Back to:  Australia's welfare snapshots

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander: Person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. See also Indigenous.

ABSTUDY: A group of means-tested payments (which may include a living allowance and/or other supplementary benefits) for eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and apprentices who are in an approved course, Australian Apprenticeship or traineeship.

accommodation support (disability): Services that provide accommodation to people with disability, and services that provide support to enable a person with disability to remain in their existing accommodation or to move to more suitable or appropriate accommodation.

administrative data collection: Data set that results from the information collected for the purposes of delivering a service or paying the provider of the service. This type of collection is usually complete (all in-scope events are collected), but it may not be fully suitable for population-level analysis because the data are collected primarily for an administrative purpose.

adoptee: Children or adults who have been the subject of an adoption order. Also known as adopted children or adopted persons.

adoption: Legal process by which a person legally becomes a child of the adoptive parents and legally ceases to be a child of his/her existing parents. See also intercountry adoption.

adoptive parent: A person who has become the parent of a child or adult as the result of an adoption order.

age of adopted child: For known child adoptions, the age when the adoption order for the child was granted. For local adoptions and intercountry adoptions, the age at which the child is placed with the adoptive family. Age is calculated from date of birth, in completed years.

Age Pension: Means-tested income support payment paid to older Australians who meet age and residency requirements, subject to income and asset tests.

Age Pension age: Age at which a person becomes eligible to receive Age Pension (subject to income, asset and residency requirements). The age has changed over time and depends on a person’s date of birth. Between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2017, the age pension age was 65 years. From 1 July 2017, the qualifying age increased to 65 years and 6 months, and will increase by 6 months every 2 years to reach 67 years by 1 July 2023.

age structure: Relative number of people in each age group in a population.

aged care services: Regulated care delivered in residential or community settings, including a person’s own home. Most formal care is subsidised through government programs.

aged care workforce: describes direct carers who directly provide or manage care in residential and community aged care settings. They are registered nurses, enrolled nurses, personal care attendants, community care workers and allied health workers.

age-specific rate: Rate for a specific age group. The numerator and denominator relate to the same age group.

age-standardisation: Method to remove the influence of age when comparing rates between population groups with different age structures. This is used when a rate, for example, hospitalisations, varies strongly with age – a population group with an older age structure will likely have more hospitalisations. The age structures of different populations are converted to the same ‘standard’ structure, and then the hospitalisations that would have occurred within that structure are calculated and compared.

age-standardised rate: Rate for which the influence of age is removed by converting the age structures of the different populations to the same ‘standard’ structure. This provides a more valid way to compare rates from populations with different age structures.

allied health professionals: describes a range of professions involved in providing health services outside of emergency, medical, dental and nursing care.

apparent retention rate (secondary school): Indicative measure of the proportion of students who stayed enrolled in full-time education from the start of secondary school (Year 7 or Year 8 depending on the state or territory) to Year 12. A higher retention rate suggests more students are staying in school, which may result in improved educational outcomes.
The measure is an estimate as it is calculated using the total number of students in each school year, rather than tracking individual students over time. Care should be taken when interpreting this measure as factors such as students changing schools, moving overseas, or repeating a school year cannot be accounted for.

apprentices and trainees: People who enter into a legal contract (training agreement or contract of training) with an employer, to serve a period of training to attain tradesperson status in a recognised trade.

asset test: Test to determine eligibility for government payments based on property or items an individual or their partner owns, or has an interest in.

at risk of homelessness: Person who is at risk of losing their accommodation or are experiencing one or more factors or triggers that can contribute to homelessness. Risk factors include financial or housing affordability stress; inadequate or inappropriate dwelling conditions; previous accommodation ended; child abuse; family, sexual and domestic violence; and relationship or family breakdown.

Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC): Common framework defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics for collecting and disseminating geographically classified statistics. The ASGC was implemented in 1984 with the final release in 2011. It has been replaced by the Australian Statistical Geography Standard.

Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Common framework defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics for collecting and disseminating geographically classified statistics. The ASGS replaced the Australian Standard Geographical Classification in July 2011.  

Austudy: Means-tested payment for full-time students and Australian Apprentices aged 25 and over.

average: Sum of all the values in a set of values, divided by the number of values in that set. Often used as a representative value of that set.

average annualised committed support: Under the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the total annualised budget for participants’ active plans, divided by the number of active participants, rounded to the nearest thousand dollars. This represents the average of the annualised amounts in the participants’ active plans, and gives an indication of the relative amount of support that participants of different demographics receive. See also committed support.

average day: Measure that reflects the number of people within a service on a typical day during the year. It takes into account the number of people, number of contacts and duration of each contact.

bachelor degree or higher: Undergraduate or post-graduate qualification at a university.

bequest: a gift of property to a person or organisation in a Will. In common usage, the term bequest is used to include gifts of money.

bingo: A game in which players mark off numbers on cards as the numbers are drawn randomly, the winner being the first person to mark off all their numbers.

bilateral adoption: Intercountry adoption of a child from a country with which Australia had an active intercountry adoption program, but where the Hague Convention had not entered into force before the file of the applicants was sent.

Canadian National Occupancy Standard: Standard used to assess overcrowding in households, based on the number, sex, age, and relationships of household members.

casino table games: casino games played at a table including roulette, craps and card games  such as blackjack and baccarat. Table games usually involve a dealer and participants wager on the outcome of the game.

care and protection order: Legal order or arrangement that gives child protection departments some responsibility for a child’s welfare.

carer: Person who cares for another person (often a relative or friend) and has the responsibility for making decisions about that person’s daily care. In the Australian Bureau of Statistics Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, a carer is defined as a person who provides any informal assistance (help or supervision) to people with disability or older people (aged 65 years and over), with assistance being ongoing, or likely to be ongoing, for at least 6 months. See also direct carer, informal carer and primary carer.

carer (known child adoption): Foster parent or other non-relative who has been caring for the child and has had the responsibility for making decisions about the daily care and control of the child for the relevant period (as specified by the relevant state or territory department) before the adoption.

Carer Allowance: an income-tested fortnightly supplement for those who give additional daily care to a person with a disability, medical condition, or who is frail aged.

Carer Payment: Means-tested income support payment for people providing constant care for a person with physical, intellectual or psychiatric disability, severe medical condition, or who is frail aged and, due to their caring role, are unable to support themselves through substantial paid employment.

Carer Supplement: an annual supplement eligible for those who care for a person with a disability or medical condition or who is frail aged, and receive Carer Allowance, Carer Payment, Department of Veterans’ Affairs Partner Service Pension and Carer Allowance or Department of Veterans’ Affairs Carer Service Pension.

casual workers: Employed person who generally has no set or regular weekly hours, is not entitled to paid leave and has no notice period for ending employment. Casual workers may work full-time or part-time. See also full-time workers and part-time workers.

Centrelink: Centrelink social security payments and services administered by the Department of Social Services and delivered by Services Australia for retirees, the unemployed, families, carers, parents, people with disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. 

charitable purpose: The reason a charity has been set up and what its activities work towards achieving. All registered charities must have a charitable purpose. There are 12 charitable purposes set out in the Charities Act 2013 (Cth), including: advancing health, education, religion, culture or social or public welfare, promoting or protecting human rights, and other purposes beneficial to the public.

charity: A synonym for voluntary or non-profit organisations, such as those that raise funds for or offer support to the disadvantaged in society. However, in legal terms, a charity is an entity defined by the Charities Act 2013 (Cth), as being established for with charitable purposes that are for the public benefit.

Child Disability Assistance Payment: An annual payment for those receiving Carer Allowance for a child with disability or serious illness.

children receiving child protection services: Children who are the subject of an investigation of a notification, on a care and protection order, and/or in out-of-home care.

children subject to orders: Children aged 0–17 on a care and protection order or other formal arrangement, or children aged 18 or under who were discharged from care and protection orders and/or arrangements.

civilian population: All usual residents of Australia aged 15 and over, except members of the permanent Defence Force, certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments customarily excluded from Census and estimated population counts, overseas residents in Australia, and members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants) stationed in Australia.

committed support: Under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), this is the cost of supports contained within an NDIS participant’s plan, approved to be provided to support a participant’s needs. This is sometimes annualised to allow for comparison of plans of different lengths. See also average annualised committed support.

