Appendix 1: Key survey sources and data reports

The data in this online databook is sourced from a number of administrative and survey collections. A brief description of these and some general information about surveys is provided below.

About surveys

A survey is a method used to collect information in a systematic way. Surveys are always based on a sample of the population of interest, for example children where the role of the sample is to represent this population. The success of any survey is dependent on the representativeness of the sample.

Because surveys use a sample of the population rather than the whole population statistics are estimated and these estimates are subject to two types of error: non-sampling and sampling errors.

Sampling errors occur because different samples from the same population would likely result in different estimates of the statistic in question. The result is that there is always some degree of uncertainty associated with statistics estimated from a sample. It is important that the uncertainty in any statistic is known to the reader. Confidence intervals provide a way of making the sampling error known.

Non sampling errors are typically problems like missing data; difference in respondents' interpretations of the meaning of survey questions; differences in the responses because of the particular time the survey was conducted, for example seasonal differences, the effects of holidays, or a recent event (this is particularly important when considering survey results over time or comparing them with data from another source); and mistakes in data preparation. Researchers make every effort to keep the non-sampling error to a minimum by a range of strategies including the careful design of questionnaires, and training and supervision of those responsible for data collection and analysis. Some strategies include the imputation, weighting, or inclusion of a data item in analysis where data is missing.

Surveys can have other limitations that also need to be known and considered by the reader. These can include limitations arising from definitions. For example, 'disability' can be defined in a variety of ways with the resulting data reflecting the definition used. Limitations can also arise from the information source, for example, parental reports of their child's enjoyment at school would likely be different to the child's report; and non response bias can arise when people cannot or do not cooperate in the survey.

Admitted Patient Data Collection (APDC)

The APDC is an administrative data collection held by the NSW Ministry of Health. It covers all inpatient separations (discharges, transfers and deaths) from all Public (including Psychiatric), Private, and Repatriation Hospitals, Private Day Procedures Centres and Public Nursing Homes in NSW.

The collection also includes data relating to NSW residents hospitalised interstate and in Commonwealth Department of Veteran’s Affairs facilities. Patient separations from Developmental Disability Institutions and Private Nursing Homes are not included. The APDC is a financial year collection from 1 July through to 30 June of the following year.

APDC data are comprised of discrete Episodes of Care (EOC). An episode of care ends by either the patient ending a period of stay in hospital (i.e. by discharge, transfer or death) or by the patient becoming a different type of patient within the same period of stay in hospital. One hospitalisation may result in multiple records within the APDC, and a person may have multiple records for hospitalisation in the APDC in any given year. Clinical information is coded using the International Classification of Diseases, using the 10th revision Australian modification (ICD-10-AM).

Socioeconomic disadvantage and remoteness are determined from the APDC using the usual place of residence of the child, not the place where the cause of hospitalisation (e.g. injury) occurred.

Australian Early Development Index, Australian Government

The Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) is a population measure of children’s development as they enter school. It is an adapted version of the Canadian Early Development Instrument (EDI), developed in response to communities’ increasing interest in knowing how their children were developing. The AEDI measures five areas of early childhood development:

  • physical health and wellbeing
  • social competence
  • emotional maturity
  • language and cognitive skills
  • communication skills and general knowledge.

The results from the AEDI are intended to help communities, government and policy-makers identify the services, resources and support that children need to achieve the best possible start in life (Centre for Community Child Health and Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, 2009)

In 2009, AEDI was administered nationally with information collected on 261,203 children (97.5 per cent of the estimated national 5 year old population); In NSW information was collected for 4,425. By the end of 2010 every community across Australia will be mapped, to provide a picture of the early childhood development strengths and vulnerabilities in each community and on each of the AEDI developmental areas.

Teachers completed the AEDI Checklists which consists of more than 100 questions measuring the five developmental domains for children in their first year of full-time school. Every checklist receives a score for each domain. The AEDI scores range from 0 to 10 (0 is the lowest score; 10 is the highest score possible).

Information is entered on the secure web-based data entry system developed especially for the AEDI by the Australian Council for Educational Research. Checklists were completed by teachers based on their knowledge and observation of the children in their class, along with demographic information from school enrolment forms. Teachers were provided with a comprehensive AEDI Guide for Teachers, including a training CD-ROM that provided detailed response criteria for the AEDI Checklist items.

To ensure the AEDI is relevant to Australia’s culturally diverse population, two important studies have been funded by the Australian Government. The AEDI Indigenous Adaptation Study further developed the AEDI to ensure its relevance and sensitivity to the needs of Australian Indigenous children. This study was initiated by the Centre for Developmental Health and the Kulunga Indigenous Research Network at Perth’s Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in 2007 and has been supported by Shell Australia and the Australian Government. The AEDI Language Background Other than English (LBOTE) Study was initiated in 2008 by the Centre for Community Child Health to review the AEDI implementation process, results and data usage for culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Although recommendations from these two studies have been incorporated in the 2009 AEDI data collection, the studies are ongoing and will inform the important next steps to refine and evaluate the community engagement processes and resources for reporting AEDI findings to communities.

