FAMILY AND COMMUNITY EXPERIENCES SURVEY - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the survey are below. If you have a question that isn’t answered in these FAQs, please call 1800 136 387 and one of our team members will assist you.

Click the button below to create your ABS Survey Account and complete your survey online.



About this survey

I've been chosen to be in something called the Family and Community Experiences Survey – what is this?
If you are reading this, it's likely to be because you’ve received a letter or leaflet informing you that your household has been selected to be in the Family and Community Experiences Survey. This is an important national survey that collects vital information about the wellbeing of Australian households and Australians’ life experiences.

Results of this survey are used by government, local councils and community groups to make important decisions that can directly affect you, your family and the people you know. The information you provide guides where services are needed in your local area and the wider Australian community.

We need your help to get a clear picture of peoples’ life experiences in Australia. No matter what your circumstances are, we need your help to complete the survey. It’s important that the results of the survey reflect every address selected and that important services are provided in the areas that need them the most.


Why was my household selected?
Approximately 43,000 households throughout Australia are selected at random to participate in the Family and Community Experiences Survey.
The ABS uses a scientific sampling process designed to collect data which builds a picture that includes people from all backgrounds and lifestyles. This means everyone has an equal chance of being selected for this important national survey.

Once a household has been selected, another household cannot be substituted in its place, as changing the random selection could mean some parts of the community are under or over represented.

It is important that all selected households complete the survey to make sure the results represent the whole community, so that decisions made, such as the services provided by government, local councils and community groups, are made using the right information.


I was selected in this survey last year, why am I being asked to do it again this year?
The Family and Community Experiences Survey was planned to run last year, however due to the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) the survey was suspended. We have now resumed conducting the survey and are therefore recontacting households selected in the survey.


I created an ABS Survey Account last year, do I need to create a new account?
No. If you have already created an ABS Survey Account using the letter and instructions last year, you can use these details to log in to start your survey online. If you have forgotten your account details, you can simply reset it by clicking ‘Reset it here’ on the ABS Survey Account log in page and following the instructions.


Is the survey compulsory?
Ultimately, yes. The questions included in this survey are being asked under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905, which has provisions to make surveys compulsory.

Under the Act, you are obliged to provide the information being requested, unless otherwise specified by your interviewer. All the information you provide will remain strictly confidential and is protected under the Act.

The ABS has a strong reputation for retaining confidentiality of data. Our privacy policy outlines how you can access and correct the personal details that you provide to us and our privacy complaints handling process. For the ABS privacy policy please see www.abs.gov.au/privacy


How is the information collected?
Once you receive your registration letter, please choose someone from your household aged 18 years or older, to be your household representative. Then simply follow the instructions on the letter to create your ABS Survey Account.

Click on ABS Survey Account to create your account and complete the online part of the survey. The online part of the survey asks for your contact details and some questions about your household.

Once the online part of the survey has been completed an ABS interviewer, will make contact to set up an appointment at a convenient time, to complete the rest of the survey with a randomly selected member of your household.

During this appointment, the interviewer will explain the purpose of the survey and answer any questions. They will record survey answers on a laptop computer. It would be appreciated if a table and chair could be provided for the interviewer.

For any personal visits, our staff will always identify themselves, show you their official ABS photo identification and clearly explain the information they are seeking and how this will be used.

Remember -The ABS will NEVER ask you to provide or confirm your bank details.

If you are concerned, call us on 1800 136 387 and we can confirm your household’s selection in the survey and the identity of the staff member who is contacting you.


How do I complete the online part of the survey?
Once you receive your registration letter, please choose someone from your household, aged 18 years or older, to be your household representative. This representative should follow the instructions on the letter to create your ABS Survey Account and complete the online part of the survey.

Click on ABS Survey Account to create your account and complete the online part of the survey. If you are having trouble creating your account, completing the online part of the survey, or have lost your registration letter, please call us on 1800 136 387 and one of our team will be happy to assist you.


How will I be contacted about the rest of the survey?
Once the online part of the survey has been completed, an ABS interviewer will make contact to organise an appointment with the randomly selected member of your household to complete the rest of the survey at a time convenient for them.

During this appointment, the interviewer will explain the purpose of the survey and answer any questions. They will record survey answers on a laptop computer. It would be appreciated if a table and chair could be provided for the interviewer.

If we don't receive the completed online component, one of our interviewers will make contact to set up an appointment to complete the full survey.


Who in my household will be required to participate?
For the first part of the survey, one household representative will be asked to provide general information on everyone in the household, including age, birthplace and the make-up of your household. This information can be provided online or with an interviewer.

For the second part, the survey questionnaire will randomly select one person in the household, aged 18 years or over, for a private interview with an ABS interviewer, in order to collect more detailed information.


What kinds of questions will you ask?
This survey collects a range of information to produce important information about Australians’ life experiences. As well as asking general questions about age, birthplace and the make-up of households, the survey also contains questions about social and online interactions, education, and general health and wellbeing.


How is the information from this survey used? Why is it important?
The information collected in this survey will assist government and non-government organisations to make important decisions and plan for services in your local area and the wider Australian community. Results of this survey are used by government, local councils and community groups to make important decisions that can directly affect you, your family and the people you know.

By taking part, you ensure that your experiences and circumstances become an important part of the bigger picture of life in Australia today, and help to shape policies that affect everyone in the nation.

Full results of all our surveys are available free of charge for everyone on the ABS website.


How do I know the person contacting me is from the ABS?
You should have received a survey leaflet and letter in the mail to advise that your household has been selected in the Family and Community Experiences Survey. For any personal visits, our staff will always identify themselves, show you their official ABS photo identification and clearly explain the information they are seeking and how this will be used.

Remember -The ABS will NEVER ask you to provide or confirm your bank details.

If you are concerned, call us on 1800 136 387 and we can confirm your household’s selection in the survey and the identity of the staff member who is contacting you.


What happens if there are people in my household who don't speak English?
Where possible, an ABS interviewer who is fluent in the language of the householder will conduct the interview. If there is someone in the household who can translate, and the selected person agrees, they can help the interviewer.


Will I be paid for my time?
No. As with other household surveys, we rely on your co-operation. It is only with the support of people like you that we can continue to produce the statistics that inform Australia's important decisions.


How will you keep my information safe, secure, and confidential?
The information you provide is protected under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. We take the security of the information you provide to us very seriously.

All ABS employees have signed a legally enforceable Undertaking of Fidelity and Security in which they agree to keep any information, including personal information which they may deal with in the course of their work, private and confidential. This agreement applies to ABS employees for the rest of their lives, even if they leave the ABS. The penalty for breaching this is two years jail, a $26,640 fine, or both.

We comply with the Australian Privacy Principles. If you believe we have breached these principles, please see the information on how to lodge a complaint about privacy matters, contained within our privacy policy.



How can I provide feedback about my involvement in the Family and Community Experiences Survey?
If you have participated in this survey, or any of our other surveys, we want to hear about your experience. We value your feedback and will use it to improve how we work with our survey participants.

You can use our feedback form to provide us with feedback. For this survey, please select the option "Participation in an ABS Household Survey".



I'm having trouble completing the online part of the survey – where can I find help?
Please see our Survey Account Help page for help with technical difficulties and frequently asked questions on how to create and use the ABS Survey Account.

You can also call us on 1800 136 387 and one of our team will be happy to assist you.


Who can I contact for more information?
For help, or more information about this survey, please call us on 1800 136 387 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm AEST. For help outside these hours, please leave a message with your contact details and we will call you back.

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