HOUSEHOLDS RESEARCH DATABASE
INFORMATION PACK
ON THE
TIME USE SURVEY
1987
Sydney (NSW)
Pilot study conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in
May-June 1987
ABS Catalogue : 4113.1
AU TU 87
1987 TIME USE SURVEY
Time Use Survey 1987 - Australia
Time use surveys are designed to measure the time spent by respondents on all
major activities during a reference period. In some cases, additional information,
such as time of day at which various activities are undertaken, are also recorded.
Interest in time use data has focused mainly on their use in studies of economic
and social well-being, the division of labour between males and females, the
productive activities of household members and the needs of special interest
groups. To investigate some of these issues the Australian Bureau of Statistics
(ABS) conducted pilot time use study in May - June 1987.
Objectives of Time Use Survey
The main objectives of the 1987 Time Use Survey (TUS) were:
 to test collection methodologies which may be appropriate to the
conduct of a future ABS national time use survey
 to assess the feasibility, costs and possible methodology for a national
Time Use Survey;
 to provide detailed information on the activities that occupy people
outside the paid workforce;
 to detail how households spend their time and develop a picture of the
day-to-day distribution of labour in a significant number of households;
and
 to measure the daily activity patterns of males and females, including
time spent caring for children and frail, sick and disabled persons.
Years Conducted And Periodicity
 In 1974 and 1987 pilot surveys with selected samples were conducted.
 The 1992 TUS was the first national survey of time use conducted in
Australia.
 In 1997 a second national survey of time use in Australia was
conducted.
Sample
Residents of private dwellings from Sydney, Australia were included in the
survey. The 1987 survey sampled 1000 Sydney households and provided
detailed information on how people spend their time. The time use survey,
conducted over the period 23 May to 4 June, covered about 1000 private
dwellings in the Sydney Statistical Division. All persons aged 15 and over living
these dwellings were included in the sample except members of the permanent
defence forces and overseas residents.
Brief Description of Method
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1987 TIME USE SURVEY
Information was obtained in the TUS partly by interview (which collected basic
demographic and socio-economic characteristics) and partly by self-completion
time use diaries (which collected information on the activities in which people
engaged and the time they spent on them). Trained ABS interviewers collected
information from an adult member of the selected household for all persons aged
15 years or more in the household. A diary was then left for each of these
persons to record their activities over two days. Respondents to the survey
completed a 2-day diary in which they were asked to list any activities undertaken
(up to a maximum of 3) in each 15-minute period. The first activity in each period
was deemed to be the 'primary activity'.
Type of Data Collected
The1987 Time Use Survey examined how people in Australia allocate their time
to different kinds of activities. It provides information on the time Australians
spend on paid work, unpaid household work, parenting, leisure activities, fitness
and health activities, travel and community participation.
TYPE OF DATA 1987 TIME USE SURVEY COLLECTED
HOUSEHOLD
Household Type
GEOGRAPHIC
Sydney Statistical Division Regions
DEMOGRAPHIC
Sex
Age
Martial Status
Birthplace and year of arrival
Number of children aged 0-11 in household
Number of children aged 0-4 in household
Number of children aged 5-9 in household
Number of children aged 10-11 in household
Family Status
ACTIVITY
Activities undertaken
Status of activity
Timing of activity
Duration of activity
Day of activity
Location of activity
Mode of transport
Company present
Payment for activity
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1987 TIME USE SURVEY
EDUCATION
Educational attainment
INCOME
Government persons or benefits received
Main source of income
Total personal annual gross income
LABOUR FORCE
Labour force status
Whether employed/not employed
Status of worker
Occupation
Whether wanted to work
Whether looked for work in the last twelve months
Time since last job
Reason for leaving last job
Occupation in last job
Status of worker in last job
Full time or part time status in last job
Intention to look for work in next twelve months
Type of work preferred
Main reason for not actively looking for work
All reasons for not looking for work
Reason for not available to start work within four works
Persons not in the labour force summary variable
Persons not in the labour force activity variable
Marginal attachment summary variable
Brief Description of Structure of Data files
Access to the original ABS hierarchical data file containing a subset of
variables at the household, person and person-day levels can be arranged for
associates.
