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Classification and coding process

Classification criteria

Partnership status is a hierarchical classification with four levels. The criterion used to place people into level 1 is whether they are partnered or non-partnered.

Partnered

For those who are partnered, levels 2 and 3 of the classification specify whether a person is the spouse or civil union partner (in a marriage or civil union), or whether they are a de facto partner (in a de facto relationship). Level 4 incorporates opposite-sex and same-sex options where appropriate.

Note

The living arrangement takes priority over other categories, for example a person who has permanently separated from their spouse or civil union partner (or their marriage or civil union has been dissolved) and who is living in a de facto relationship is classed as being a 'de facto partner' in a de facto relationship.

Non-partnered

For those who are non-partnered, level 2 classifies those who have previously been married or in a civil union and specifies whether their status is separated, dissolved, widowed/surviving civil union partner; or whether they have never been married and never been in a civil union. Level 3 classifies different types of relationships that have ended, for example 'separated (marriage)' or 'separated (civil union)' and distinguishes between those who are widowed or a surviving civil union partner. At level 4 opposite-sex and same-sex options have been included where appropriate.

Classification

Partnership status is a hierarchical classification with four levels. Excluding residual categories, level 1 has two categories, level 2 has 10 categories, level 3 has 18 categories and level 4 has 30 categories.

This classification will also be used by Population Statistics for processing, coding, analysing and disseminating vital statistics, which has necessitated a number of extra categories being included. These are identified with the words '(vital statistics use only)'.

A usual residence criteria applies to all partnerships in this classification and the living arrangement takes priority over other categories. For example a person who has permanently separated from their spouse or civil union partner (or their legally registered relationship has been dissolved) and who is living in a de facto relationship is classed as being a 'de facto partner' in a de facto relationship.

Partnership status information is obtained differently depending on the mode of the survey, so there is not one standard coding process or question.

The partnership status classification master version is an input classification only. Survey-specific aggregated versions of the framework can be used for both input and output.

Classification Partnership Status in Current Relationship – Standard Classification 2008 – Master Version
Abbreviation PTSTCURREL08
Version V1.0
Effective date 25 August 2008
 
Classification Partnership Status in Current Relationship – Standard Classification 2008 – Alternate Version 1 (Core Module)
Abbreviation COR.PSCR08
Version V1.0
Effective date 25 August 2008

The residual categories are defined in Glossary and references.

The full classification is available in Download of classification.

Coding process principles

People currently living with a partner (that is their spouse or civil union partner or de facto partner) are coded in the following way:

  • People who report living with a partner are coded to 'partnered' at level 1.
  • People who are in a legally registered relationship (not separated) are coded to 'spouse' or 'civil union partner' at levels 2 and 3.
  • People who are in a de facto relationship are coded to 'de facto partner' at levels 2 and 3.
  • People who are in a de facto relationship or in a civil union, and a breakdown of whether the partnership is same-sex or opposite-sex is required are coded at level 4.
  • When people are partnered, but also have a legally registered relationship status of never married and never in a civil union, separated, dissolved, widowed or surviving civil union partner, the legally registered status should be ignored and they should be coded to the 'partnered' grouping of the partnership status classification. For example, a person who is partnered in a de facto relationship but is also permanently separated from their spouse or civil union partner should be coded to 'partnered' at level 1. At levels 2 and 3 they should be coded to 'de facto partner'. At level 4 they should be coded to opposite-sex de facto partner or same-sex de facto partner, according to the sex of the partner they are living with (not the separated spouse or civil union partner).
  • When 'partnered' status is indicated, but no further information is given, responses should be coded to 'partnered, not further defined' at levels 2, 3, and 4.
  • When 'partnered' status is indicated and the type of partnership is known, they should be coded to the appropriate category at the appropriate level, but if a further breakdown is required and that information is not known, then code to the appropriate 'not further defined' category at levels 2, 3 or 4.

People who are currently non-partnered are coded in the following way:

  • People who do not live with a partner are coded to 'non-partnered' at level 1.
  • People who do not live with a partner and who have never been in a legally registered relationship are coded to 'never married and never in a civil union' at levels 2, 3 and 4.
  • People who do not live with a partner and who have had their legally registered relationship dissolved are coded to 'dissolved' at level 2, and 'dissolved (marriage)' or 'dissolved (civil union)' at level 3. If same-sex, opposite-sex breakdowns are required, code to 'dissolved (marriage)' or 'dissolved (same-sex civil union)' or 'dissolved (opposite-sex civil union)' at level 4.
  • People who do not live with a partner and who are permanently separated from their spouse or civil union partner are coded to 'separated' at level 2, and 'separated (marriage)' or 'separated (civil union)' at level 3. If same-sex, opposite-sex breakdowns are required, code to 'separated (marriage),' or 'separated (same-sex civil union)', or 'separated (opposite-sex civil union)' at level 4. This coding process also applies to people who do not live with a partner and who are living apart from their spouse or civil union partner, and intend to do so permanently.
  • People who do not live with a partner and have not entered into another legally registered relationship following the death of their spouse or civil union partner are coded to 'widowed or surviving civil union partner' at level 2, and 'widowed' or 'surviving civil union partner' at level 3. If opposite-sex, same-sex breakdowns are required, code at level 4.

Note

  • For interviewer-administered surveys: When the respondent's spouse or partner (or the respondent themselves) is temporarily away at the time of the collection (for example, due to work or medical reasons), and the intention is to resume residing together, the respondent should be recorded as partnered (that is, married, or in a civil union or in a de facto relationship) and not as non-partnered.
  • For self-complete surveys: It is unlikely this component can be operationalised to the degree of accuracy required to collect good quality data. For example, the Census of Population and Dwellings is excluded because it is unlikely this component can be operationalised to enable it to be collected accurately in the living arrangements question, which is based on usual residents within a household. The living arrangements question is also used for other purposes, namely to aid in coding of complex families and households during census processing.

Process for deriving partnership status in current relationship

Examples of survey-specific derivations will be attached to this statistical standard when they become available.

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