Survey Participant Information - Monthly Population Survey


The Monthly Population Survey (MPS) has been carried out since 1960 to provide information about the Australian population and workforce on a regular basis. The nation's employment and unemployment figures are produced from this survey.

Your household is one of approximately 30,000 around Australia selected by the ABS to take part in the survey each month. It is an official survey conducted under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

The results from the MPS are used by Commonwealth and state government, industry business, trade unions and academics to make important decisions about employment, industry support and education.

Participant Information

What details are required?

The main component of the MPS is the Labour Force Survey (LFS). In the LFS, employed people will be asked some questions on topics such as hours worked, their occupation and the type of industry in which they work. People looking for work will be asked questions on topics such as steps taken to look for work and the length of time they have been looking for work. Retired people and people who are neither working nor looking for work will be asked some questions to clarify their current situation and future intentions.

In some months you might be asked additional questions on various topics including education, conditions of employment or child care arrangements.

A small portion of respondents will be asked about qualifications and employment outcomes, barriers and incentives to labour force participation, retirement and retirement intentions, household use of information technology, patient experience, crime and safety and household income.

The questions can usually be answered for all of your household members in a few minutes and the answers can be provided by any adult member of the household. The interview is conducted using a notebook computer

How long will I be in the survey?

You will be asked to complete our survey once every month for eight months. You have the option to register and complete the survey online for the eight months you have been selected. If you decide not register online an ABS interviewer (with an official identification card) will visit your home for the first interview. In the following months, where possible, interviews will be conducted by telephone.

Why do I have to do it for eight months?

One of the main reasons for the MPS is to measure changes in your household's situation over time. To reduce burden on your household and to provide reliable information on the current status of the labour force, households are replaced every eight months. Seven-eighths of the month-to-month sample is the same as the previous month.

Why is it important that all those selected take part in the survey?

The sample is designed to provide a balanced representation of all households in Australia so that the estimates made from the data reflect, as closely as possible, all households. If some households do not participate, this may result in one type of household being represented more often than another type, which may result in biases in the data.

What provision is made for respondents who do not speak English well?

Arrangements can be made for the interview to be conducted by an ABS Interviewer fluent in the language of the householder or using an interpreter.

Will respondents be paid for their time?

No. As with other household surveys, the ABS relies on the willing cooperation of households.

Why are Notebook computers being used for the survey interview?

The use of Notebook computers increases the security of the information collected as it can only be accessed by the interviewer and the ABS officers responsible for processing the data.

Using notebook computers helps to minimise the number of mistakes that can be made when information is being collected or processed. This improves the quality and reliability of the survey data. Additionally, notebook computers make it easier for interviewers to conduct the interview smoothly and speed up the interview process.

Is the survey compulsory?

The questions included in this survey are being asked under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. Under the Act, you are obliged to provide the information being requested. The ABS is required by the Act to maintain the secrecy of all information provided to it. No information will be released in a way that would enable an individual or household to be identified.

Do householders have to give ABS interviewers right of entry to their home?

No. Interviewers can enter the household only by invitation from the householder; however, it would be helpful if a suitable chair and table was made available (inside or outside the house) as the interviewer will be using a notebook computer to collect the information.

Will the information provided be confidential?

The ABS privacy policy outlines how you can access and correct the personal details that you provide to us. It also explains how you can lodge a complaint if you believe the Australian Privacy Principles have been breached, and the steps the ABS will take to deal with your complaint. Please see for the ABS privacy policy.

The Results

Where can I obtain the survey results?

Full survey results are published monthly on the ABS website in Labour Force, Australia (

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