Commonwealth Home Support Programme: Entry-level support services for older people so they can continue to live independently at home. Effective from 1 July 2015, the program integrates various services previously providing basic home support (including the Commonwealth Home and Community Care program, National Respite for Carers, Day Therapy Centres and Assistance with Care and Housing for the Aged).

Commonwealth Rent Assistance: A non-taxable income supplement, paid fortnightly to eligible recipients. It is paid at 75 cents for every dollar above a minimum rental threshold until a maximum rate is reached. Minimum thresholds and maximum rates vary depending on the household or family situation

community access: Services designed to provide opportunities for people with disability to gain and use their abilities to enjoy their full potential for social independence.

community-based supervision (youth justice): Legal arrangement that requires a young person to be supervised by a youth justice agency within the community. Community-based supervision may be unsentenced or sentenced. Unsentenced community-based legal orders include supervised or conditional bail and home detention bail. Sentenced community-based orders include probation and similar orders, suspended detention, parole or supervised release.

community aged care: Care provided to a person in a place of usual residence that may be a private or non-private dwelling, as distinct from residential aged care, a hospital or other type of institutional accommodation. Community settings include private dwellings (a person’s own home or a home owned by a relative or friend) and certain types of non-private dwellings, such as retirement village accommodation.

community service industries: Consist of three main groups (residential care services, childcare services and preschool education, other social assistance services.

community support: Services that provide the support needed for a person with disability to live in a non-institutional setting.

completions (apprenticeships and traineeships): Point at which all course requirements for an apprenticeship or traineeship have been met.

constant prices: Estimates that indicate what expenditure would have been if prices for a given year had applied in all years (removing the inflation effect). Changes in expenditure in constant prices reflect changes in volume only. An alternative term is ‘real expenditure’. Compare with current prices.

core activity: Term used in discussions of disability, referring to the basic activities of daily living, namely self-care, mobility and communication.

core activity limitation: Limitation where someone needs help with – or is having difficulty in using aids and equipment for – self-care, mobility and/or communication. See also disability, severe or profound core activity limitation and mild or moderate core activity limitation.

coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): A disease caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 virus, a novel type of coronavirus which emerged in December 2019 and was classified as a global pandemic in March 2020 by the World Health Organization.

Coronavirus Supplement: From 27 April 2020 to 31 Match 2021, a Coronavirus Supplement was provided for new and existing recipients of select government payments, including JobSeeker Payment, Parenting Payment, Youth Allowance, Austudy, Widow Allowance, Partner Allowance, ABSTUDY living allowance, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.

couple family: Family comprising two people in a registered or de facto marriage, usually living in the same household. A couple family may be with or without children, and may or may not include other related individuals.

current prices: Expenditures reported for a particular year, unadjusted for inflation. Changes in current price expenditures reflect changes in both price and volume.

custody orders: See care and protection order and finalised guardianship and custody orders.

country of origin (adoption): The usual country of residence of the child being adopted. This is generally the child’s country of birth.

customer satisfaction: The proportion of social housing survey respondents who indicated they were satisfied or very satisfied with the overall service provided by their housing provider.

data linkage: Bringing together (linking) information from two or more data sources believed to relate to the same entity, such as the same individual or the same institution. This linkage can provide more information about the entity. In certain cases it can provide a time sequence, helping to tell a story, show pathways and perhaps unravel cause and effect. The term is used synonymously with record linkage and data integration.

deductible gift recipient (DGR): a fund or organisation which has been granted DGR status through the Australian Tax Office and is entitled to receive tax deductible gifts. Some DGRs are listed by name in the income tax law; these include organisations like Amnesty International Australia, Landcare Australia Limited and the Australian Academy of Science. For other organisations to be DGRs, they must fall within a general category set out in the income tax law. Examples include public benevolent institutions, public universities, public hospitals and school building funds.

dementia: General term for disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia, characterised by worsening mental processes. Symptoms include impaired memory, understanding, reasoning and physical functioning.

dependency ratio: See population dependency ratio.

dependent child: Person who is aged under 15 or a dependent student. Note, this definition applies to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census of Population and Housing and may differ somewhat from the definitions in other collections. See also non‑dependent child.

dependent student: Natural, adopted, step or foster child aged 15–24 who attends a secondary or tertiary educational institution as a full-time student and who has no identified partner or child of their own living in the same household. See also dependent child.

detention (youth justice): Legal arrangement requiring a young person to be detained in a youth justice facility. Includes sentenced and unsentenced detention.

developmentally vulnerable: Children who scored in the 10th percentile on one or more of the 5 domains of the Australian Early Development Census. The domains are physical health and wellbeing, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognition skills, and communication skills and general knowledge.

direct carer: Welfare employee directly involved in providing or managing care of clients.

disability: Umbrella term for impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions, all of which can interact with a person’s health condition(s) and environmental and/or individual factors to hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equitable basis with others. There are varying degrees of disability – from having no impairment or limitation to a complete loss of functioning. It can be associated with genetic disorders, illnesses, accidents, ageing, injuries or a combination of these factors. See also core activity limitation and severe or profound core activity limitation.

disability support workers: assist people with disability with various physical and emotional tasks, including personal care, cooking and cleaning, shopping, programs for community activities, and emotional support and friendship.

Disability Support Pension:  Means-tested income support payment for people aged 16 and over but under age pension age (at claim) who have reduced capacity to work because of their disability.

dischargee: Full-time prisoner aged at least 18 who expects to be released from prison within the next 4 weeks.

disposable income: See equivalised household income (disposable or gross).

domestic violence: Set of violent or intimidating behaviours between current or former intimate partners, where a partner aims to exert power and control over the other, through fear. Domestic violence can include physical violence, sexual violence, emotional abuse and psychological abuse. See also family violence.

donation: unconditional voluntary transfers of money, goods or services to community organisations, institutions, government entities, or individuals, in which the donating organisation is not expected to receive anything in return.

dwelling: Structure or discrete space within a structure intended for people to live in, or where a person or group of people live. A structure that people live in is a dwelling regardless of its intended purpose. A vacant structure is only a dwelling if intended for human residence. A dwelling may include one or more rooms used as an office or workshop, provided the dwelling is in residential use.

early childhood education and care worker: Category of workers that includes child carers, child care centre managers and early childhood (pre-primary school) teachers.

early intervention: Services aimed at improving outcomes for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing negative outcomes, such as homelessness and developmental delay in children.

educational attainment: Defined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development “as the highest grade completed within the most advanced level attended in the educational system of the country where the education was received. Some countries may also find it useful to present data on educational attainment in terms of the highest grade attended.”

elder abuse: Single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.

electronic gaming machines (EGMs): Also known as ‘slots’, ‘pokies’, ‘poker machines’ and ‘fruit machines’. EGMs usually have three or more computer-simulated reels which ‘spin’ when a button is pushed. When winning symbols line up a prize is awarded.

emotional abuse: Behaviours or actions that are perpetrated with the intent to manipulate, control, isolate or intimidate, and which cause emotional harm or fear.

emotional abuse (children): Act by a person having the care of a child that results in the child suffering any kind of significant emotional deprivation or trauma. Children affected by exposure to family violence are also included in this category.

employed: People aged 15 and over who, during the reference week of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Labour Force Survey, worked for 1 hour or more for pay, profit, commission, or payment in kind in a job or business, or on a farm, or worked for 1 hour or more without pay in a family business or on a farm (contributing family workers). Includes employees who had a job but were not at work and were away from work for less than 4 weeks up to the end of the reference week, or away from work for more than 4 weeks up to the end of the reference week and received pay for some or all those 4 weeks. Also includes those away from work as a standard work or shift arrangement, on strike or locked out, on workers’ compensation and expected to return to their job, or were employers or own account workers, who had a job, business or farm, but were not at work. This definition applies to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Labour Force Survey and may differ somewhat from definitions in other collections. Compare with unemployed. See also labour force.

employment rate: Also referred to as employment-to-population ratio. Number of employed persons expressed as a percentage of the civilian population in the same group. The denominator includes persons who are unemployed or not in the labour force.

