Unpaid Child Care (CHCAREP)

This variable records whether a person spent any time caring for a child/children (under 15 years) without pay, in the two weeks prior to Census Night.

Questions on unpaid work, including unpaid childcare, were first asked for the 2006 Census. These questions were repeated for 2011. More information on the question design can be found in the Measures of Unpaid Work fact sheet.

The non-response rate for this variable was 7.8% in 2011 (9.2% in 2006). More information is available from the 2011 Census non-response quality statement.

The responses to this question are captured automatically from mark box responses on the form so the risk of processing error is minimal. Sample checks are undertaken to ensure an acceptable level of quality. In a small proportion of cases (less than 0.1%), respondents provided an incorrect combination of responses. This occurred when a 'No' response was marked together with one or both of the 'Yes' responses. In these cases the 'Yes' responses are retained and the 'No' response is rejected.

Users should use caution when analysing the results for older respondents who reported they cared for their own child. The 2011 Census shows a small proportion (0.2%) of persons aged 80 years and over indicating that they were caring for their own child aged under 15 years. 5.0% of this subset had their ages imputed, either due to the lack of respondent information or to conform with family processing rules. Imputation rules do not reference Unpaid Child Care (CHCAREP) as a factor, so there is no statistical correlation between the fields Age (AGEP) and CHCAREP for this group. The remainder reported their Date of Birth and/or Age last birthday, and the output (AGEP) remains 'as reported'. The following scenarios are possible for this data:
  • both variables are correct (for example an aged parent looking after his/her child)
  • AGEP is correct and the CHCAREP response is wrong (respondents may have misunderstood the childcare question eg. considered grandchildren or other children in the extended family to be their 'own children' or did not realise that the question referred to only children who were less than 15 years of age)
  • AGEP is incorrect and CHCAREP is correct (refer to the data quality statement for AGEP for further information about the quality of age data), or
  • neither variable is correct.

Additional sources of information regarding unpaid child care can be found in other ABS publications and associated collections, including Childhood Education and Care, Australia, June 2011 (cat. no. 4402.0) which refers to usual care arrangements for children aged 0-12 years.

The Children and Youth page on the ABS website also contains links to alternative data sources that may be of relevance to users.

More information on CHCAREP is available in the 2011 Census Dictionary (cat. no. 2901.0)

Question 50 as it appeared on the 2011 Census Household Form

Image of question 50 from the 2011 Census
A text only version of this question is also available


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