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Classification and coding process

Classification criteria

The criterion used to place a dwelling into the first level of the classification is whether the dwelling is 'occupied', 'unoccupied' or 'under construction'. The criterion used to place a dwelling into the second level of the classification is whether the unoccupied dwelling is 'empty' or the residents are away (temporarily).

Classification

Dwelling occupancy status is a hierarchical classification with two levels. Level 1 of the classification has three categories (excluding residual categories), and level 2 of the classification has four categories. At level 2, the category 'unoccupied dwelling', is split into 'residents away' and 'empty dwelling'.

Dwelling occupancy status

Classification Dwelling occupancy status – standard classification
Abbreviation DWELSTAT95
Version V2.0
Effective date 04/03/1999

The residual categories are defined in Glossary and references.

The full classification is available in the 'Available files' section on the main page.

Coding Process

Guidelines for adherence to the Standard

Guidance to support best practice in the collection and output of dwelling occupancy status.

What counts as a dwelling?

  • Dilapidated buildings are not counted as dwellings if they are unoccupied. See Glossary and references for a detailed definition. If they are being used for shelter, and are therefore occupied during the time period of the data collection, they are counted as dwellings.
  • Unoccupied non-private dwellings are not recorded as dwellings for census. For example, unoccupied seasonal group quarters (such as shearer’s or fruit picker’s quarters), camping grounds, and unoccupied tramper’s huts are not counted as dwellings.
  • Houseboats, barges, mobile homes, and caravans that are used as the principal residences of households are treated as dwellings and counted as dwellings whether occupied or unoccupied.

What counts as an empty dwelling?

  • An unoccupied bach or holiday home is classified as an ‘empty dwelling’.

Additional residences

  • In the census, any identified additional residences that are unoccupied are classified as 'residents away'.
  • In some cases, it may not be possible to identify dwellings as additional homes, for example, apartments in high rise buildings. Some of these dwellings may be classified as 'empty' or 'occupied' rather than as 'residents away'.

What counts as 'residents away'?

  • An unoccupied dwelling that has been identified as an additional home, and has residents some of the time, is classified as 'residents away'.
  • Unoccupied furnished dwellings are classified as 'residents away'.
  • Unoccupied dwellings, where it is established there are usual residents, who are not present during the period of the data collection, are classified as 'residents away'.
  • In some cases it may not be possible to establish if there are usual residents. Some of these dwellings may be classified as 'unoccupied' and 'empty', or as 'occupied'.
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