For more information go to:

Birth Australia, ABS

The ABS Birth Registrations Collection includes all births that occurred and were registered in Australia. It includes births to mothers whose place of usual residence was overseas, but excludes:

  • still births/fetal deaths (these are accounted for in perinatal death statistics)
  • adoptions, sex changes, legitimations and corrections
  • births to foreign diplomatic staff
  • births on Norfolk Island.

The 2009 births include:

  • births registered in 2009 and received by the ABS in that year
  • births registered in 2009 and received by the ABS in the first quarter of 2010
  • births registered in the years prior to 2009 but not received by the ABS until 2009 or the first quarter of 2010, provided that these records have not been included in any statistics from earlier periods.

Registration of births is the responsibility of state and territory registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages and is based on data provided on an information form completed by the parent(s) of the child.

The ABS Birth Registrations Collection recognises a birth as being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) origin if at least one parent identifies themselves as being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin on the birth registration form. Therefore, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander births may be attributed to either:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers, including births where both the mother and father are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fathers and non-Aboriginal mothers.

Information on births is obtained from a complete enumeration of births registered during a specified period and is not subject to sampling error. However, births data sources are subject to non-sampling error which can arise from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing the data. Sources of non-sample error include:

  • completeness of an individual record at a given point in time
  • completeness of the dataset (e.g. impact of registration lags, processing lags and duplicate records)
  • extent of population coverage (whilst all births should legally be registered, some cases may not be registered for an extended time, if at all)
  • lack of consistency in the application of questions or forms used by data providers, both through time and between different jurisdictions.

For more information go to ABS: Births, Australia 2009 (

Crashlink Data Collection (Crashlink), Centre for Road Safety, Transport for NSW Roads & Maritime Services

The Crashlink Data Collection (Crashlink) provides information on all crash incidents that occurred in NSW, as recorded by the police, in which a person was injured or died or at least one motor vehicle was towed away.  This includes crashes involving drivers aged 16–17 years.  The data include demographic characteristics of the driver, error factors, licence status, and the time of crash.

Annual statistical statements are prepared by the Centre for Road Safety.  These are available from:

Census of Population and Housing, ABS

The Census of Population and Housing aims to accurately measure the number of people in Australia on Census night, their key characteristics and the dwellings in which they live. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) undertakes the Census every five years; the last Census was held on 8 August 2006. The Census counts everyone in Australia, except foreign diplomats and their families, on Census night including:

  • people working or living on boats in Australian waters
  • visitors to Australia, regardless of how long they have been in the country or plan to stay
  • people outside but normally resident in Australia who are not subject to outbound migration formalities, such as those on oil and gas rigs off the Australian coast
  • people of the Torres Strait Islands
  • people of the territories of Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island - following the enactment of the Territories Reform Act 1992, the results for these territories were included in the counts for Australia for the first time in 1996
  • people over-wintering in the Australian Antarctic Territory
  • overseas visitors to Australia
  • homeless people
  • people on aeroplanes travelling between Australian destinations on Census Night
  • people on ships travelling between Australian destinations on Census Night
  • all children, including newborn babies born before midnight on Census Night
  • people in detention centres
  • people in prison
  • transport drivers on the road
  • people in hospitals and institutions.

This report uses data from a number of information sources from the 2006 Census of Population and Housing. It uses data from 2006 CDATA online which allows users to create tables of Census data on a range of different topics; customised tables from the ABS; and data from the 2006 Census Sample File available through a 1% Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURF) release. The CURF enables users to tabulate and analyse data to their own specifications. As the 1% CURF is a sample of records from the Census, estimates will not correspond exactly to those obtained from CDATA online and ABS customised tables because the data has been confidentialised and because of sampling error.

For more information go to ABS: Census of Population and Housing (

Child Employment Survey, ABS

The Child Employment Survey was conducted throughout Australia in June 2006 as a supplement to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). This is the only time the survey has been conducted.

The scope of this supplementary survey was restricted to children aged 5 to 14 years. Information about the working patterns of each child was collected from a parent or guardian if they were resident in the same household and fully responding to the LFS. If a parent or guardian of the child was unavailable, out of scope or not fully responding to the LFS then the information was collected from another person aged 15 years or over resident in the same household who was fully responding to the LFS.

The survey collected details about whether children worked, when they worked, their reasons for working and their working arrangements.