However, for easier manipulation this file has been divided into four SPSS data
files - episode, activity, person and household files. These files can be merged
using common identifiers.
Specifically, the episode file contains the start and finish times or individual
durations for all the activities undertaken by the respondents on the two diary
days. The variable uniqueid identifies cases in this file. This file contains
72,761 time use episodes.
In contrast, the activity file is an aggregate time use file. In this file the time
episodes (in minutes per day) each person spent on a particular activity have
been summed to produce aggregate figures for each activity code. This file is also
uniquely identified by uniqueid. This file contains no demographic information
either at the person or household level. Each respondent has two entries - one
for diary day one and one for diary day two. There are 1,611 cases in this file.
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1987 TIME USE SURVEY
Please note that a percentage of respondents did not complete the two diary
days.
The person file, which is uniquely identified by uniqueid, contains all the
demographic person level information for the respondents. There are 1,611
person records in this file.
Merging any combination of the above files is possible via the common identifier,
uniqueid.
Prior to any analysis a review of the documentation file is imperative for both
experienced and novice researchers in the area. The documentation file
contains a list of all the variables, including names and coding information, that
appear in the above files.
Further Information
For further information please refer to:
Australian Bureau of Statistics (1988) Information Paper: Time Use Pilot Survey Sydney, May-June 1987, Catalogue No. 4111.1, ACT.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (1990) Measuring Unpaid Work: Issues and
Experimental Estimates, Catalogue No. 5236.0, ACT.
Bittman, Michael (1991) Juggling Time : How Australians Families Use Time,
Report on the Secondary Analysis of the 1987 Pilot Survey of Time Use, Office of
the Status of Women, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, CPN: ACT.
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1987 TIME USE SURVEY
Access to the TUS unit record files
To access unit record and documentation files for the 1987 Time Use Survey,
Research Associates must complete the attached Application to Access to the
Australian Time Use Survey, 1987 form and return it to the Database Manager, at
the following address:
Database Manager
Households Research Database
Department of Economics
University of Melbourne
VICTORIA
3010
AUSTRALIA
Tel: +61 03 8344 0807
Fax: +61 03 9349 4291
Mode of access to unit record files
Unit record files in the HRD collection can be zipped and posted to an email
address, written to CD-ROM or accessed on computers at HRD research centers.
Alternatively, the ABS has made available unit record files via secure internet
based query systems, namely Remote Access Data Laboratories (RADL) and
ABS Site Data Laboratories (ABSDL). Research Associates can submit syntax,
either via the web or on ABS equipment, to the ABS and attain statistical output in
return. RADL can be accessed either in basic format, which contains a similar
level of detail as the CD-ROM, or in expanded format, containing greater level of
detail than previously available.
Section 2 of the application form requires the applicant to indicate which mode of
access is required.
Access to background documentation files
It is imperative to gain access to the original documentation file as this file
contains variable names and coding information necessary for the analysis of any
of the TUS unit record files. As a result, all Research Associates who order unit
record data from the HRD will also receive the documentation file.
The original ABS documentation file has a reference code of AU TU 87 DOC .txt.
Other ABS publications, including the published results and the user guide, can
also be accessed by completing Section 3A of the application form.
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1987 TIME USE SURVEY
Format of unit record files
The TUS unit record files can be saved in various formats, including SPSS,
ASCII, SAS or Excel.
Research Associates can select the format required on the application form in
Section 3B.
Please contact the Database Manager if you require the unit record files in a
format that is not specified on the application form.
Unit Record Files required
Research Associates who access unit record files either on CD-ROM or zipped to
email, can order the files they require by completing Section 3C of the application
form.
The following table outlines the unit record files that are available.
