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Person—marital status, code N

Identifying and definitional attributes

Metadata item type:Help on this termData Element
Short name:Help on this termMarital status
METeOR identifier:Help on this term741760
Registration status:Help on this termHealth, Candidate 06/10/2021
Definition:Help on this term

A person's current relationship status in terms of a couple relationship or, for those not in a couple relationship, the existence of a current or previous registered marriage, as represented by a code.

Data Element Concept:Person—marital status

Value domain attributes

Representational attributes

Representation class:Help on this termCode
Data type:Help on this termNumber
Format:Help on this termN
Maximum character length:Help on this term1
Permissible values:Help on this term
ValueMeaning
1Not married/Never married
2Widowed
3Divorced
4Separated
5Married (registered and de facto)
Supplementary values:Help on this term
6Not stated/inadequately described

Collection and usage attributes

Guide for use:Help on this term

All codes refer to the current marital status of a person.

CODE 1     Not married/Never married

For social marital status, Not married means a person who is not living with another person in a couple relationship.

For registered marriages, Never married means a person who has never been in a registered marriage

CODE 2     Widowed

This code usually refers to registered marriages but when self-reported may also refer to de facto marriages.

For registered marriages, Widowed refers to a person who has been in a registered marriage, and whose most recent registered marriage partner is no longer living.

CODE 3     Divorced

For registered marriages, Divorced refers to a person who is no longer legally married to their most recent registered marriage partner/has a decree nisi or decree absolute.

CODE 4     Separated

This code refers to registered marriages but when self-reported may also refer to de facto marriages.

For registered marriages, Separated refers to a person who has been in a registered marriage, and who considers themselves to no longer be in a relationship with their most recent registered marriage partner, but has not legally divorced.

CODE 5     Married (registered and de facto)

Married may refer to either a registered marriage, or a de facto marriage.

For social marital status, Married refers to a person who is living with another person in a couple relationship.

For registered marriages, Married refers to a person who is currently in a registered marriage.

This CODE includes people who have been divorced or widowed but have since re-married.

CODE 6     Not stated/inadequately described

This code is not for use on primary collection forms. It is primarily for use in administrative collections when transferring data from data sets where the item has not been collected.

Comments:Help on this term

The ABS standards (ABS 2019) identify two concepts of marital status:

  • Registered marital status - defined as whether a person has, or has had, a registered marriage;
  • Social marital status - based on a person's living arrangement (including de facto marriages), as reported by the person.

The Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 (Cth) removed references to sex or gender in the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) and redefined marriage as 'the union of two people to the exclusion of all others'. The sex/gender of either party in a couple is thus irrelevant to their marital status.

Source and reference attributes

Origin:Help on this term

ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2019. Family, Household and Income Unit Variables, 2014. Canberra: ABS, viewed 8 March 2021 https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/allprimarymainfeatures/
CF63EA0D2C0016C2CA2572AE00227E7E?opendocument

Data element attributes

Collection and usage attributes

Collection methods:Help on this term

This metadata item collects information on social marital status. The recommended question module is:

Do you/Does the person usually live with a partner in a registered or de facto marriage?

Yes, in a registered marriage

Yes, in a de facto marriage

No, never married

No, separated

No, divorced

No, widowed

It should be noted that information on marital status is collected differently by the ABS, using a set of questions. However, the question outlined above is suitable and mostly sufficient for use within the health and community services fields. See Source document for information on how to access the ABS standards.

While agencies are encouraged to use the recommended question described above, it is acknowledged that this is not always possible in practice. For example, where the data collection is a by-product of the provision of a health or community service, the information may be ascertained using different means. However, the recommended question should be used wherever practically possible.

Comments:Help on this term

The ABS standards identify two concepts of marital status:

  • Registered marital status - defined as whether a person has, or has had, a registered marriage;
  • Social marital status - based on a person's living arrangement (including de facto marriages), as reported by the person.

It is recommended that the social marital status concept be collected when information on social support/home arrangements is sought, whereas the registered marital status concept need only be collected where it is specifically required for the purposes of the collection.

While marital status is an important factor in assessing the type and extent of support needs, such as for the elderly living in the home environment, marital status does not adequately address the need for information about social support and living arrangement and other data elements need to be formulated to capture this information.

Source and reference attributes

Submitting organisation:Help on this term

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Origin:Help on this term

National Health Data Standards Committee

National Community Services Data Committee

Reference documents:Help on this term

ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2019. Family, Household and Income Unit Variables, 2014. Canberra: ABS, viewed 8 March 2021 https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/allprimarymainfeatures/
CF63EA0D2C0016C2CA2572AE00227E7E?opendocument

 

Relational attributes

Related metadata references:Help on this term

Supersedes Person—marital status, code N Housing assistance, Standard 10/02/2006, Health, Standard 04/05/2005, Independent Hospital Pricing Authority, Standardisation pending 23/11/2015, Disability, Standard 13/08/2015, Community Services (retired), Standard 25/08/2005, ACT Health, Final 09/08/2018

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