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Occupied dwelling type

Definition

'Occupied dwelling type' classifies all occupied dwellings according to their structure and function.

For the census, a dwelling is defined as occupied if it is:

  • occupied at midnight on the night of the census, or
  • occupied at any time during the 12 hours following midnight on the night of the census, unless the occupant(s) completed a questionnaire at another dwelling during that period.

Relationship to questionnaire(s)

Data on occupied dwelling type is derived from the office use box, which appears on the top right of the dwelling form and is completed by the collector, and from questions 4 and 5 on the dwelling form (PDF 783kb).

Subject population

The subject population is the people, families, households or dwellings to whom the variable applies.

The subject population for this variable is occupied dwellings.

Non-response rate

The occupied dwelling type classification does not have a 'not classifiable' category, nor does it have any other residual categories. This is because all dwellings are classified during processing as either private or non-private, based on the information provided on the dwelling form by the collector and the respondent. If no further information is available about what type of private or non-private dwelling it is, then the dwelling is classified as an 'occupied private dwelling not further defined' or as an 'occupied non-private dwelling not further defined', whichever is appropriate.

Quality Management Strategy priority level

Occupied dwelling type is a defining variable.

The Census Quality Management Strategy assigns a priority level to all census variables.

Defining variables cover key subject populations that are important for policy development, evaluation or monitoring. These variables are given secondary priority in terms of quality, time and resources across all phases of the 2006 Census.

All data must meet minimum quality standards in order to make it suitable for use.

Comparability with 1996 and 2001 Census data

There are issues affecting the comparability of this data with 1996 and 2001 Census data. Care should be taken when comparing 2006 data with previous census data, due to a number of classification changes and some definitional changes:

  • There have been changes in the use of 'not further defined' categories. The 2006 classification contains only two of these categories: 'occupied private dwelling not further defined' and 'occupied non-private dwelling not further defined'. The 2001 classification also included 'permanent private dwelling not further defined', 'temporary private dwelling not further defined', 'institution not further defined' and 'other non-private dwelling not further defined'. The 1996 classification did not have any 'not further defined' categories.

Issues specific to occupied private dwellings:

  • In 1996 and 2001, occupied private dwellings were categorised as permanent or temporary. These categories were not used in the 2006 Census. In 2006, dwellings in motor camps, mobile dwellings, improvised dwellings, shelters and so on, are classified as 'other occupied private dwellings', and not 'temporary private occupied dwellings' as done previously.
  • The 2001 and 2006 classifications included sub-categories for improvised dwellings or shelters, and roofless or rough sleepers, but the 1996 classification did not have these sub-categories.
  • For 2006 there is no disaggregation according to the number of flats/units etc joined together. In 1996 and 2001, there were separate categories for two flats/units etc joined together, and three or more flats/units etc joined together.
  • More information about the number of storeys is available from the 2006 data than from the 1996 and 2001 data. There are new subcategories indicating how many storeys separate (private) dwellings have, and those for joined (private) dwellings are more disaggregated with separate categories for one-storey buildings, two- or three-storey buildings, and four- or more-storey buildings. In 1996 and 2001, there were just two categories: 'one or two storey' and 'three or more storeys'. New categories for instances in which the number of storeys is unknown have also been added for 2006.
  • The categories of 'flat/unit ... joined to or part of a business or shop' and 'bach, crib or other holiday home' that were in the 1996 and 2001 classifications are not in the 2006 classification. For 2006 these dwellings are included in the 'occupied private dwelling not further defined' category.

Issues specific to occupied non-private dwellings:

  • The 2006 classification has a new category called 'residential care for older people'. This category includes dwellings, such as geriatric hospitals, that were previously classified in the categories for hospitals.
  • The 1996 classification did not have a category for residential and community care facilities. Dwellings such as IHC houses were included in the welfare institution category of the 1996 classification.
  • In 1996 boarding houses were included in the hotel/motel/guest house category, and night shelters were included in the welfare institution category. The 2001 and 2006 classifications have separate categories for boarding houses and night shelters.
  • The 1996 and 2001 classifications included a category for communes, but the 2006 classification does not have this category. For 2006, communes are included in the 'occupied non-private dwelling not further defined' category.

Significant issues

The decrease in non-private dwellings since 2001 is likely to be because of a variety of factors, including different enumeration procedures in the 2001 and 2006 Censuses, definitional changes, real world change (ie reduced numbers of certain types of non-private dwellings) and real world factors (eg bad weather closing camping grounds) that affected the number of non-private dwellings that were occupied at the time of the 2006 Census.

Other things to be aware of

  • The count for 'occupied private dwelling not further defined' includes vague responses (eg 'state house') that could not be classified as separate or joined dwellings, as well as dwellings joined to businesses or shops, and baches, cribs and other holiday homes.
  • In 2006, the count for 'none of these' for the number of storeys variable is much higher than was expected. This is likely to be caused by respondents in one-storey houses, units and flats answering 'none of these' because they did not regard their dwelling as having storeys. In the derived dwelling type variable, these dwellings have been classified in the appropriate '.... one storey...' category.
  • There is likely to be an undercount of private dwellings in a motor camp, because of issues with the coding of these dwellings in 2006.
  • All census data was subject to considerable checks (including edits) during processing and evaluation, to ensure that it meets quality standards and is suitable for use. These checks were applied to data supplied both on paper and on Internet forms. In addition to these quality checks, the Internet form had built-in editing functionality that directed respondents to the appropriate questions and ensured that their responses were valid. As a result of this, data from Internet forms may be of higher overall quality than data from paper forms. The significance of this will depend on the particular type of analysis being done.
  • There were differences between how the forms were completed on the Internet and on paper for this variable:
    • The Internet form allowed only one response to be selected for the dwelling description and number of storeys questions. If a further response was selected, the response given previously disappeared. Multiple responses to these questions were possible when forms were completed on paper.
    • On the Internet form, a text response in the write-in box for the dwelling description question could only be given if 'other' was marked. When filling in forms on paper, it was possible to give a text response in the write-in box without having marked 'other'.
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