employment restriction: Restriction determined for persons aged 15–64 with one or more disabilities if, because of their disability, they: were permanently unable to work; were restricted in the type of work they can or could do; needed or would need at least 1 day a week off work on average; were restricted in the number of hours they can or could work; required or would require an employer to provide special equipment, modify the work environment or make special arrangements; required assistance from a disability job placement program or agency; needed or would need to be given ongoing assistance or supervision; or would find it difficult to change jobs or get a better job. This definition applies to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers and may differ somewhat from other collections’ definitions.

employment to population ratio: Number of employed people in a specified group expressed as a percentage of the civilian population in the same group. See also employment rate.

enrolment: registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a program of study. The enrolment is considered valid only if the student has undertaken enrolment procedures, met their fee obligations, and has engaged in learning activity regardless of mode of delivery.

enrolled: Describes a person’s status who is registered for a course of study at an educational institution.

entrant: Person aged at least 18 entering full-time prison custody, on remand (awaiting a trial or sentencing) or on a sentence. Prisoners who have been transferred from one prison to another are not included as entrants.

equivalised household income (disposable or gross): Adjustment made to total household income to facilitate comparison of income levels between households of differing size and composition. An indicator of the economic resources available to a standardised household. For a lone-person household, equal to income received. For a household comprising more than one person, an indicator of the household income that a lone-person household would require to enjoy the same level of economic wellbeing as the household in question. Can be measured as gross (total) income, net (after tax) income, or disposable income (after taxes and other essential costs are deducted from total income).

esports betting: Wagering on esports, which are professional video game competitions.

estimated resident population (ERP): Official Australian Bureau of Statistics estimate of the Australian population. Derived from the 5-yearly Census counts and updated quarterly between Censuses, based on births, deaths and net migration. Based on a person’s usual residence. Rates are calculated per 1,000 or 100,000 mid-year (30 June) ERP.

expatriate adoption: A specific type of adoption that occurs when an Australian citizen or permanent resident living abroad for 12 months or more adopts a child through an overseas agency or government authority. Australian adoption authorities are not responsible for expatriate adoptions, and do not assess or approve applicants for such adoptions.

fantasy sports betting: Wagering money on fantasy sports, which is a type of online game where participants assemble virtual teams of real sports players.

family: Two or more persons, one of whom is aged at least 15, who are related by blood, marriage (registered or de facto), adoption, step or fostering, and who are usually living in the same household. Each separately identified couple relationship, lone parent to child relationship or other blood relationship forms the basis of a family. Some households contain more than one family.

family day care: Comprises services provided in the carer’s home. Care is largely aimed at children aged 0–5, but primary school children may also receive care before and after school, and during school vacations. Central coordination units in all states and territories organise and support a network of carers, often with the help of local governments.

family and domestic violence: See family violence and domestic violence.

family and domestic violence (Specialist Homelessness Services clients): People accessing specialist homelessness services who have experienced family and domestic violence. Does not distinguish between victims and perpetrators of violence.

Family Tax Benefit: Income-tested government benefits to assist with the everyday costs of raising children. See also Family Tax Benefit Part A and Family Tax Benefit Part B.

Family Tax Benefit Part A: A per child payment for dependent child aged 0–15, or 16–19 in full-time secondary study.

Family Tax Benefit Part B: A per family payment. It is paid to couples with one main income until the youngest child is aged 13. It is also paid to single parents, non-parent carers or grandparent carers until the child is aged 16, or 16-18 and in full time secondary study.

family violence: Violence between family members as well as current or former intimate partners. Can include acts of violence between a parent and a child. The preferred term used to identify experiences of violence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as it encompasses the broad range of extended family and kinship relationships in which violence may occur.

finalised adoption: Adoption order completed during the reporting period. Includes orders made in Australia and, in the case of some intercountry adoptions, where the full adoption order was made in the country of origin. The way in which an adoption is finalised depends on the process used in the country of origin and the procedures of the state or territory department responsible for adoption in Australia.

finalised guardianship or custody order: Orders involving the transfer of legal guardianship to the relevant state or territory department or non-government agency responsible for child protection. Involves considerable intervention in the child’s life and that of their family and sought only as a last resort.

  • Guardianship order conveys responsibility for the welfare of the child to the guardian (for example, regarding the child’s education, health, religion, accommodation and financial matters). Does not necessarily grant the right to the daily care and control of the child, or the right to make decisions about the daily care and control of the child, which are granted under custody orders.
  • Custody order generally places a child in the custody of the state or territory department responsible for child protection or a non-government agency. Usually involves the child protection department being responsible for the daily care and requirements of the child, while the parent retains legal guardianship. Custody alone does not bestow any responsibility for the long-term welfare of the child.

Finalised guardianship or custody orders can be a long-term order or a short-term order.

finalised investigation: Child protection notification received between 1 July and 30 June that was investigated, with the investigation completed and an outcome recorded by 31 August. Cut-off point of 31 August is applied to allow time for investigating notifications made close to the end of the previous financial year. Outcomes of finalised investigations are classified into 2 categories – substantiated and not substantiated.

finalised third-party parental responsibility order: Order transferring all duties, powers, responsibilities and authority to which parents are entitled by law to nominated persons whom the court considers appropriate. Nominated person may be an individual, such as a relative, or an officer of the state or territory department responsible for child protection. Third-party parental responsibility may be ordered in the event that a parent is unable to care for a child, with parental responsibility then transferred to a relative or other nominated person.

First Home Owner Grant: Scheme introduced 1 July 2000 to offset the effect of the goods and services tax on home ownership. A national scheme funded by states and territories and administered under their own legislation. Under the scheme, a one-off grant is payable to first home owners that satisfy all eligibility criteria.

formal childcare: Regulated care away from the child’s home. May include: outside school hours care; centre-based day care; family day care.

foster care: Form of out-of-home care where the caregiver is authorised and reimbursed (or was offered but declined reimbursement) by the state or territory for the care of the child. (Excludes relatives or kin who are reimbursed.) There are varying degrees of reimbursement made to foster carers.

full-time employees: See full-time workers.

full-time employment rate: The proportion of the total population currently in full-time employment. The denominator includes persons who work in a less than full-time capacity, along with those who are unemployed or not in the labour force.

full-time unemployment rate: Number of unemployed persons looking for full-time work as a percentage of the full-time labour force (full-time employed and unemployed looking for full-time work). See also labour force.

full-time workers: Employed people who usually worked 35 hours or more a week (in all jobs) and those who, although usually working fewer than 35 hours a week, worked 35 hours or more during the reference week of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Labour Force Survey. This definition applies to the ABS Labour Force Survey and may differ somewhat from the definitions in other collections. Compare with part-time workers.

fund: a legal vehicle that manages and/or holds trust property to make distributions to other entities or persons.

gambling: Gambling/betting requires a player to risk losing something of value (usually money) for the chance of winning more. Gambling outcomes may depend on correctly predicting an uncertain outcome (such as a particular horse coming first in a race), or luck (such as a winning combination of symbols on pokie machines, see electronic gaming machines).

gambling problems: Gambling problems are indicated by endorsing one or more items on the Problem Gambling Severity Index. The items include gambling behaviours that either caused or put people at risk of problems.

gambling-related harm: Adverse consequences which occur as a result of someone’s gambling. Gambling-related harm can be divided into key areas: financial harm, relationship disruption, emotional or psychological distress, decrements to health, cultural harm, reduced work or study performance and criminal activity. These harms can further be considered as general harms (which occur at any time), crisis harms, which are associated with attempts to seek help, and legacy harms, which occur long after gambling has ceased. Gambling-related harm can be experienced by other gambler and others close to them (affected others). The Short Gambling Harm Scale (Browne et al. 2016) is a measure of gambling-related harm.

Gini coefficient: Statistical measure of economic distribution, ranging from 0 to 1. Zero represents perfectly equal income distribution (all people have the same amount of money), while 1 represents perfectly unequal income distribution (one person has all available money).

greatest need (social housing): Household in greatest need which is, at the time of allocation, either homeless or at risk of homelessness, in housing inappropriate to their needs, in housing placing them at risk or in housing with very high rental costs. These households are prioritised for placing in social housing.

gross domestic product: Statistic commonly used to indicate national income. The total market value of goods and services produced within a given period after deducting the cost of goods and services used in the process of production, but before deducting allowances for the consumption of fixed capital.

gross household income: See equivalised household income (disposable or gross).