The estimates are based on information collected in the survey month, with reference to the 12 months prior to interview. Enumeration may have been during school holidays or school terms, depending on the state or territory and the date of interview, which may affect recall for some questions. If enumeration had taken place in a different month estimates may have different.

The definition of employment for this survey has been adapted from the LFS. Children aged 5 to 14 years were considered to be employed if they worked for pay, profit, commission or payment in kind in a job, business, or on a farm, or worked without pay in a family business or farm at some time in the last 12 months.

Work included paid work for an employer; unpaid work in a family business or on a farm (i.e. contributing family workers); paid work in a family business or on a farm; work carried out for non-household members (e.g. neighbourhood car washing, lawn mowing) for payment; street vending; busking; work done for payment in kind (e.g. if the child receives goods rather than cash as payment for work done); paid work for non-profit organisations. In the survey work excluded: all household work undertaken for their household; unpaid work experience (e.g. done as part of the child's schooling); unpaid probationary periods; and unpaid work done for all charities and non-profit organisations.

Occupation was coded according to the ANZSCO - Australian and New Zealand Classification of Occupations, First Edition, 2006 (

For more information go to ABS: Child Employment, Australia, Jun 2006 ( )

Children’s participation in cultural and leisure activities, ABS

The Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities Survey is conducted throughout Australia as a supplement to the Australian Bureau of Statistics monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS).

The survey identifies characteristics of children who participate in organised sport, cultural activities and selected activities undertaken for recreation and leisure, and to monitor the use of information technology by children. The survey focuses on activities outside of school hours to elicit information on activities that are more likely to be undertaken by children by choice rather than those that are part of the school curriculum.

It is a continuation of a series of surveys on this topic conducted since April 2000.

The last survey was in 2009 with information collected through interviews conducted over a two week period during April 2009.

Information was collected from any responsible adult in the household who was asked to respond on behalf of the children in the household.

Data were collected on children's cultural and sporting activities undertaken outside of school hours over a 12 month period. Data on the frequency of participation relates to the 12 months before interview, while data on the number of hours of participation refers to the last two weeks of school (the most recent two school weeks prior to the interview, including weekends and public holidays).

For children aged 15 to 17 years permission was sought from a parent or guardian before conducting the interview. If permission was not given, the parent or guardian was asked the questions on behalf of the children in question.

The ABS currently plans to conduct this survey again in April 2012.

For more information go to ABS: Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, Apr 2009 (

Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA), FaHCSIA

The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey was initiated, and is funded, by the Australian Government through the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA). The Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research (University of Melbourne) is responsible for the design and management of the survey. HILDA is a panel (or longitudinal) survey of Australian households. It is essentially a survey about life in Australia. The HILDA survey is made up of a number of different instruments that collect information about economic and subjective well-being, labour market dynamics and family dynamics. Specifically HILDA provides information on:

income dynamics – with a particular focus on how households respond to policy changes aimed at improving financial incentives, and interactions between changes in family status and poverty;

labour market dynamics – with a focus on low-to-middle income households, female participation, and work-to-retirement transitions; and

family dynamics – focusing on family formation, well-being and separation, along with post-separation arrangements for children, and on links between income support and family formation and breakdown.

The range of topics the HILDA survey covers, however, extends well beyond this to include life satisfaction, health outcomes, neighbourhood characteristics, how people use their time, work-family balance and much more. A feature of the HILDA survey is that modules on special topics can be included in each wave.

For more information go to: Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey (


JusticeLink was introduced in NSW from February 2008. It is a multi-jurisdictional court computer system that assists in the handling of court cases in NSW. It also provides an online judicial network allowing lawyers and judges to engage in some court hearings and proceedings over the internet.

JusticeLink holds information on the penalties imposed by courts on offenders, including supervision orders and detention. Data in JusticeLink are case-based, with each case containing one or more charges against a single individual. When different charges within the same case are finalised on either the same or different dates, these are counted as one finalised court appearance and therefore reported as one person. An individual may also be involved in multiple JusticeLink cases. Only when all cases are finalised on the same date are they reported as one person.

For more information go to: Lawlink (

Juvenile Justice National Minimum Data Set (JJ NMDS)

The Juvenile Justice National Minimum Data Set (JJ NMDS) is a joint project between the Australasian Juvenile Justice Administrators (AJJA) and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). In Australia, the states and territories are responsible for juvenile justice and there is marked diversity in terms of legislation, policy and practices among jurisdictions.

The JJ NMDS is a national unit-record data collection that contains information on all young people who are supervised by juvenile justice agencies in Australia, both in the community and in detention. It was implemented in 2004 and contains data commencing from 2000–2001. The AIHW is data custodian for the collection.

The data collected includes information on:

  • characteristics of young people under juvenile supervision (age, sex, Aboriginal status, and age at first supervision)
  • supervised orders (order start and end dates, end reason, and order type)
  • detention periods (detention start and end dates, end reason, and detention type).

