Australia is the same as the nominal definition. It is measured by the calendar year 'date unit' of the first arrival of an individual in Australia expressed as a four digit year (for example, 2012).

The operational definition for Period of Residence in Australia is the same as the nominal definition. It is measured by the year 'time unit' and is expressed as completed years of residence (for example, seven years).

Discussion of issues

The Year of Arrival in Australia question requires the supporting variable Country of Birth and should only be asked of those people born in a country other than Australia. Standard procedure is to first ask the Country of Birth question and sequencing only people born in a country outside Australia to the Year of Arrival in Australia question.

Year of Arrival in Australia measures the year of first arrival in Australia and not the year of the most recent arrival. It is important to collect Year of Arrival in Australia in single years, instead of aggregated groups, to provide flexibility in cross classification with other variables, derivation of new data items, and production of output categories.

Period of Residence in Australia requires a specific question to accurately measure it. The question enables calculation of total significant absences from Australia since first arrival. These absences are removed from the period of residence spent in Australia.

Collection of variable data

Scope

Statistical units

Year of Arrival in Australia and Period of Residence in Australia are attributes of the counting unit 'person'.

Both variables apply to the population of Australia born overseas. Supplementary categories are reserved for 'Born in Australia' and 'Not stated / Inadequately described' responses which apply to all persons in Australia.

Application to other variables

Year of Arrival in Australia and Period of Residence in Australia are not applicable to any other variables.

Question modules

Detailed question module

The standard question modules for Year of Arrival in Australia are as follows (note that it is standard procedure to first ask the Country of Birth of Person question and sequence only those people born in a country which is not Australia to the second question which explicitly collects Year of Arrival in Australia):

Question 1 for both self enumerated and interview based collections:

In which country [were you] [was the person] [was (name)] born?

Question 2 for self enumerated collections:

In what year did [you] [the person] first arrive in Australia to live here for one year or more?

Record the calendar year of first arrival or mark the box if less than one year.

Question 2 for interview based collections:

In which year did [(name)] first arrive in Australia to live (for one year or more)?

Question 3 for both self enumerated and interview based collections:

Excluding holidays, visits or business trips overseas, [have you] [has the person] [has (name)] had any periods of living overseas for one year or more since first arriving here?

If 'Yes', please list each absence from Australia of one year or more and its duration in years and months.

The recommended questions are suitable for self enumerated and interview based collections. For a majority of respondents not born in Australia, their answer to question two will be the date of their only arrival in Australia. The instruction under question two for self enumerated collections must be included. It emphasises that the year of first arrival only should be recorded and is needed to clarify the question for respondents with multiple arrivals in Australia.

For interview based collections, clear directions should be given by the interviewer so that the respondent understands the year of first arrival is to be reported. The words "to live" imply the intention to make one's home in Australia and then "(for one year or more)" is bracketed and need only be asked if respondents query the meaning of "to live".

In collections where the focus is only on Year of Arrival in Australia, questions one and two are sufficient. If Period of Residence in Australia is collected, question three should be asked in addition to questions one and two. Question three improves the accuracy of Period of Residence in Australia data by collecting all significant absences since first arrival.

An explanatory script showing further information about each question can be included with the chosen question module or in supplementary documentation. The explanatory script is included in Appendix A.

Short question module

This variable has no short question module.

Minimum question module

This variable has no minimum question module.

Derivation procedures

The Year of Arrival in Australia variable has no derivation procedures.

The Period of Residence in Australia variable is derived from Year of Arrival in Australia by:

  • Subtracting the year of first arrival in Australia from the year in which the collection or enumeration occurred. Express the result in completed years (of residence).
  • Subtracting significant time periods of absence from Australia (of one year or more) from the initial result (expressed in whole years).
  • In cases of multiple significant absences from Australia, add the total number of years spent absent from Australia (using the information supplied in question three, rounded to the nearest whole number) and subtract this figure from the difference between the year of collection and the year of first arrival.
     

In practice, it may be necessary to approximate total significant periods of time spent outside Australia.

Supporting variables

Year of Arrival in Australia requires the supporting variable Country of Birth of Person.

