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Definition

Definition

Dwelling occupancy status classifies all dwellings according to whether they are occupied, unoccupied, or under construction during the time period of the data collection.

Occupied dwelling

A dwelling is defined for the Census of Population and Dwellings (census) use as occupied if it is:

  • occupied at midnight on the night of the data collection; or
  • occupied at any time during the 12 hours following midnight on the night of the data collection unless the occupant(s) completed a questionnaire at another dwelling during this period.

This includes occupied dilapidated dwellings and occupied dwellings under construction.

Unoccupied dwelling

A dwelling is defined for census use as unoccupied if it is:

  • unoccupied at midnight and at all times during the 12 hours following midnight on the night of the data collection.

Unoccupied dwellings may be classified as 'empty' or 'residents away'.

An unoccupied dwelling is classified as 'empty' if it clearly has no current occupants and new occupants are not expected to move in on or before census night. Unoccupied dwellings that are being repaired or renovated are defined as empty dwellings. Unoccupied baches or holiday homes are also defined as empty dwellings.

A dwelling is classified as having 'residents away', where occupants of a dwelling are known to be temporarily away and are not expected to return on or before census night.

Note: A dilapidated dwelling is not included as a dwelling, if it is unoccupied when the collection is undertaken.

Dwelling under construction

All houses, apartments, flats, groups or blocks of flats being built are defined as 'under construction'.

An existing dwelling that is being altered, repaired, or extended and is unoccupied is coded as an 'empty dwelling'.

A new dwelling that is under construction and is occupied is coded as 'occupied'.

'Dwelling’ is a supporting concept and is defined in the Glossary and references.

Operational issues

The standard definition is constrained by:

  • the ability of the collector/interviewer to identify the dwelling as fit for human habitation
  • the appropriate identification of the dwelling occupancy status. This may require the collector to obtain information from neighbours on why a dwelling is unoccupied, make multiple visits to the dwelling at varying times, and/or make a close visual inspection of the dwelling for signs of recent occupancy and leave messages.

Unoccupied private dwellings (see the Statistical Standard for Occupied Dwelling Type) are classified for operational use by census.

Explanatory notes

Alternative names

Dwelling occupancy status has also been known as 'dwelling status' and 'dwelling stock'. The term dwelling occupancy status is preferred as it uniquely and meaningfully describes the output variable.

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