The JJ NMDS does not contain information on young people on unsupervised orders or under supervision by agencies other than juvenile justice agencies.

For further information see: Background to the JJ NMDS (

Labour force participation survey (LFS), ABS

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is conducted throughout Australia monthly since 1978 and includes all persons aged 15 years.

The LFS collects information on:

  • Socio-demographic factors - sex, age, marital status, relationship in household, family, geographic regional, participation in school and tertiary education, birthplace and year of arrival in Australia
  • Persons in the labour force - Labour force status, unemployment rate, participation rate and gross changes (flows) in labour force status
  • Persons employed - Status in employment in main job, full-time or part-time status, hours worked in all jobs, job tenure, underemployment, usual hours, hours in main job, preference for working more hours, reason for working less than 35 hours in the reference week, and occupation and industry in main job. Data on occupation, industry, status in employment, and underemployment, are collected in the months February, May, August and November only
  • Persons unemployed - Whether looking for full-time or part-time work, reason for ceasing last job, industry and occupation of last job, duration of unemployment, active steps taken to find work, and whether looking for first job.
  • Persons not in the labour force - Whether looking for work (actively, not actively); marginal attachment to the labour force; permanently unable to work; in institutions.

Seasonally adjusted and trend (smoothed seasonally adjusted) data are available for selected series (labour force status, industry of employment, and long-term unemployed).

Households selected for the Labour Force Survey are interviewed each month for eight months, with one-eighth of the sample being replaced each month. The first interview is conducted face-to-face. Subsequent interviews are conducted by telephone (if acceptable to the respondent).

For more information go to: Labour Force Survey Standard Products and Data Item Guide, Dec 2009 (

Long suspension and expulsion

The NSW Department of Education and Communities (DEC) long suspension and expulsion (LSE) is an administrative collection managed by DEC on the number of long suspensions and expulsions occurring in NSW government schools. Suspension and expulsion data to is provided by Principals to regional offices each semester. Regions complete a return the data to state office each semester.

The long suspension and expulsion Summary has been published annually since 2005. Since 2008 more detailed analysis of the data has been undertaken and a more comprehensive data report developed. The data collected and reported includes:

  • Long suspensions by School Year (Grouped)
  • The number of students receiving long suspensions by School Year (Grouped)
  • Reasons for long suspension
  • Long suspensions by Region
  • The number of students receiving long suspensions by Region
  • Reasons for long suspension by Region
  • Students Long Suspended in School Education Groups
  • Expulsions

For more information go to:

Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), AIFS

The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) study aims to shed light on the development of the current generation of Australian children, and to investigate the contribution of the children's social, economic and cultural environments to their adjustment and well-being. The study collects a range of information about children and their families including children's academic ability, their health and emotional well-being, parenting, family functioning, early childhood care, and education and schooling. Since the study began in 2004, around 10,000 children and families have taken part in three main waves of interviews and three mail-out surveys.

LSAC involves a representative sample of children from urban and rural areas in all states and territories of Australia. The study uses an accelerated cross-sequential design in which data are collected in face-to-face interviews from two cohorts every two years. The first cohort of 5,000 children was aged 0–1 years and the second cohort of 5,000 children was aged 4–5 years in 2003–2004.

Study informants include the child (when of an appropriate age) and their parents (both resident and non-resident), carers and teachers. In addition, the study links to administrative databases, thereby adding valuable information to the data collected during fieldwork. The study will continue to follow these two cohorts of children to the ages of 14–15 years and 18–19 years.

A set of 11 key research questions guides the study, clustered around the themes of child and family functioning, health, child care, and education. Face-to-face interviews are conducted every two years, with the first wave of data collection occurring in 2004. In addition, a between-waves mailout survey was conducted between Waves 1 and 2 (Wave 1.5), between Waves 2 and 3 (Wave 2.5) and between Waves 3 and 4 (Wave 3.5).

Data from the Wave 4 collection will be available in August 2011. For more information go to: Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (

Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY)

The Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY) track young people as they move from school into further study, work and other destinations. It uses large, nationally representative samples of young people to collect information about education and training, work, and social development. The LSAY program commenced in 1995 and was based on two other annual surveys: the Australian Youth Survey (AYS, 1989–97) and the Youth in Transition survey (YIT).

Survey participants (enter the study when they are about 15 years old and are contacted once a year for 10 years. Studies began in 1995 (Y95 cohort), 1998 (Y98 cohort), 2003 (Y03 cohort), 2006 (Y06 cohort) and more recently in 2009 (Y09 cohort). Since 2003, the initial survey wave has been integrated with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). More than 10,000 students start out in each cohort.