Hague adoption: Intercountry adoption where the adoptive child’s country of origin has ratified or acceded to the Hague Convention, and the file of the applicant(s) was sent after the Hague Convention entered into force in that country.

Hague Convention (intercountry adoption): A convention – specifically, The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption – that establishes standards and procedures for adoptions between countries. The Hague Convention includes legally binding safeguards, a system of supervision, and established channels of communication between countries. Came into force in Australia on 1 December 1998.

health literacy: The ability of people to access, understand and apply information about health and the health care system so as to make decisions that relate to their health.

health-adjusted life expectancy at birth: Average number of years a new-born child can expect to live in ‘full health’, after taking into account years expected to be lived in less than full health due to disease and/or injury.

home-based out-of-home care: Care provided for a child placed in the home of a carer who is reimbursed (or who has been offered but declined reimbursement) for the cost of care of that child. Home-based out-of-home care includes: relatives/kin who are reimbursed, foster care, and other home-based out-of-home care.

home care (aged care): Support and care services given to older people in their own homes. Services are offered in packages of care, which can comprise personal care and domestic support, as well as clinical and allied health services. The four levels of care are set to support those with basic (Level 1), low (Level 2), intermediate (Level 3), and high (Level 4) care needs. Home Care Packages started in 2013, combining three previous programs – Community Aged Care Package, Extended Aged Care at Home, and Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia.

homeless: See homelessness.

homelessness: There is no single definition of homelessness.

The Specialist Homelessness Services Collection defines a person as homeless if they are living in either:

  • non-conventional accommodation or sleeping rough (such as living on the street)
  • short-term or emergency accommodation due to a lack of other options (such as living temporarily with friends and relatives).

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) defines homelessness, for the purposes of the Census of Population and Housing, as the lack of one or more of the elements that represent home. According to the ABS, when a person does not have suitable accommodation alternatives they are considered homeless if their current living arrangement:

  • is in a dwelling that is inadequate
  • has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable
  • does not allow them to have control of and access to space for social relations.

home ownership: Household residing in a dwelling that at least one member of the household owns, with or without a mortgage.

home support: See Commonwealth Home Support Programme.

hospitalisation: Synonymous with admission and separation; that is, an episode of hospital care that starts with the formal admission process and ends with the formal separation process. An episode of care can be completed by patients being discharged, transferred to another hospital or care facility, or dying, or by a portion of a hospital stay beginning or ending in a change of type of care (for example, from acute to rehabilitation).

household: Group of two or more related or unrelated people who usually reside in the same dwelling, and who make common provision for food or other essentials for living. Can also be a single person living in a dwelling who makes provision for their own food and other essentials for living, without combining with any other person.

household composition: Grouping of people living in a dwelling. Based on couple and parent–child relationships. A household is a single-family type if it contains a main tenant, and if that main tenant lives with a partner and/or the main tenant’s children. Group households consist of two or more tenants aged 16 or over, who are not in a couple or parent–child relationship. Mixed households are households not described by the other two types; for example, multiple single-family households.

housing affordability: Cost of housing compared with the financial situation of households. Term generally used to refer to housing across major cities, states or territories or nationally, as opposed to individual households. Often measured using the proportion of households in a given area in housing stress.

housing costs: Depending on household tenure type, housing costs can comprise rent payments, rates payments (general and water), and mortgage or unsecured loan payments if the initial purpose was primarily to buy, build, add to, or alter the dwelling.

housing cost overburden rate: Proportion of households or population that spend more than 40% of their disposable income on housing costs. Calculated using Eurostat methodology. See also housing stress.

household reference person: Person who is used as the basis for determining the familial and non‐familial relationships within a household. Usually the person who has identified themselves as a person on the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census Household form.

housing stress: Measure of housing affordability, where the proportion of household income spent on basic housing costs (rent or mortgage) is calculated. Low-income households spending 30% or more of their income on housing are considered to be in housing stress.

housing tenure: Whether a household rents or owns an occupied dwelling, or whether it is occupied under another arrangement.

impairment: Loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological or anatomical structure or function.

improvised dwelling: Dwelling not designed for human habitation or considered unfit for human habitation. May include shacks, sheds, cabins, boats or tents.

Income support payments:  Sub-category of benefits paid by the Australian Government expected to serve as a recipient’s primary source of income; they are regular payments that assist with the day-to-day costs of living.

Income test: Test to determine an individual’s eligibility for the full or part-rate of a government payment, based on their earnings from work, investments and/or substantial assets.

income threshold: For the purposes of Centrelink payments, the income threshold is the amount a person can earn before their payment is reduced.

income unit: One person or group of related persons within a household whose command over income is shared, or any person living in a non-private dwelling who is in receipt of personal income.

Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage: One of the set of Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas for ranking the average socioeconomic conditions of the population in an area. Summarises attributes of the population such as low income, low educational attainment, high unemployment and jobs in relatively unskilled occupations.

Indigenous: Person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. See also Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Indigenous household: Household that contains one or more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Indigenous Regions (IREGs): Large geographical areas used to report data about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Part of the Indigenous Structure in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), comprising three levels of geographical units – Indigenous Locations, Indigenous Areas and Indigenous Regions. Compared with other structures in the ASGS, the Indigenous structure better reflects the distribution of the Indigenous population.

Indigenous status: Whether a person identifies as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin.

inflation adjusted: An adjustment factor is applied to dollar values reported in previous years to align them with the value of a reference year (for example 2018–19). This accounts for the effect of inflation, which decreases the value of money over time.

informal carer: Person who provides unpaid assistance or supervision to someone – usually family and friends – who needs help because of disability, physical or mental health condition, end-of-life health condition or old age, with assistance being ongoing, or likely to be ongoing, for at least 6 months. In the Australian Bureau of Statistics Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, informal assistance may include where small amounts of money, or payments for expenses incurred, are paid to the carer by the person that they care for, or where assistance is received from family or friends who are living in the same household, whether or not the carer is paid.

informal childcare: Non-regulated care that may be paid or unpaid. May include care provided by grandparents, other relatives, other people, and other child minding services.

informal volunteer: A person who provides unpaid help, in the form of time, skills or services outside a formal organisation or group. It can include providing assistance to a member outside of their household with errands, chores, transport, childcare or providing emotional support and personal care. See also volunteer.

instant scratch tickets: Commonly known as ‘scratchies’, where a player scratches a coating off the ticket to identify whether the ticket is a winner.

intercountry adoption: Adoption of a child or children from countries other than Australia with which Australia has an official adoption program, who may be legally placed for adoption, but who generally have had no previous contact with the adoptive parents. There are two categories of intercountry adoptions – Hague adoption and bilateral adoption. See also Hague adoption and bilateral adoption.

International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health: World Health Organization’s internationally accepted classification of functioning, disability and health (endorsed in May 2001).

intimate partner violence: Violent or intimidating behaviours perpetrated by current or former intimate partners, including a cohabiting partner, boyfriend, girlfriend or date. See also partner violence and domestic violence.

in-training (apprentices and trainees): Apprentices and trainees actively training under the terms of their training contract, which has not been completed, cancelled, withdrawn, suspended, or expired without the contract requirements being met.

investigation (child protection): Process whereby a relevant child protection department obtains more detailed information about a child who is the subject of a notification. Departmental staff assess the harm, or degree of harm, to the child and their protective needs. An investigation includes sighting or interviewing the child where it is practical to do so.

JobKeeper Payment: A fortnightly wage subsidy introduced by the Australian Government in March 2020, designed to support the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic by helping to keep businesses trading and people employed. Eligible organisations had to pay their employees the full JobKeeper amount (after tax) – regardless of whether an employee had undertaken any work – after which the organisation received the JobKeeper Payment from the Australian Tax Office.

