Necessary information about variables,
variable content and national deviances

In this document:

To make full and adequate use of this website and its table generating tool, it is absolutely indispensable to be aware of the content, definitions and characteristics of the variables included in the national data of which the data base is built. There is also a degree of unwanted and complicating variation in the data of different national origin that the user needs to take into account when calculating and interpreting the statistical estimates. Information on this is provided in a set of documents attached to the website.

Meta data: population, sample, etc.

In the document:
Metadata for the Harmonised European Time Use Survey

...metadata on the national time use surveys are found. It provides information on population and sample, selection of diary days, survey period, response rates, estimation procedures, etc. There are substantial national differences in these respects, causing problems to a varying degree. One important difference has to do with population delimitation, which diverges considerably. Italy contributes to the database with diary data for individuals from 3 years of age, whereas the youngest contributors in the Swedish data are 20 years. The rest of the countries fall somewhere in between these extremes. The upper age limit starts at 84. Some countries have no upper age limit.

The system offers a default, common population delimitation, namely 20-74 years. This can be cancelled by unmarking a tick box in the table menus.

Confidentiality, precision and suppression of observations

In the tabulation tool there is a built-in limitation for presented estimates. For the mean tables there is a threshold set to 25 observations/number of diaries and no estimates is displayed due to a risk of very low precision. For the freq tables the threshold is set to a minimum of 3 observations and here we suppress, at least, one more number in every dimension where the threshold hits. There should be no possibility to derive the number in sample size in small domains by use of neighbour domains or by use of the weighted distribution.

Variables in the database

There are three distinct kinds of variables in the database. First there are the recording domains which carry the information on the time use, i.e. the information collected by means of the time diaries (Recording domains.pdf). They are main activity, secondary activity, location/means of transport and who with, i.e. presence of other persons. A general description of these is found in General description.doc, and the content, definition and classification are found in Recording domains.pdf. In order to increase comparability the original HETUS categories have been reduced by collapsing categories. There are now 49 main activities, 10 secondary activities and 11 categories for location and means of transport. Nevertheless, some National differences remain. These differences and the principle for collapsing the data are described in Recording domains.pdf. In some cases national deviances appear in the system’s output tables as N/A (not applicable) indicating that the particular information is missing for the country.

The definitions and national deviances of the classificatory variables are found in Individual and household variables.pdf. These variables may be reclassified by means of formats. The formats are found by pressing the format button to the right of the drop-down boxes for classificatory variables in the table menus. The system admits adding new formats. The user is welcome to ask for additional formats by contacting webmaster through the HETUS mailbox.

Other important and necessary documents

Other important document concerning the application and the harmonisation of the Time Use Survey can be found on the following links:

Links to necessary information:

Documents concerning the application:

Metadata for the Harmonised European Time Use Survey
General description (this information as a Word document for printing)
Individual and Household variables
Diary variables
Recording domains variables
Content of recording domains by country

Highly topical documents concerning the Harmonisation of the European Time Use Surveys, 2009 Edition:

The HETUS guidelines (2009-01-28). Eurostat site
The HETUS guidelines (2009-01-28). PDF-document, 2009 Edition

Preceding documents concerning the Harmonisation of the European Time Use Surveys, 2004 Edition:

The Complete 2000 HETUS guidelines (Working paper and studies). Eurostat site
The Complete 2000 HETUS guidelines (Working paper and studies). PDF-document, 2004 Edition

Other useful documents:

Estimation procedure of the Finnish Time Use Survey 1999-2000 [P Väisänen]
Mean of episode lengths as a quality indicator of time use diaries [P Väisänen]

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