LSAY provides a rich source of information to help better understand young people and their transitions from school to post-school destinations, as well as exploring social outcomes, such as well-being. Information collected covers a wide range of school and post-school topics such as: student achievement, student aspirations, school retention, social background, attitudes to school, work experiences and what students are doing when they leave school. This includes vocational and higher education, employment, job-seeking activity and satisfaction with various aspects of their lives.

For more information go to: Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY) (

National Assessment Program—Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN)

The National Assessment Program—Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests are conducted in May each year for all students across Australia in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. All students in the same year level are assessed on the same test items in the assessment domains of Reading, Writing, Language Conventions (Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation) and Numeracy.

For more information go to:

National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC)

The National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC) is a joint undertaking of the various state and territory departments of education, the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), and the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA).

The collection does not include school level education conducted by Technical and Further Education (TAFE) establishments.

The statistics are compiled from collections conducted in cooperation with the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA), by state and territory departments of education (government series), and by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) (non-government series).

The methodologies employed in compiling the government sector aggregates, on which the statistics in this publication are based, vary between the different state and territory departments of education. They range from accessing central administrative records to direct collection of data from establishments.

DEEWR collects data directly from establishments in the non-government sector for all states and territories. The non-government sector statistics in this publication are a summary of results from that collection.

The scope of the collection is bound by the definitions of schools, students and staff which is available on request in the ABS Notes, Instructions and Tabulations (NIT).

For more information go to ABS: Schools, Australia, 2009 (

NSW Child Death Review Team (CDRT) collection

The NSW Child Death Review Team maintains a Child Death Register (the Register) of the deaths of all children and young people aged 0–17 years registered in NSW. In 2007, the Act was extended so that the Team’s functions include the deaths of children outside the State while ordinarily resident in the State. To obtain information on the deaths of children usually resident in NSW but whose deaths were registered elsewhere, arrangements were made with agencies in other states and territories whose functions are substantially similar to the functions of the Team, and with the Registry’s of Births, Deaths and Marriages in other Australian jurisdictions.

Information regarding each death is based on death registration data from the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, as well as records obtained from other sources such as the coroner, health, police, education and child protection services. This more complete information is used by the Team to fulfil its functions including classifying the cause of death, demographic criteria and other relevant factors. Based on that additional information, causes of death are determined by a clinical coder.

The Team reports annually on deaths of NSW children, and includes specific information on death from external causes arising from both intentional and unintentional injury.  Data are available from 1996 onwards.

Responsibility for the collection transferred from the NSW Commission for Children and Young People to the NSW Ombudsman in February 2011.

NSW Midwives Data Collection (MDC), NSW Department of Health

The MDC is a population-based surveillance system covering all births in NSW public and private hospitals, as well as homebirths. The data collection has operated since 1987 but only continuously since 1990. In 1992, the MDC became a statutory data collection under the NSW Public Health Act 1991.

The MDC encompasses all live births and stillbirths of at least 20 weeks gestation or at least 400 grams birth weight. The MDC relies on the attending midwife to complete a notification form when a birth occurs. The form includes demographic items and items on maternal health, the pregnancy, labour, delivery and perinatal outcomes and has undergone revisions in 1990, 1993, 1998, 2006 and 2011.

The MDC includes notifications of births which occur in NSW; it does not receive notifications of interstate births where the mother is resident in NSW (

For more information go to:

NSW Police Force’s Computerised Operational Policing System (COPS)

NSW Police Force Computerised Operational Policing System (COPS) is an administrative database. The primary purpose of the COPS is to record all police activities by NSW Police.

COPS provides information on all reported criminal incidents, data on police actions, and other occurrences attended by, or reported to, police. The scope of the dataset is police activities including:

  • all events attended
  • all recorded victim records associated with reported and detected crime
  • persons of interest involved in all reported and detected crime
  • incidents of all reported and detected crime
  • apprehended violence orders (AVOs) granted
  • other information used in policing.

Excluded from the scope of the COPS database are offences which do not involve NSW Police such as offences against Commonwealth laws processed under Commonwealth jurisdiction.

Persons of interest (POI) are suspected offenders recorded by police in connection with criminal incidents. Some POIs are formally proceeded against by police either to court or by an alternative method such as by infringement notice or, for juveniles, by Youth Justice Conference, formal caution or warnings.

COPS data are affected by legislative changes. This includes the creation of new offences as well as major initiatives such as mandatory reporting. The results of Ministerial and Ombudsman reviews of legislation can also affect the way incidents are recorded. These types of changes may have an impact on reported crime statistics over time.

For more information go to: NSW Bureau Of Crime Statistics and Research, Recorded Crime Statistics Database (!OpenDocument)

NSW Population Health Survey, NSW Department of Health

The NSW Population Health Survey is an ongoing telephone survey of NSW residents. The survey is conducted continuously by NSW Department of Health between February and December each year. The survey covers the whole state population from birth upwards.