Processing the data

Coding

Input categories

Classification criteria

The 'date unit' (calendar) year is the criterion used for classifying Year of Arrival in Australia data (for example, 2018).

The 'time unit' years, meaning completed years of living in Australia, is the criterion used for classifying Period of Residence in Australia data (for example, seven years).

Standard classification and code structure

Input categories for Year of Arrival in Australia are four digit calendar years (for example, 2018). The code structure is four digits which relate directly to calendar years.

Input categories for Period of Residence in Australia are two digits that represent completed years of living in Australia. The two digit code structure ranges from 00, 01, 02, ... to 97:

  • Code '00' represents responses where the year of arrival is the same as the year of collection.
  • Code '01' represents a one year period of residence, and so on.
  • Code '97' represents a period of residence of 97 years or more.
     

Supplementary categories and codes

For Year of Arrival in Australia, 'Born in Australia' ('0000') and 'Not stated/Inadequately described' ('9999') are used.

For Period of Residence in Australia, 'Born in Australia' ('98') and 'Not stated/Inadequately described' ('99') are used.

Residual categories and codes

Not required for these variables.

Coding indexes

Year of Arrival in Australia and Period of Residence in Australia data are coded directly to their respective classifications without the need for coding indexes to interpret and code responses.

For Year of Arrival in Australia, four digit calendar years are coded to the equivalent category in the classification. For example, a response of 2018 is coded as '2018' in the classification.

For Period of Residence in Australia, two digit completed years of residency, rounded to the nearest completed year, are coded to the equivalent category in the classification. For example, a period of residence in Australia of seven years and eight months would be coded to the '07' category of the classification. Negative values derived for respondents with multiple arrivals are coded to the '00' category.

Editing procedures

This variable has no editing procedures.

Presenting the data

Output categories and classification

Year of Arrival in Australia

The standard structure of output categories for Year of Arrival in Australia depends on the year of collection.

The recommended output structure consists of:

  • the year of collection (for example, 2018).
  • the previous four single years (for example, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017).
  • a time period covering the years between the last single year listed and the previous census year (for example, 2011–2013).
  • two standard five year intercensal time periods, or more as necessary (for example, 2006–2010 and 2001–2005).
  • an open ended time period (for example, ‘Arrived before 2001’).
     

Output categories for 'Born in Australia' and 'Not stated/Inadequately described' are required.

The recommended output categories are adjusted for the collection year. For example, if a collection took place in 2018, the output categories would be:

Arrived before 2001
Arrived 2001–2005
Arrived 2006–2010
Arrived 2011–2013
Arrived 2014
Arrived 2015
Arrived 2016
Arrived 2017
Arrived 2018
Born in Australia
Not stated/Inadequately described

For collections that are unable to support output in single years, data may be grouped into part and full intercensal periods. For example, if a collection took place in 2018, the output categories would be:

Arrived before 2001
Arrived 2001–2005
Arrived 2006–2010
Arrived 2011–2015
Arrived 2016–2018
Born in Australia
Not stated/Inadequately described

In summary, the output structure consists of:

  • a final output period of the shortest time period that the collection will support (for example, perhaps two by two year groupings if the last year listed is four years after a census year).
  • two or more standard five year intercensal time periods.
  • an open ended time period (for example, 'Arrived before 2001').
     

Elapsed years since arrival

Output may also be grouped in five year categories to allow analysis based on comparisons of most recent arrivals with those who arrived 10, 15 or 20 years ago. For example:

Arrived 20 or more years ago
Arrived 15–19 years ago
Arrived 10–14 years ago
Arrived 5–9 years ago
Arrived within last 5 years
Born In Australia
Not stated/Inadequately described

In summary, the basic output structure consists of:

  • a time period of five years from the year of collection.
  • three five year time periods.
  • an open-ended time period (for example, 'Arrived 20 or more years ago').
     

These categories should be calculated based on the enumeration date (year) of the survey and the Year of Arrival in Australia. For example, a respondent answering a survey in 2018 and with a Year of Arrival in 2013 would be coded to 'Arrived 5–9 years ago'. Because the Year of Arrival in Australia is collected by 'year' rather than 'month and year' the output will be inaccurate for some respondents i.e. if a respondent was enumerated in Feb 2018 and arrived in Australia in Dec 2013 they would still be output to the category 'Arrived 5–9 years ago' even though they arrived 4 years and 2 months prior to enumeration.