JobSeeker Payment: Means-tested income support payment for working-age Australians (aged over 22 but under the Age Pension qualifying age) who are looking for work, participating in approved activities that may increase their chances of finding a job, or earning under the income threshold. Receipt of this payment is typically subject to asset tests and mutual obligation requirements (such as looking for work or engaged in activities that will assist with finding work in the future). In March 2020 this payment replaced Newstart Allowance, consolidating it with several other payments (such as Sickness Allowance and Bereavement Allowance).

keno: Keno is a rapid-draw game where a player gambles that their chosen numbers match any of the 20 numbers randomly selected from a group of 80 numbers via a computer system or a ball-draw device.

kinship: A term that describes the structured societal system which prescribes responsibility that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples position themselves within, which establishes their relationship to others and to the universe.

known child adoption: Adoption of a child or children born or permanently living in Australia before the adoption, who have a pre-existing relationship with the adoptive parents and who are generally not able to be adopted by anyone other than the adoptive parents. These types of adoptions are broken down into these categories, depending on the relationship to the adoptive parent(s): step-parent, relatives, carer and other. See also step-parent (known child adoption), relatives (known child adoption), carer (known child adoption), and other adoption (known child adoption).

labour force: People employed or unemployed but actively looking for work during the reference week of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Labour Force Survey. This definition applies to the ABS Labour Force Survey and may differ somewhat from the definitions in other collections. See also not in the labour force.

labour force participation rate: For any group, the labour force (employed or unemployed) expressed as a percentage of the civilian population aged 15 and over in the same group.

life expectancy: Indication of how long a person can expect to live, depending on the age they have reached. Technically, the average number of years of life remaining to a person at a particular age if age-specific death rates do not change. The most commonly used measure is life expectancy at birth. See also health-adjusted life expectancy.

living arrangement (child protection): Type of care in which a child on an order was residing. See also residential care, foster care, family group home and home-based out-of-home care.

local adoption: Adoption of a child or children born or permanently living in Australia before the adoption who can legally be placed for adoption but who generally have had no previous contact or relationship with the adoptive parents.

loneliness: Subjective state of negative feelings about having a lower level of social contact than desired.

long day care: Comprises services aimed primarily at children aged 0–5, provided in a centre and usually by a mix of qualified and other staff. Educational, care and recreational programs are provided based on the developmental needs, interests and experience of each child. In some jurisdictions, primary school children may also receive care before and after school, and during school vacations. Centres typically operate for at least 8 hours per day on normal working days.

long-term care (children in child protection): Children who had been continuously in out-of-home care for 2 or more years.

long-term order (child protection): An order that transfers guardianship/custody to the nominated person for a specified period greater than 2 years, generally until the child reaches the age of 18.

long-term unemployed: People aged 15 and over who have been unemployed for 52 weeks or more.

long-term unemployment rate: Proportion of labour force that have been unemployed for 12 months or more

long-term unemployment ratio: Number of long-term unemployed people, expressed as a percentage of the total unemployed population.

longitudinal data: Data source that collects data from the same sample of subjects multiple times over a given time.

lotteries, lotto or lottery games: Common lotto or lottery games include TattsLotto, Gold Lotto, Lotto, X-Lotto and Powerball. Lotto is a game where a player selects any six numbers from 1 to 45 in anticipation that those numbers will be among eight numbered balls, randomly drawn from a ball-draw device containing 45 balls numbered from 1 to 45. The first six of the eight balls drawn are known as the ‘winning numbers’ and the last two balls are called ‘supplementary numbers’. Lotteries may also include less defined activities which broadly involve the purchase of a ticket, a draw and a prize.

lower income households: Households containing the 38% of people with equivalised disposable household income between the third and 40th percentiles.

low-risk gambling: Low-risk gambling is characterised by the experience of a low level of problems with few or no identified negative consequences. Low-risk gamblers have scores of one or two on the Problem Gambling Severity Index

main tenant: Tenant who is party to the residential tenancy agreement. Where this is not clear, it is the person who is responsible for rental payments.

marital status of adoptive parent(s): Applicable status at the time the child is placed with the adoptive parent(s), using one of the following categories: registered marriage, de facto relationship and single.

means tested: Most social security payments are means-tested; a formal process used to determine eligibility for full or part payment based on whether a person’s  income from all sources (income, investments, assets) is below certain income thresholds.

median: Midpoint of a list of observations ranked from smallest to largest.

median age: For a given measure, the age at which half the population is older and half is younger.

mental health: State of wellbeing in which the person realises their own abilities, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and can make a contribution to the community. Mental health is the capacity of individuals and groups to interact with one another and their environment in ways that promote subjective wellbeing, optimal development and the use of cognitive, affective and relational abilities.

mental illness/mental health disorder: Range of cognitive, emotional and behavioural disorders that interfere with the lives and productivity of people. Mental health disorders are diagnosed using certain criteria. They include depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, personality disorders and psychoses.

mental health issue (specialist homelessness services clients): Client presenting to a specialist homelessness service identified as having a current mental health issue. They can be identified as such if they provide information on recent mental health disorders or concerns.

mild or moderate core activity limitation: Person who needs no help but has difficulty with core activities (moderate) or has no difficulty (mild) with core activities, but uses aids or equipment, or has one or more of these limitations:

  • cannot easily walk 200 metres
  • cannot walk up and down stairs without a handrail
  • cannot easily bend to pick up an object from the floor
  • cannot use public transport
  • can use public transport but needs help or supervision
  • needs no help or supervision but has difficulty using public transport.

See also disability, core activity limitation, and severe or profound core activity limitation.

mean: Average of a group of numbers.

mean score (NAPLAN): Average of scores for all students in the relevant group for the National Assessment Program–Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN).

moderate-risk gambling: Moderate-risk gambling is characterised by the experience of a moderate level of problems from gambling, with some negative consequences, like spending more than you can afford, losing track of time or feeling guilty about your gambling. Moderate-risk gamblers have scores of 3 to 7 on the Problem Gambling Severity Index.

mortality rate: Number of deaths in a given period, adjusted to take account of population age structure, expressed per 1,000 population.

mutual obligation requirements: Mutual obligations are designed to ensure unemployed people receiving activity tested income support payments are actively looking for work and participating in activities that will assist them into employment. Mutual obligation requirements differ depending on the recipient’s age, assessed work capacity and whether they are the primary carer of a dependent child. Examples of mutual obligation requirements include accepting offers of suitable paid work, job search, attending appointments with employment services providers, and participating in approved education or training courses or programs.

national minimum standard: Describes some of the skills and understandings students can generally demonstrate at their particular year of schooling, in a specific area or domain, as assessed through the National Assessment Program–Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) test.

National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS): Scheme delivered by the Australian Government in partnership with the state and territory governments and offers annual financial incentives for up to 10 years to rent dwellings for eligible NRAS tenants at 80% or less of the market value rent.

neglect: Any serious act or omission by a person having the care of a child that, within the bounds of cultural tradition, constitutes a failure to provide conditions that are essential for the healthy physical and emotional development of the child.

Newstart Allowance: Means-tested income support payment for working-age Australians (aged over 22 but under the Age Pension qualifying age) who are looking for work, participating in approved activities that may increase their chances of finding a job,  or earning under the income threshold. . This payment was replaced by the JobSeeker Payment in March 2020.

not in education, employment or training (NEET): People (usually young people aged 15–24) who are not engaged in any study, training or employment. These people are often at greater risk of long-term unemployment and disadvantage.

nominal dollars: dollar values reported for a particular year, unadjusted for inflation.

non-dependent child: Natural, adopted, step or foster child of a couple or lone parent usually resident in the household, who is aged 15 or over and is not a full-time student aged 15–24, and who has no identified partner or child of their own usually resident in the household. This definition applies to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census of Population and Housing and may differ somewhat from definitions in other collections. See also dependent child.

non-Indigenous: People who have indicated they are not of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin.

non-Indigenous household: Household in which people have indicated they are not of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin.

non-problem gambling: Non-problem gambling is characterised by the experience of no negative consequences from gambling. Non-problem gamblers have a score of zero on the Problem Gambling Severity Index.

non-school education: Refers to higher education or vocational education and training. Non-school education generally leads to qualifications at Certificate I–IV, Diploma, Bachelor, Master and Doctoral level.

non-school qualification: Educational attainments other than those of pre-primary, primary and secondary education. Include qualifications at these levels: Post-graduate degree, Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate, Bachelor degree, Advanced Diploma and Diploma, and Certificates I, II, III and IV. Non-school qualifications may be attained concurrently with school qualifications. See also post-school qualification.