The Centre for Epidemiology and Research conducted a child health survey in 2001. From 2003 the NSW Population Health Survey has included a child component.

The target population is all state residents living in households with private telephones. The target sample is approximately 1,500 people in each area health service (a total sample of 12,000).

Households are contacted using list assisted random digit dialling. One person from the household is randomly selected for inclusion in the survey. Carers or parents of children aged 0-15 years are interviewed on their behalf.

Respondents are asked questions from modules on demographics, health behaviours, health status, and access to and satisfaction with health services. Additional question modules are added periodically and are reported less frequently.

The sample is weighted to adjust for differences in the probabilities of selection among subjects, and for differences between the age and sex structure of the sample and Australian Bureau of Statistics mid-year population estimates for New South Wales. This enables calculation of prevalence estimates for the state population rather than for the respondents selected.

For more information go to: New South Wales Population Health Survey (

NSW Reoffending Database (ROD)

The Reoffending Database (ROD) was developed in 2001 by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research. The purpose of the Reoffending Database is to permit the tracking and analysis of patterns of recidivism for the purpose of research and policy development.

The database contains information on the demographic characteristics and criminal history of the offender.

The database contains records of all finalised criminal court appearances since 1994 and is built from different data sources: the Children’s, Local, District, Supreme and Drug Courts of New South Wales, as well as data from Corrective Services NSW and the Department of Juvenile Justice.

The ROD is built by linking the court records of individuals using specific matching criteria. Validation processes have demonstrated that this matching process is highly reliable with the estimates about reoffending sufficiently reliable for statistical and research purposes (BOCSAR).

For more information go to: Crime and justice bulletins ( [see Crime and justice bulletins No. CJB78 & CJB95].

NSW School Student Health Behaviours (SSHB) Survey, NSW Department of Health

The New South Wales School Students Health Behaviours (SSHB) Survey collects information about the health behaviours and attitudes of secondary school students in New South Wales. Surveys have been conducted in 2002, 2005 and 2008, as part of the triennial Australian School Students Alcohol and Drugs (ASSAD) Survey, which began in 1984. The target population is all students in Years 7-12 in NSW.

The survey uses a self-administered questionnaire and includes questions on tobacco, alcohol, illicit drug use, and sun protection from the ASSAD Survey, with supplementary questions on nutrition and eating, height and weight (including perception of body mass), physical activity, injury, psychological distress.

The sampling procedure ensures the distribution of schools among the three sectors was reflected in the sample. Two samples were drawn: junior secondary (Years 7 to 10); senior secondary (Years 11 and 12).

In 2008, a total of 7,874 students in Years 7-12 were surveyed during the academic year: 7,553 were aged 12-17 years; 65.4 per cent were from Government schools, 16.7 per cent were from Catholic schools, and 17.8 per cent were from Independent schools. Schools with fewer than 100 students were not included in the survey.

For more information go to:

National census of homeless school students

There have been three national censuses of homeless school students in 1994, 2001 and 2006. Third census carried out in the second week of August 2006, at the same time as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) was conducting the fifteenth National Census of Population and Housing on August 8. Principals of all government and Catholic secondary school across Australia were approached to take part. Following the precedent established in the first census non-Catholic private schools were not included.

School welfare staff were asked to identify young people who were homeless according to the following definition: The young person had left their family home and are living in any form of temporary accommodation including:

  • no conventional accommodation (e.g. streets, squat, car tent etc.)
  • temporary accommodation with friends or relatives or moving frequently between various forms of temporary accommodation
  • emergency accommodation in refuges or other crisis accommodation
  • other medium to longer term accommodation for people who have experienced homelessness (e.g. hostels and youth housing programs)
  • living in a single room in a boarding house.

A service delivery definition was also used which took into account that schools often provide assistance to students after they have ceased to be homeless. Welfare staff were told to include these young people in their return if they:

  • have been homeless within the last three months and were in need of continuing support.

Schools were also asked to provide a case study of a homeless student where they had detailed knowledge of what had happened. Schools returned 560 case histories. This extensive qualitative data provided important insights into what is happening on the ground.

For more information go to: Youth Homelessness in Australia – 2006 (

Population Estimates, ABS

Annual estimates of the population by single year of age and sex for Australia as a whole commenced in 1921 and for the states in 1961. Quarterly updates have been required by law for states since 1977.

Population estimates by sex for Australia and each of the states and territories are published quarterly as at 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December. Estimates by single year of age and sex are compiled quarterly but are only published annually as at 30 June.

There are two main steps involved in estimating the national and state/territory population:

  • calculating the base population (Census year population estimates)
  • updating this base population (post-censal population estimates).

The post-censal population estimates are derived by bringing forward the base population by ageing the base, then adjusting for subsequent components of population growth, such as births, deaths, overseas and interstate migration.

Using the Census year (i.e. 30 June) population estimates as the base population, post-censal estimates at the national level are compiled in accordance with births, deaths, and overseas migration. While interstate migration is added for state and territory level estimates. The resulting population estimates then become the base population in calculating estimates for the following periods.

For more information go to: ABS: Population Estimates: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2009 (

Population Projections, ABS

The ABS publishes population projections twice in the five years between the Census of Population and Housing. The projections are not intended as predictions or forecasts, but are illustrations of growth and change in the population that would occur if assumptions made about future demographic trends prevail over the projection period.

The ABS uses the cohort-component method to develop population projections. This begins with a base population for each sex by single year of age and advances it year by year by applying assumptions regarding future fertility, mortality and migration. This procedure is repeated for each year in the projection period for Australia and each state and territory. The resulting population projections for each year for the states and territories, by sex and single year of age are adjusted to sum to the Australian results.

ABS population projections are based on a number of assumptions on future levels of fertility, mortality, net overseas migration and net interstate migration. These assumptions are formulated on the basis of an assessment of past demographic trends, both in Australia and overseas, there is no certainty that any of the assumptions will be realised. Data used in the formulation of the assumptions are subject to non-sampling error.

For more information go to the ABS: Population Projections, Australia, 2006 to 2101 (

Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) was developed in response to the need for cross-nationally comparable evidence on student performance, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) launched the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment in 1997.

PISA surveys are administered every three years in the OECD member countries and a group of partner countries, which together make up close to 90 per cent of the world economy.

PISA assesses the extent to which 15-year-old students have acquired some of the knowledge and skills that are essential for full participation in society, focusing on student competencies in the key subject areas of reading, mathematics and science. PISA seeks to assess not merely whether students can reproduce what they have learned, but also to examine how well they can extrapolate from what they have learned and apply their knowledge in novel settings, ones related to school and non-school contexts.

For more information go to:,2987,en_32252351_32235731_1_1_1_1_1,00.htm

Additional information is available in the PISA technical report published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD 2006).

Settlement Reporting Facility, DIAC

The Settlement Reporting Facility utilises the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's Settlement Database with statistical data on permanent arrivals to Australia since January 1991. The Settlement Database (SDB) brings together data from various internal and external.

SDB provides a comprehensive source of data on new arrivals to Australia. It brings together data from various departmental systems used to process migration applications both in Australia and in overseas posts and a number of external sources including Medicare Australia. Some information is provided by settlers on a voluntary basis (such as religion and language proficiency). If the information requested is not provided, reports may list items as 'Unknown' or 'Not Stated'.

The Settlement Database (SDB) contains the following records:

  • Permanent visas issued and arrivals of visaed settlers processed overseas
  • Permanent residence grants processed in Australia.

As some of the data collected is not mandatory and provided on a voluntary basis, some reports may contain items listed as 'not stated'.

The SDB stores bio-data such as country of birth, date of birth and sex plus a variety of information items covering personal characteristics such as English Proficiency and languages spoken. It also stores items from which variables can be derived to classify this data, such as the dates of visa grant and of arrival plus intended or initial residential location.

It should be noted that data reported on the basis of 'date of arrival' does not fully capture all of the people granted permanent visas in a particular program year or set of years. It excludes people who were granted a migrant visa onshore after having arrived in an earlier period. Similarly, it does not count people granted migration visas offshore during the period under consideration but who have not yet, or may never, arrive. Consequently, for a given period, the counts will be less than the figures for the onshore and off shore components of the immigration program.

It should also be noted that the SDB only includes migrants with visas arriving under the migration or humanitarian programs. The SDB figures exclude New Zealand citizens who settle in Australia under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement. The country of birth code stored by the SDB is sourced from the DIAC operational systems. In most instances this set of operational codes aligns with the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC) produced by the ABS in 1998 for use in the classification of statistical data by country.

However, in some cases, particularly those relating to recently defunct political entities such as the former Yugoslavia and the former USSR, this does not apply. In instances where SDB data on country of birth cannot be identified as relating directly to a particular country classification as set out in the SACC, a higher geographic area has been used as the basis for classification.

For more information go to: Settlement Reporting Facility (

Survey of Australian Secondary School Students and Sexual Health

This study used a representative random sample based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data on the school population. A two-stage sampling method was used. In the first stage, schools were randomly selected with a probability proportional to the size of the target population.

Survey administration was undertaken by the school contact at each school. To protect confidentiality of the students, the survey was designed to be completed under exam conditions. The survey results have been weighted to correct for over-sampling in the sample design and for differential response rates across States/Territories and year level. Although data were sampled proportionally in each state/territory and school sector, stratum weights were derived using total school enrolments by state/territory only in order maintain consistent sample methodology with the 2002 survey.