Period of Residence in Australia

The standard structure of output categories for Period of Residence in Australia are five year groupings totalling 20 years of residence. They are:

0–4 years of residence
5–9 years of residence
10–14 years of residence
15–19 years of residence
20 or more years of residence
Born in Australia
Not stated/Inadequately described

The following output categories may be used when presenting data for short periods of residence:

0–4 years of residence
Less than 1 year of residence
1 year of residence
2 years of residence
3 years of residence
4 years of residence
5–9 years of residence
10–14 years of residence
15–19 years of residence
20 or more years of residence
Born in Australia
Not stated/Inadequately described

Related classifications

There are no related classifications applicable to this variable.

Appendix A - explanatory script

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The following script can be used as a guide for completing the question modules for the Year of Arrival in Australia variable. The script can be used for self-enumerated questionnaires or interviewer based surveys. However, it is not mandatory to use this script.

Year of Arrival in Australia is only asked of those people born outside Australia. It is standard procedure to first ask the Country of Birth question when collecting Year of Arrival in Australia.

Country of Birth question

A respondent is first asked their country of birth, or that of the person on whose behalf they are answering.

Interview based surveys

  • The interviewer marks the box for the country of birth the respondent identifies. If the respondent identifies a country not in the tick box list, the interviewer records the country name in the 'Other – please specify' category.
     

Self enumerated surveys

  • The respondent can choose the country of birth from the tick box list of options if the country is specified. The 'Other - please specify' response category provides a space for the respondent to record the name of a country if it is not specified in the tick box list.
     

Year of Arrival in Australia question

If a respondent was born in Australia they are not required to answer the Year of Arrival in Australia question. If a respondent records that they were born in a country other than Australia, the respondent is then sequenced to the Year of Arrival in Australia question.

Interview based surveys

The recommended question format is: In which year did [(name)] first arrive in Australia to live (for one year or more)?

  • The interviewer records the four digit calendar year in the space provided.
  • For respondents with multiple arrivals in Australia, the interviewer should ensure they record the year of first arrival only.
     

Self enumerated surveys

The recommended question format is: In what year did [you] [the person] first arrive in Australia to live here for one year or more?

  • The instruction "(Record the calendar year of first arrival or mark the box if here less than one year)." must be included under the question.
  • The respondent records the four digit calendar year of first arrival in the space provided. If the respondent does not intend to live in Australia for more than one year from the date of their first arrival, they mark the box "Will be here less than one year".
     

If Period of Residence in Australia is then collected, the question for Period of Residence should be asked in addition to the above questions. This improves the accuracy of Period of Residence in Australia data by collecting all significant absences since first arrival.

Period of Residence in Australia question

The recommended question format is: Excluding holidays, visits or business trips overseas, [have you] [has the person] [has (name)] had any periods of living overseas for one year or more since first arriving here?

The recommended instruction to accompany the question is: (If 'Yes', please list each absence from Australia of one year or more and its duration in years and months).

Interview based surveys

  • If the answer is 'Yes' to this question, the interviewer records each absence from Australia of one year or more and its duration in years and months in the space provided.
     

​​​​​​​Self enumerated surveys

  • If the answer is 'Yes' to this question, the respondent records each absence from Australia of one year or more and its duration in years and months in the space provided.
     

Appendix B - references

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  • Australian Bureau of Statistics, Standards for Statistics on Cultural and Language Diversity, Cat. no. 1289.0, ABS, Canberra, 1999.
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing: Census Dictionary, 2016, Cat. no. 2901.0, ABS, Canberra, 2016.
     

Glossary

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Year of Arrival in Australia

The year a person (born outside of Australia) first arrived in Australia from another country, with the intention of staying in Australia for one year or more.

Period of residence in Australia

For a person born overseas, the time (in years) since first arrival minus all significant periods spent outside of Australia. Significant periods are those of one year or more, not including holidays, visits and business trips overseas.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 1200.0.55.007.