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4363.0.55.001 - Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/06/2013   
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Contents >> Population characteristics >> Demographic characteristics

DEMOGRAPHIC AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS

Definition

In addition to the specific health information collected, the 2011-12 NHS and NNPAS collected a range of descriptive demographic characteristics.

Population

In the 2011-12 NHS and NNPAS, some demographic information was collected for all people in the household, whereas other information was collected only for the respondents selected in the survey.

Information from all persons, in all responding households, regardless of which survey they were selected in, was collected for the following characteristics:

  • age
  • sex
  • registered and social marital status (15 years and over)
  • country of birth and year of arrival in Australia
  • Indigenous status

Information from all respondents, regardless of which survey they were selected in, was collected for the following characteristics:
  • language mainly spoken at home (2 years and over)
  • proficiency at English (2 years and over)
  • country of birth of parents.

Information from all respondents in the NHS was also collected for Ancestry.

Methodology

Age

Age as reported was recorded for all persons in the household in single years. Standard output categories differ according to the topic to which the data relates. Age in five or ten year groups is most commonly used in survey output. Other non-standard groupings are available on request.

Age in months is also available in the NHS for selected persons aged less than 4 years. This item has been produced for use with breast feeding data.

Sex

Male or female as reported.

Registered marital status

Registered marital status was recorded as reported for persons aged 15 years and over, in the following categories:
  • never married
  • widowed
  • divorced
  • separated
  • married in a registered marriage
  • other - de facto
  • other - single/not married.

Social marital status

Social marital status was derived for persons aged 15 years and over, and was classified as:
  • Married - if living with another person in a couple relationship, which was reported as either a registered marriage or a defacto marriage. Included are persons living with a person of the same sex in a couple relationship.
  • Not married - if not living with another person in a couple relationship. Includes persons living alone, with other family members, or in shared accommodation. Includes persons in a registered or defacto marriage whose partners are not usually resident in the household.

Country of birth

Each respondent was classified to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2nd edition, 2nd Edition, Revision 2.03 (cat. no. 1269.0); a hierarchical classification based on the concept of geographic proximity. Standard output for this classification is discussed in Appendix 3: ABS Standard Classifications of this Users' Guide. Other groupings are available on request.

Year of arrival in Australia

This item refers to the year in which a person, reporting a country of birth other than Australia, first arrived in Australia to live for a period of one year or more. Individual year of arrival was recorded and can be grouped as required for output.

Indigenous status

Refers to whether the person is of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin, as identified by an adult spokesperson within each household, i.e. not necessarily self-identified. Status is classified as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and neither Aboriginal nor Torres Strait Islander.

Language mainly spoken at home

Obtained for persons 2 years and over, as reported. Language was classified at the finest level of the Australian Standard Classification of Languages 2005-06 (cat no. 1267.0). The abbreviated classification used in most standard output is shown in Appendix 3: ABS Standard Classifications of this Users' Guide.

For children aged 2 to 5 years, a category of ‘Child not yet speaking’ was available if the child was not yet speaking a recognisable language. This was classified to 0001 ‘Non-verbal, so described’ in the ASCL 2005-06.

Proficiency in spoken English

Respondent aged 2 years and over who reported they mainly spoke a language other than English at home were asked how well they spoke English. Responses were recorded as reported by respondents against the categories:

  • very well
  • well
  • not well
  • not at all.
Children identified as not yet speaking or people for whom sign language or Auslan (Australian Sign Language) was their main language were assigned the category of Not known/Not yet speaking.

Country of birth of parents

To obtain more details on cultural background that may influence health, respondents were asked to identify the country of birth of both their mother and father. If they did not know the country of birth of their parents due to adoption or other reasons, they could identify country of birth unknown. The responses were coded to the same classification as personal country of birth, identified above.

Ancestry

Respondents in the NHS were also asked to identify up to two ancestries. Ancestry was classified at the finest level of the Australian Standard Classification of Cultural and Ethnic Groups (ASCCEG), 2005-06 (cat no. 1249.0). Standard output for this classification is discussed in Appendix 3: ABS Standard Classifications of this Users' Guide. Other groupings are available on request.

Interpretation

Points to be considered in interpreting data for this topic include the following.

  • Summary characteristics of all usual residents of selected households were recorded from information supplied by any 'responsible adult' resident of the household (the ARA). Characteristics recorded were sex, age, marital status, whether currently attending school/educational institution, country of birth, year of arrival in Australia, Indigenous status and relationship to other household members.
  • Ancestry in NHS was collected to provide a self-assessed measure of ethnicity and cultural background. As such, some respondents may respond based on non-biological backgrounds associated with step parents or guardians.

Comparability with 2007-08 NHS

Data for most common items are considered directly comparable between the 2011-12 and 2007-08 surveys.

Although basic demographic information was collected about all household members in the 2001, 2004-05, 2007-08 and 2011-12 NHS cycles, processing arrangements in place in 2001 did not allow these details to be retained on the final survey data file in 2001. This data was retained for all persons from 2004-05 onwards.

Country of birth of parents and Ancestry items are new in 2011-12 NHS.

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