nonprofit: Organisations whose primary objective is something other than the generation of profit. Nonprofit (also known as not-for-profit or community) organisations range from sporting clubs and hobby groups to community centres, neighbourhood houses, traditional charities, health promotion organisations, aged care homes, disability support groups, etc.

notification (child protection): Contact made to an authorised department by people or other bodies alleging child abuse or neglect, child maltreatment or harm to a child.

not in the labour force: People not employed and not looking for work or about to begin work (unemployed). Includes retirees, students and people taking care of children or other family members among others. See also labour force.

novelty event betting: Wagering on a non-sporting event, such as who will win an Academy Award, a political event, or a reality TV show.

older person: Person aged 65 or over, unless otherwise noted.

one-parent family: Family comprising a lone parent with at least one dependent or non-dependent child (regardless of age) who is also usually living in the household. Examples of one-parent families include a parent aged 25 with dependent children, and a parent aged 80 living with a child aged 50. See also single parent.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): Organisation of 38 countries, including Australia, that are mostly developed. Some are emerging, such as Chile, Mexico and Turkey. OECD’s aim is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social wellbeing of people around the world. See a list of current members.

other adoption (known child adoption): Adoption of a child or children by the commissioning (surrogate) parents, whether the commissioning parents are a relative or not.

Other Australians: Individuals who have indicated they are not of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin, or did not state their Indigenous status.

Other household: Household in which people have indicated they are not of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin, or where the Indigenous status of residents was not available. See also Other Australians. Compare with non-Indigenous household.

out-of-home care: Overnight care for children aged under 18 for which there is ongoing case management and financial payment (including where a financial payment has been offered but has been declined by the carer).

outside school hours care: Services provided for school-aged children aged 5–12 outside school hours during term and vacations. Care may be provided on student-free days and when school finishes early. Compare with occasional care.

overcrowding: Situation in a dwelling where one or more additional bedrooms are required to adequately house its inhabitants, according to the Canadian National Occupancy Standard. Compare with underutilisation (housing).

over-representation: Likelihood of occurrence for one population compared with another. May be expressed as a rate ratio and may be calculated as: population A rate divided by population B rate. See also rate ratio.

owner (of dwelling): Household in which at least one member owns the dwelling in which the household members usually live. Owners are divided into two categories:

  • without a mortgage – no mortgage or loan secured against the dwelling
  • with a mortgage – any outstanding mortgage or loan secured against the dwelling.

parenting payments: Means-tested income support payment for principal carers in recognition of the impact that caring for young children can have on a parent’s capacity to undertake full-time employment. See also Parenting Payment Single and Parenting Payment Partnered

Parenting Payment Single: Means-tested income support payment for single parents where the youngest child is aged under 8. Single parents must satisfy part‑time mutual obligation requirements of 30 hours per fortnight once their youngest child turns 6 (unless exempt; see Partial Capacity to Work).

Parenting Payment Partnered: Means-tested income support payment for partnered parents until their youngest child turns 6.

Partial Capacity to Work: A person with a physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment has a partial capacity to work if the impairment prevents them from working at least 30 hours per week at the relevant minimum wage or above, independently of a program of support, within the next 2 years. Work capacity is assessed for activity-tested payments, such as JobSeeker Payment, Parenting Payment Single and Youth Allowance (other) Payment.

participation: The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health defines participation in terms of involvement in life situations, from basic learning and applying knowledge, through general tasks and demands, to domestic life, relationships, education and employment, and community life.

participation rate: See labour force participation rate.

partner violence: Violent or intimidating behaviours perpetrated by a current or former cohabiting partner. Does not include violence by a boyfriend or girlfriend or date. See also domestic violence and intimate partner violence.

part-rate payment: Government payment received by an individual that is not the full amount that may be received for that particular benefit type. Whether an individual is eligible for full or part payment is often determined based on whether the income they earn is below or above a certain threshold. 

part-time employment rate: The proportion of the total population currently in part-time employment. The denominator includes persons who work in a full-time capacity, along with those who are unemployed or not in the labour force.

part-time unemployment rate: Number of unemployed persons looking for part-time work as a percentage of the part-time labour force (part-time employed and unemployed looking for part-time work).

part-time worker: Employed person who usually worked fewer than 35 hours a week (in all jobs) and did so during the reference week of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Labour Force Survey or was not at work in the reference week. This definition applies to the ABS Labour Force Survey and may differ somewhat from definitions in other collections. Compare with full-time workers. See also employed.

people leaving care (Specialist Homelessness Services clients): Clients of Specialist Homeless Services who, in their first support period of the reporting year:

  • had a dwelling type of hospital, psychiatric hospital or unit, disability support, rehabilitation, aged care facility
  • reported their reason for seeking assistance as transition from foster care or child safety residential care, or transition from other care arrangements.

permanency planning: Processes undertaken by state and territory departments responsible for child protection to achieve a stable long-term care arrangement, which can be broadly grouped as reunification, finalised third-party parental responsibility orders, long-term finalised guardianship, custody, care and adoption.

philanthropy: the ‘planned and structured giving of time, information, goods and services, voice and influence well as money to improve the wellbeing of humanity and the community’ (PA 2019; Scaife et al. 2016).

physical abuse: Non-accidental physical act inflicted on a person by another person. Behaviours can include slaps, hits, punches, being pushed down stairs or across a room, choking and burns, as well as the use of knives, firearms and other weapons. For some data sources, physical abuse refers only to incidents that occurred before a certain age. For example, in the Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey, physical abuse refers only to incidents that occurred before the age of 15, non-accidental physical acts after this age are referred to as assault.

physical violence: Behaviours that can include slaps, hits, punches, being pushed down stairs or across a room, choking and burns, as well as the use of knives, firearms and other weapons, or threats of such acts.

poker: Poker refers to a group of card games in which the winner of each hand is determined according to the combinations of players’ cards, at least some of which remain hidden until the end of the hand.

population dependency ratio: Ratio of population aged 0–14 and 65 and over per 100 population aged 15–64.

post-school qualification: See non-school qualification.

preschool: Services licensed and/or funded by state or territory governments to deliver preschool services at a particular location. Comprises a structured educational program provided by a qualified teacher in various settings, usually aimed at children in the year before they start formal schooling.

preschool program: Deliver a structured educational program to children before they start school. Programs can be delivered by a preschool or a centre-based day care service.

primary carer: Subgroup of informal carers who provide the majority of help or supervision that a person requires with core activities.

primary medical condition (Disability Support Pension): For Disability Support Pension reporting, the medical condition with the highest impairment rating determines which primary medical condition a recipient is recorded under. Twenty-one Primary Medical Condition classification groups cover a number of medical conditions. The medical condition of Care Receivers of the Carer Payment is the first listed medical condition provided by the treating health professional. A person can have up to 4 medical conditions listed.

prison: Place administered and operated by a justice department, where individuals are detained while under the supervision of the relevant justice department on a pre-sentence or sentenced detention episode.

prisoner: Adult prisoners (aged 18 and over) held in custody whose confinement is the responsibility of a correctional services agency. Includes sentenced prisoners and prisoners held in custody awaiting trial or sentencing (remandees). Does not include youth offenders, persons in psychiatric custody, police cell detainees, those in periodic detention, asylum seekers or Australians held in overseas prisons.

private betting: This may include unregulated informal betting on games such as cards or mah-jong, or other agreed-upon outcomes, often with friends or family.

problem gambling: Problem gambling is characterised by difficulties in limiting money and/or time on gambling, which leads to adverse consequences for the person gambling and often others in the community. Problem gamblers have scores of 8 or more on the Problem Gambling Severity Index.

Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI): The PGSI is a Canadian screening tool for use in community settings (Ferris & Wynne, 2001). It has been adapted for use in Australia and is commonly used in Australian studies to assess problem gambling prevalence and also as a self-assessment tool.

projection (population): Not a forecast but instead an illustration of changes that would occur if stated assumptions were to apply over the period in question.

psychological abuse: Behaviours that include limiting access to finances, preventing the victim from contacting family and friends, demeaning and humiliating the victim, and any threats of injury or death directed at the victim or their children

psychological distress: Psychological distress is commonly measured using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale – 10 items (K10). The K10 questionnaire was developed to yield a global measure of psychosocial distress, based on questions about people’s level of nervousness, agitation, psychological fatigue and depression in the past four weeks. The Kessler 6 Scale is an abbreviated version of K10.

purchasing power parities: rates of currency conversion that try to equalise the purchasing power of different currencies, by eliminating the differences in price levels between countries.

quintile: Group derived by ranking a population according to specified criteria (for example, income) and dividing it into five equal parts. Can also mean the cut-points that make these divisions – that is, the 20th, 40th, 60th and 80th percentiles – but the first use is the more common one. Commonly used to describe socioeconomic groups based on socioeconomic position. Also used to describe income groups.

qualifying age: Age at which a person is eligible for particular government benefits.

race betting: Wagering on the outcome of horse and greyhound races, excluding all sweeps.

raffle: A gambling competition in which people buy numbered tickets, each ticket having the chance of winning a prize.

rate: One number (numerator) divided by another number (denominator). The numerator is commonly the number of events in a specified time. The denominator is the population ‘at risk’ of the event. Rates (crude, age-specific and age-standardised) are generally multiplied by a number such as 100,000 to create whole numbers.

rate ratio: Shows the relative difference between two rates. May be calculated as the rate for population A divided by the rate for population B. Commonly used to compare rates between:

  1. two points in time for the same population
  2. different populations at the same point in time. 

A rate ratio of 1 indicates no difference between the rates. A rate ratio less than 1 indicates that rates have decreased over time (use i), or that the rate for Population A is lower than that for Population B (use ii). A rate more than 1 indicates an increase over time or that the rate for Population A is higher than that for Population B.

real terms: The phrase ‘real terms’ is used to describe spending in constant prices. Constant price estimates for spending have been derived using deflators produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

reference person: Is chosen for each household by applying, to all household members aged 15 and over, these selection criteria, in the order listed, until a single appropriate reference person is identified:

  • one partner in a registered or de facto marriage, with dependent children
  • one partner in a registered or de facto marriage, without dependent children
  • lone parent with dependent children
  • person with the highest income
  • eldest person.

This definition applies to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Survey of Income and Housing and may differ somewhat from definitions in other collections.

relatives (known child adoption): Any relatives of the child being adopted, as defined by the Family Law Act 1975, other than step-parents. For Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children, a relative includes anyone related through kinship arrangements. See relative kinship care.

relative kinship care: Form of out-of-home care where the caregiver is:

  • a relative (other than parents)
  • considered to be family or a close friend
  • a member of the child or young person’s community (in accordance with their culture)
  • who is reimbursed by the state or territory for the care of the child (or who has been offered but declined reimbursement).

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, a kinship carer may be another Indigenous person who is a member of their community, a compatible community or from the same language group.

remand or remandee: When a person is placed in custody while awaiting the outcome of a court hearing.

remoteness area: Classification that divides each state and territory into several regions based on their relative accessibility to goods and services (such as general practitioners, hospitals and specialist care) as measured by road distance. These regions are based on the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia and defined as Remoteness Areas by the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (before 2011) or the Australian Statistical Geographical Standard (from 2011 onwards) in each Census year.

Rent assistance: A non-taxable income supplement payable to eligible people who rent in the private rental market or community housing. Pensioners, allowees and those receiving more than the base rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A may be eligible for Rent Assistance.

rental affordability index: Price index for housing rental markets, used to compare rental affordability to household incomes. Defined as the ratio of gross household income to the income at which 30% of gross income is spent on housing costs, multiplied by 100. A rental affordability index score between 100 and 120 represents moderately unaffordable rent. A score between 120 and 150 represents acceptable rent. A score of 100 or below indicates that a household is in housing stress.

residency requirements: Requirements for a person to be a citizen or hold certain visas in order to be eligible for particular government benefits.

residential aged care: Provided to a person in an Australian Government-approved aged care home, including accommodation (bedding and other furnishings, meals, laundry, social activities), personal care (bathing, showering, toileting, dressing, eating, moving about), and nursing and allied health services if required. Residential aged care can be provided on a permanent basis, or a short-term basis for respite or emergency support.

residential care (out-of-home care): Type of out-of-home care where the placement is in a residential building whose purpose is to provide placements for children and where there are paid staff.

respite services: Services that relieve informal carers of their caring duties for a few hours or days, replacing the informal help and supervision they provide to a person with formal services delivered at home, in a day centre or in a residential setting. Direct respite is respite care where the primary purpose is to meet carer needs by providing them with a break from their caring role. Indirect respite is the ‘respite effect’ achieved by relieving the carer of other tasks of daily living, which may or may not be directly related to their caring responsibility.

restriction: A person has a restriction if they have difficulty participating in life situations and needs assistance from another person, or uses an aid.

retirement: People who have previously worked for 2 weeks or more, have retired from work, or from looking for work, or are not intending to look for, or take up, work.

reunification: A planned process of safely returning and enabling a child to remain at home with their birth parent(s), family, or former guardian after a period of time in care when it is in the child’s best interests to do so, and where it will safeguard the child’s long-term stability and permanency. In practice, reunification tends to be nearly exclusively with birth parents.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM): STEM fields of education are based on the definition in the Report on Australia's STEM Workforce by the Office of the Chief Scientist. This includes the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED) fields of education: 

  • 01. Natural and Physical Sciences (including 0101. Mathematical Sciences)
  • 02. Information Technology
  • 03. Engineering and Related Technologies
  • 05. Agriculture, Environment and Related Studies.

separate house: House separated from other dwellings by a space of at least half-a-metre. A separate house may have a flat attached to it, such as a granny flat or converted garage. The number of storeys of separate houses is not recorded. Also included are occupied accommodation units in manufactured home estates which are identified as separate houses.

severe or profound core activity limitation: Limitation where people who always (profound) or sometimes (severe) need help with one or more core activities, that most people undertake at least daily – self-care, mobility and/or communication are often referred to as core activities. See also core activity limitation and disability.

severely crowded dwelling: Dwelling that requires four or more extra bedrooms to accommodate the usual residents of that dwelling, according to the Canadian National Occupancy Standard. This definition applies to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census and may differ somewhat from definitions in other collections. See also overcrowding.

sexual abuse: Undesired sexual behaviour by one person upon another. Sexual abuse of a child refers to any act by a person having the care of a child that exposes the child to, or involves the child in, sexual processes beyond the child’s understanding, or contrary to accepted community standards. It includes, but is not limited to sexual assault. Other behaviours include; forcing a child to watch or hear sexual acts, taking sexualised photos of a child, and sexually explicit talk.

sexual assault: Sexual act carried out against a person’s will through the use of physical force, intimidation or coercion. Includes rape, attempted rape, aggravated sexual assault (assault with a weapon), indecent assault, and penetration by objects, forced sexual activity that did not end in penetration and attempts to force a person into sexual activity. These acts are an offence under state and territory criminal law.

sexual harassment: Includes: indecent phone calls, text messages, emails or social media posts, indecent exposure, inappropriate comments, and unwanted sexual touching.

sexual violence: Behaviours of a sexual nature carried out against a person’s will using physical force or coercion (or any threat or attempt to do so). Can be perpetrated by partners in a domestic relationship, former partners, other people known to the victims, or strangers.

short-term order (child protection): An order that transfers guardianship/custody to the nominated person for a specified period of 2 years or less.

short-term restorative care: Early intervention program that aims to delay admission into residential care or home care. Care is provided for up to 56 days in a coordinated package of services, which can be delivered in a residential setting, the home, or a combination.

single parent: See one-parent family.

sleeping rough: State of sleeping with no shelter on the street, in a park, in the open, or in a motor vehicle. See also homeless.

social exclusion: Opposite of social inclusion.

social housing: Rental housing funded or partly funded by government and owned or managed by the Australian Government or a community organisation and let to eligible persons. See also social housing programs.

social housing programs: Rental housing funded, or partly funded, by the Australian Government, that is owned or managed by the government or a community organisation. Australia has four main social housing programs:

  • public rental housing
  • state owned or managed Indigenous housing
  • mainstream community housing
  • Indigenous community housing.

social inclusion: According to the former Social Inclusion Board, an inclusive society is one in which all members have the resources, opportunities and capability to learn, work, engage with and have a voice in the community. See also social exclusion.

social isolation: State of having minimal contact with others. Compare with social exclusion. See also social inclusion.

social security system and payments: Aims to encourage self-reliance and provide for a minimum acceptable standard of living, with payments targeted to people who do not have the means to support themselves. Provides payments, through Centrelink, to those unable to work (due to disability or caring responsibilities), those unable to find work, those pursuing post-school learning, families with the cost of raising dependent children, and rental costs.

socioeconomic position: Indication of how ‘well off’ a person or group is. Socioeconomic groups are mostly reported using the Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas, typically for five groups (quintiles), from the most disadvantaged (worst off or lowest socioeconomic group) to the least disadvantaged (best off or highest socioeconomic group).

Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas: Set of indexes, created from Census data, that aim to represent the socioeconomic position of Australian communities and identify areas of advantage and disadvantage. The index value reflects the overall or average level of disadvantage of the population of an area. It does not show how individuals living in the same area differ from each other in their socioeconomic group. Generally, where analyses on socioeconomic position are presented, the Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage has been used.

Special Benefit: an income support payment for people who are not eligible for other income support payments and experiencing financial hardship due to reasons beyond their control, such as not meeting age or residency requirements of payments.

specialist disability services: Provided under the National Disability Agreement and as part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, as well as a range of other government and mainstream services for people with disability so they can access the support and services they need for an enhanced quality of life and participate as valued members of the community.

specialist homelessness services: Assistance provided by a specialist homelessness agency to a client aimed at responding to or preventing homelessness. Includes accommodation provision, assistance to sustain housing, domestic/family violence services, mental health services, family/relationship assistance, disability services, drug/alcohol counselling, legal/financial services, immigration/cultural services, other specialist services and general assistance and support.

special needs households: Descriptor for households that have a member with disability, a main tenant aged under 25 or 75 and over, or households defined as Indigenous households.
Indigenous households in state owned and managed Indigenous housing are considered special needs households if they have a member with a disability or a main tenant aged under 25 or aged 50 and over.

sports betting: Wagering on local, national or international sporting activities (other than horse and greyhound racing).

stalking: Unwanted behaviours, such as following or unwanted contact, that occur more than once and cause fear or distress. Stalking is a crime in every state and territory of Australia.

step parent:  Non-biological parent who is the spouse of the child’s birth parent or previously adoptive parent. Foster parents are not included in this category.

step parent (known child adoption): A category of known adoption that includes a non-biological parent who is the spouse of the child’s birth or adoptive parent. Foster parents are not included in this category.

student attendance rate: Number of actual full-time equivalent student days attended by full-time students as a percentage of the total number of possible student attendance days attended over the period.

student payments: Range of Centrelink payments available to support people who are studying or undertaking an apprenticeship. In this report it is focused on means-tested income support payments, including Youth Allowance (student or Australian Apprentices), ABSTUDY (Living Allowance) and Austudy (for those aged 25 and over).

substantiation of notification (child protection): Child protection notification made to relevant authorities between 1 July and 30 June that was investigated (with the investigation finalised by 31 August), and where it was concluded there was reasonable cause to believe the child had been, was being, or was likely to be, abused, neglected or otherwise harmed. Substantiation does not necessarily require sufficient evidence for a successful prosecution, and does not imply that treatment or case management was provided. Substantiations may also include cases where there is no suitable caregiver, such as children who have been abandoned, or whose parents are deceased.

superannuation: Money set aside over a person’s lifetime to provide for their retirement. Can be accessed when a person reaches eligible age (between 55 and 60, depending on year of birth) and retires, or when they turn 65. Access can be through pension payments or a lump sum.

supplementary payments: Additional payments available to recipients of particular government benefits, typically subject to additional eligibility criteria.

survey data collection: Data set that results from sampling individual units from the population. No sample will ever be fully representative of the population, but if carefully designed and implemented, samples will be highly representative for drawing conclusions about characteristics of the whole population.

tenure type: Circumstances in which a household resides in a dwelling that is owned outright or with a mortgage, rented privately, or part of a social housing program or some other tenure type.

tertiary education: In Australia can be broadly categorised as higher education or vocational education and training (VET). Higher education is generally delivered in a university setting, leading to a Bachelor, Master or Doctoral degree. VET focuses on delivering skills and knowledge for a specific industry, leading to Certificate and Diploma qualifications. It is delivered by registered training organisations such as technical and further education institutions.

third-party parental care: Placements for children on third-party parental responsibility orders.

transition care: On discharge from hospital, eligible people can receive rehabilitation care and support services at home or in a home-like setting to assist in their recovery and rehabilitation. To receive transition care, the person must be otherwise eligible for residential aged care. Generally, care is provided for a maximum of 84 days per person per financial year.

underemployed: Employed persons aged 15 and over who want, and are available for, more hours of work than they have. Comprises: people employed part time who want to work more hours and are available to start work with more hours, either in the reference week or in the 4 weeks after the survey; or persons employed full time who worked part-time hours in the reference week (fewer than 35 hours) for economic reasons (including being stood down or insufficient work being available). This definition applies to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Labour Force Survey and may differ somewhat from definitions in other collections.

underemployment rate: Number of underemployed workers expressed as a percentage of the labour force.

underutilisation (housing): Occurs where a dwelling contains one or more bedrooms surplus to the needs of the household occupying it, according to the Canadian National Occupancy Standard. Compare with overcrowding.

unemployed: Describes people aged 15 and over who were not employed during the reference week of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Labour Force Survey, and had actively looked for work in the previous 4 weeks and were available for work in the reference week, or were waiting to start a new job within 4 weeks of the end of the reference period and could have started had it been available. This definition applies to the Labour Force Survey and may differ somewhat from definitions in other collections. Compare with employed.

unemployment payments: Benefits or payments available to working age people (aged 16 and over but under the Age Pension qualifying age) looking for work or earning under the income threshold, including Youth Allowance (other)JobSeeker Payment and Newstart Allowance (ceased 20 March 2020).

unemployment rate: Number of unemployed people, expressed as a percentage of the labour force.

vocational education and training (VET): VET focuses on delivering skills and knowledge for a specific industry, leading to Certificate and Diploma qualifications. It is delivered by registered training organisations such as technical and further education institutions.

victimisation rate: The number of victims per 100,000 of the Estimated Resident Population.

virtual betting: Placing bets on virtual (simulated) games where the outcomes are algorithm-based, for example betting on the match outcome of a virtual sports event.

volunteer: A person who willingly provides unpaid help, in the form of time, service or skills, through an organisation or group.

volunteer rate: Number of volunteers as a percentage of the relevant population.

weighted data: Data collected from survey participants are adjusted to represent the population from which the sample was drawn.

welfare workforce: Comprises paid employees working in a community service occupation within a community service industry.

working age population: Generally refers to people aged 15–64.

Year 12 attainment rate: Number of students who meet the requirements of a Year 12 or equivalent qualification, expressed as a percentage of the estimated potential Year 12 population.

Youth Allowance (other): Means-tested income support payment for young people aged 16–21 who are looking for work, temporarily unable to work, or undertaking approved activities. Qualifying for this payment is subject to a parental income test unless the young person is considered independent.

Youth Allowance (Student and Australian Apprentices): Means-tested income support payment for full-time students and Australian Apprentices aged 16–24.


Browne M, Langham E, Rawat V, Greer N, Li E, Rose J, Rockloff M, Donaldson P, Thorne H, Goodwin B, Bryden G & Best T 2016. Assessing gambling-related harm in Victoria: a public health perspective. Melbourne: Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.

Ferris J & Wynne H 2001. The Canadian Problem Gambling Index: final report. Ottawa: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

Philanthropy Australia) 2019. Annual Report 2019. Philanthropy Australia. Viewed 23 November 2020

Scaife W, McGregor-Lowndes M, Barraket J & Burns W (eds) 2016. Giving Australia 2016: literature review summary report. Brisbane: Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, Queensland University of Technology, the Centre for Social Impact Swinburne, Swinburne University of Technology, and the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs