Current Household Surveys

MONTHLY POPULATION SURVEY

NATIONAL HEALTH SURVEY

SURVEY OF INCOME & HOUSING


MONTHLY POPULATION SURVEY (MPS)

Background
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.

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 households 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-eights 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 www.abs.gov.au/privacy for the ABS privacy policy.

Where can I obtain the survey results?
Full survey results are published monthly on the ABS website in Labour Force, Australia (cat.no.6202.0).

NATIONAL HEALTH SURVEY

I've been chosen to be in something called the National Health Survey. Why?
If you are reading this it's likely to be because you have found a letter or pamphlet in your mailbox telling you that your household has been selected to be in the National Health Survey (NHS). This survey is run every three years to provide the community with vital information for measuring the health and wellbeing of Australians.

If your household has been selected to be in this survey, it means that the people in your household will represent households that are similar to yours. This is so that statistics about larger groups in the community can be produced. The results from the survey are used extensively by government agencies, researchers, clinicians and other health professionals in your community to help plan for the future and support research into ways to help us all live healthier and longer lives.

Why was my household selected?
Between July 2017 and June 2018, approximately 24,000 households will be randomly selected from the 9 million households in Australia to be included in the National Health Survey. This means that every household in Australia has the same chance of being selected in the survey. This is very important, as it means that when all the selected households are combined, the survey will resemble the whole community which they represent. Once a household has been selected, another household cannot be substituted in its place as other households have already had their chance of selection, and this could mean that some parts of the community are under or over represented.

Up to two residents, one adult (18 years and older) and one child (aged 0-17 years), in the selected dwelling are asked to participate. For household members aged between 15 and 17 years, the consent of a parent or guardian will be sought.

The survey is run every three years to provide the community with vital information for measuring the health and wellbeing of Australians.

How will the ABS contact me?
Each selected household will receive a Survey guide in the mail, which will provide some general information about the National Health Survey collection and how to contact the ABS. A survey registration letter will be arriving in the mail during the following week, and that this will provide information on how to register for the survey via online or phone. Once you register your details, an interviewer will call you to arrange a convenient time to complete an interview.

A reminder letter will also be sent encouraging selected households to register for the survey. If the household does not register by the date specified on the letter, an interviewer will visit the home to arrange a suitable time to do the interview.

How will you complete the survey?
An interviewer will come to your home (or agreed location) at the time you have chosen. They will check your address, identify themselves as an ABS interviewer, and show you their official ABS photo identification. They will conduct the interview using a laptop computer. It would be appreciated if you could provide a table and chair to the interviewer if possible.

What information are you going to ask about?
The NHS collects a range of information to give a ‘snapshot’ of Australia’s health, including the type of health problems people have and their lifestyle patterns.

The NHS includes questions about:
  • General health and wellbeing (including disability status)
  • Health risk status (physical activity, smoking, dietary behaviour, alcohol consumption)
  • Diagnosed conditions (focusing on the National Health Priority Areas of asthma, cancer, cardiovascular and circulatory conditions, arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes and high sugar levels, kidney disease, as well as mental, behavioural, cognitive and developmental conditions and related conditions)
  • Medications
  • Physical measures (blood pressure, weight, height and waist size). This part of the survey is voluntary.

In addition, detailed demographic and socio-demographic data (age, country of birth, education, employment, income and housing) are collected to enable an assessment to be made of the health and related needs of groups such as the elderly, migrants and low income families.

Adults aged 18 years and over who are selected for the NHS 2017-18 will also be asked to volunteer follow-up contact details for the purpose of assisting the ABS with future health related information collections.

Which people in the Household will be required to participate?
One adult member of each selected household (aged 18 years and over) will be chosen at random to participate. Interviewers will conduct a personal interview with this person which will cover a range of topics about the individual's health and wellbeing.

One child member of each selected household (aged 0 to 17 years) will also be chosen at random, where applicable. If the selected child is 0-14 years, the interview is conducted by proxy with a nominated adult. If the selected child is 15-17 years, a personal interview can be conducted if the parent or guardian consents, otherwise a proxy interview will be conducted.

What happens if there are people in the household who don't speak English?
An ABS interviewer who speaks the language of the householder will conduct the interview if possible. Alternatively, arrangements can be made to organise an interpreter to conduct the interview. Please call 1800 271 346 (free call, excluding mobile phones) so that these arrangements can be made.

Will I be paid for my time?
No. As with other household surveys, the ABS relies on the willing co-operation of households.

I don't want to participate. Can you choose another household?
It is very important to make sure that every household in Australia has an equal chance of being selected for this survey. This means that when all the selected houses are combined, the survey will resemble the whole community which they represent. Once your household has been selected, another household cannot be substituted in its place, as other households have already had their chance of being selected, and this could mean that some parts of the community are under or over represented.

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

How will you keep my information safe, secure, and confidential?
The ABS takes the security of the information you provide to us very seriously.

The survey information is collected using a notebook computer and then securely transferred to the ABS office environment. The computer makes the survey quicker and easier to do, and means you only need to answer the questions that relate to you and your household.

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 $21,600 fine, or both.

The ABS complies with the Australian Privacy Principles. If you believe the ABS has breached these principles, you can find information on how to lodge a complaint here. This link also provides more detail on the ABS's own Privacy Policy.