The survey has been conducted since 1992.

For more information go to:

Survey of Education and Work

The Survey of Education and Work (SEW) is collected as a supplement to the Australian Bureau of Statistics' monthly Labour Force Survey. The SEW sample is a subset of the LFS sample. Like the Labour Force Survey Information is collected via face-to-face or telephone interviews.

Surveys similar to the SEW have been conducted since 1964.

The supplementary survey provides a range of key indicators of educational participation and attainment of persons aged 15-74 years, along with data on people's transition between education and work. Data includes: people presently participating in education; level of highest non-school qualification; level of highest educational attainment; characteristics of people's transition between education and work; and data on apprentices.

The annual time series allows for ongoing monitoring, and provides a link with the more detailed range of educational indicators available from the four-yearly Survey of Education and Training.

The last collection was in 2010. The estimates are based on information collected in the survey month, and due to seasonal factors they may not be representative of other months of the year.

The survey is conducted in both urban and rural areas but excluded people living in Indigenous communities in very remote parts of Australia (approximately 0.5%).

Estimates from the SEW may differ from the estimates produced from other ABS collections. However comparison shows SEW data are broadly consistent with these ABS sources.

For more information go to: Education andWork, Australia, May 2009 (

Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS)

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) is a project of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). IEA is an independent international cooperative of national research institutions and government agencies that has been conducting studies of cross-national achievement in a wide range of subjects since 1959. In Australia TIMMS it is implemented by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER).

The goal of TIMSS is to provide comparative information about educational achievement across countries to improve teaching and learning in mathematics and science. It measures trends in mathematics and science achievement at Year 4 and Year 8, as well as monitoring curricular implementation. TIMSS is conducted as a sample survey in most countries including Australia.

Students complete tests in mathematics and science achievement, and answer questionnaires on their background and experiences in learning mathematics and science at school. School principals and the students’ mathematics and science teachers also complete detailed questionnaires.

For more information go to:

WorkCover data collection

WorkCover reports on workplace related injury and death in NSW.  Data are collected from scheme agents, self-insurers, specialised insurers, pre-WorkCover Scheme insurers, the NSW Government Treasury Managed Fund Scheme in respect of NSW public servants, and WorkCover’s Uninsured Liability and Indemnity Scheme.

The data collected include work related injuries sustained by 15–17 year olds that were reported to WorkCover.

Data reports can be found here:

Young People in Custody Health Survey (YPICHS)

In 2003, Juvenile Justice, with research and clinical support provided by Justice Health, conducted the first Young People in Custody Health Survey (YPICHS) among 242 young people. Juvenile Justice and Justice Health repeated the YPICHS in 2009.

The primary aim of the 2009 YPICHS was to gain a picture of the health status of young people in juvenile detention across NSW, including monitoring trends in health status and risk factors between 2003 and 2009. The 2009 YPICHS included the following components:

  • baseline survey – including a health questionnaire, physical health examination (including blood and urine tests), dental examination, offending behaviour and psychological assessment
  • follow-up surveys at three, six and 12 months
  • data linkage over five years for key health and offending data collections.

The 2009 YPICHS took place between August and October 2009 across all nine Juvenile Detention Centres operated by Juvenile Justice and the one Juvenile Correctional Centre operated by Corrective Services NSW. The baseline survey components included a health questionnaire, a physical health examination, a dental examination, offending behaviour and psychological assessment. The sampling framework used a cross-sectional design. A total of 361 young people participated in the survey, which represented 80 per cent of all young people in custody and 95 per cent of young people approached to participate in the study. The sample was 88 per cent male, 48 per cent of Aboriginal origin, with an average age of 17 years.

Limitations of the 2009 YPICHS data should be kept in mind when considering the results of this study and their implications. The survey included an extensive array of physical health tests, a lengthy health questionnaire and psychological tests. It is possible that some young people became fatigued when completing all components of the survey and may have taken less care with their responses in order to complete the survey more quickly. All participants were given numerous breaks during survey implementation and provided with food and beverages, so it is believed this effect was minimal.

The survey was also limited by only recruiting 40 young women (from a total of 361 respondents). With such a small sample size, extrapolation of survey results about young women in custody should be made with caution. A further limitation is that translation services were not available for non-English speaking juvenile detainees and they were not included in the survey. Another limitation was that not all the psychometric instruments used in the study (such as the ones used to measure child abuse, intellectual disability and mental illness) have been validated for use with Aboriginal populations, so results compared by Aboriginality must be interpreted with caution.

For more information go to: 2009 NSW Young People in Custody Health Survey: Full Report (