File
Description
Sample
HRD Reference Code
Complete file
Contains episode,
person and household
data at the episode
level, includes weights
72,761 episode
records
AU TU 87 COM
Episode file
Contains episode data
72,761 episode
records
AU TU 87 EPI
Activity file
Contains activity level
data, includes weights
3,222 diary days
AU TU 87 ACT
Person File
Contains person and
household level data
1,611 persons
AU TU 87 PER
Please note that the Episode, Activity and Person files can be merged using
unique identifiers.
Sub sets of the files
Subsets of any of the above data files can be constructed for Research
Associates. If you are interested in constructing individualised files for your
research firstly review the documentation file, then contact the Database
Manager, who will supply you with the appropriate aggregated file.
7
THE UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE
Department of Economics
Households Research Unit
HOUSEHOLDS RESEARCH DATABASE
Application for Access to the
1987 Australian Time Use Survey AU TU 87
1 Background Details
Full Name
Research Associate Member Number
Please print in BLOCK LETTERS
2 Mode(s) of Access Required
Please indicate each of the mode(s) of access required.
From the HRD
From the ABS
Please tick one mode only
Please tick all modes required
CD, please complete Section 3.
RADL Basic
Zipped Files, please complete Section 3.
RADL Extended
A computer at one of the HRD Research Centres
ABSL data laboratories
3 File Order Form
A. Background Files
The following standard .txt and .bat files will be included in all requests.
Documentation File
AU TU 87 DOC.txt
Please indicate with a tick if you require the following ABS .pdf files.
AU TU 87 USG.pdf
ABS Users Guide
ABS Published Results
AU TU 87 PUB.pdf
ASCII
SAS
Excel
AU TU 87 ALL
Person File
AU TU 87 PER
B. Format for Unit Record Files
Please indicate with a tick the format required
SPSS
C. Unit Record Files Required
Please indicate with a tick the unit record files that you require*
Complete File
Episode File
Activity File
AU TU 87 EPI
AU TU 87 ACT
*For truncated unit record files containing selected variables please contact the Database Manager
4 I will use the above unit record files for the following statistical purposes:
5
The Undertaking
NOW I,
(Full Name in BLOCK LETTERS)
HEREBY UNDERTAKE that I will comply with the conditions of use for unit record files in the Households Research Database collection outlined in Schedule 1 and
certify that I have signed all relevant ABS applications and undertakings to obtain access to the 1987 Time Use Survey unit record files.
SIGNATURE:
DATE:
THE UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE
Department of Economics
Households Research Unit
HOUSEHOLDS RESEARCH DATABASE
SCHEDULE 1
CONDITIONS OF ASSOCIATION TO THE HOUSEHOLDS RESEARCH DATABASE
Terms and Conditions relating to the use of Households Research Database’s (HRD)
unit record files collection
As a Research Associate of the HRD I will adhere to the following conditions when using or
accessing any unidentified individual statistical unit record files in the collection.
Specifically, as an Associate I will:
 only access unit record files when the appropriate documentation has been completed
for the relevant statistical organisation.
 use each of the unit record data files in the collection for statistical purposes only.
“Statistical purposes” means use of the unit record files to produce information of a
statistical nature. Examples of such uses are:
 The manipulation of the unit record files to produce means, correlations or
other descriptive summary measures;
 The estimation of population characteristics from the unit record files
 The use of the unit record files as input to mathematical models and for other
types of analyses(e.g. factor analysis) and
 To provide graphical or pictorial representations of characteristics of the
population or subsets of the population;
 take all reasonable measures to protect the unit record files from unauthorised use,
replication, distribution or publication.
 not attempt to identify particular persons or organisations in any of the Australian or
international unit record files.
 not attempt to match the unit records with any other lists of persons or organisations.
 not disclose, either directly or indirectly, the unit record files to any other person or
organisation outside the Households Research Database and its participating
institutions.
 comply with any other direction or requirement specified by the relevant statistical
organisation and/or the Database Manager of the HRD.
 ensure that the data is returned to the Household Research Database facility when I
have completed my project and any copies made of the data during the analysis will be
destroyed.