Can you show me some examples of the ways in which the survey information is used?
Here are some examples of the ways in which the ABS publishes findings from the survey:

National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15

Health Service Usage and Health Related Actions, Australia, 2014-15

Here are some examples of how other organisations use the data:

Australia's Health 2016

Healthy Communities: Tobacco smoking rates across Australia, 2014-15

Australia's Health Tracker

Australia's Healthy Weight Week

Where can I get more information?
For more information about participating in ABS surveys, see the Household Survey Participant Information FAQ's

For more information about the National Health Survey, see the Australian Health Survey User Guide

SURVEY OF INCOME & HOUSING

I've been chosen to be in something called the Survey of Income and Housing. Why?
If you are reading this it's likely to be because you have found a letter or pamphlet in your mailbox telling you that your household has been selected to be in the Survey of Income and Housing (SIH). This survey is run every two years to provide Australians with vital information for understanding the housing, income and wealth circumstances of Australians.

If your household has been picked to be in this survey, it means that the people in your household will represent households that are similar to yours. This is so that statistics about larger groups in the community can be produced. The results from the survey are used extensively by government agencies, researchers, and non-government agencies (such as the Australian Council of Social Service) in your community to help plan for the future and support research into the economic wellbeing of all Australians.

Why was my household selected?
Between July 2017 and June 2018, approximately 23,000 households will be randomly selected from the 9 million households in Australia to be included in the Survey of Income and Housing. This means that every household in Australia has the same chance of being selected in the survey. This is very important, as it means that when all the selected households are combined, the survey will resemble the whole community which they represent. Once a household has been selected, another household cannot be substituted in its place as other households have already had their chance of selection, and this could mean that some parts of the community are under or over represented.

Each resident aged 15 years or over are asked to participate. For household members aged between 15 and 17 years, the consent of a parent or guardian will be sought.

The survey is run every two years to provide the community with vital information for measuring the economic wellbeing of Australians. The results from the survey are used extensively by government agencies, researchers, non-government agencies (such as the Australian Council of Social Service) in your community to help plan for the future and support research into the economic wellbeing of all Australians.

How will the ABS contact me?
Each selected household will receive a Survey guide in the mail which will provide some general information about the Survey of Income and Housing collection and how to contact the ABS. A survey registration letter will be arriving in the mail during the following week, and that this will provide information on how to register for the survey via online or phone. Once you register your details, an interviewer will call you to arrange a convenient time to complete an interview.

A reminder letter will also be sent encouraging selected households to register for the survey. If the household does not register by the date specified on the letter, an interviewer will visit the home to arrange a suitable time to do the interview.

How will you complete the survey?
An interviewer will come to your home (or agreed location) at the time you have chosen. They will check your address, identify themselves as an ABS interviewer, and show you their official ABS photo identification. They will conduct the interview using a laptop computer. It would be appreciated if you could provide a table and chair to the interviewer if possible.

What information are you going to ask about?
The SIH collects a range of information to give a ‘snapshot’ of Australia’s economic wellbeing, including income, wealth, housing conditions and housing costs.

The SIH includes questions about:
  • Tenure type (owning, buying or renting your home)
  • How adequate the household income is in comparison to living costs
  • Housing costs and condition (e.g. need for repairs)
  • The wealth (e.g. cars, property or other assets) and financial security of the household

In addition, detailed demographic and socio-demographic data (age, country of birth, education, employment, income and housing) are collected to enable analysis of the economic wellbeing of groups such as the elderly, government payment recipients and low income families.

Which people in my house will be required to participate in the survey?
To start with, the interviewer will speak to any adult member of the household who is available. They will be asked to nominate a household spokesperson who can answer questions on behalf of all the people in the household.
Then the interviewer will need to interview every person aged 18 years and over living in the household, and will interview people aged 15-17 years with the consent of their parent or guardian.

If a person is unable to answer questions for themselves (for example due to disability or language difficulties), they can choose another person in the household to answer questions on their behalf.

What happens if there are people in the household who don't speak English?
An ABS interviewer who speaks the language of the householder will conduct the interview if possible. Alternatively, arrangements can be made to organise an interpreter to conduct the interview. Please call 1800 271 346 (free call, excluding mobile phones) so that these arrangements can be made.

Will I be paid for my time?
No. As with other household surveys, the ABS relies on the willing co-operation of households.

I don't want to participate. Can you choose another household?
It is very important to make sure that every household in Australia has an equal chance of being selected for this survey. This means that when all the selected houses are combined, the survey will resemble the whole community which they represent. Once your household has been selected, another household cannot be substituted in its place, as other households have already had their chance of being selected, and this could mean that some parts of the community are under or over represented.

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

How will you keep my information safe, secure, and confidential?
The ABS takes the security of the information you provide to us very seriously.

The survey information is collected using a notebook computer and then securely transferred to the ABS office environment. The computer makes the survey quicker and easier to do, and means you only need to answer the questions that relate to you and your household.

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 $21,600 fine, or both.

The ABS complies with the Australian Privacy Principles. If you believe the ABS has breached these principles, you can find information on how to lodge a complaint here. This link also provides more detail on the ABS's own Privacy Policy.

Can you show me some examples of the ways in which the survey information is used?
Here are some examples of the ways in which the ABS publishes findings from the survey:

Household Income and Wealth: Key findings

Australian Social Trends: Who has household debt?

Here are some examples of how other organisations use the data:

The Conversation: The facts on Australian housing affordability

Australian Council of Social Services: Poverty in Australia

Where can I get more information?
For more information about participating in ABS surveys, see the Household Survey Participant Information FAQ's

For more information about the Survey of Income and Housing, see the Survey of Income and Housing User Guide