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Glossary and references


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'.


One person who usually resides alone or two or more people who usually reside together and share facilities (such as eating facilities, cooking facilities, bathroom and toilet facilities, a living area).

Occupied dwelling

A dwelling is defined for the Census of Population and Dwellings 'Census' use, as occupied if it is:

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

Note: This includes occupied dilapidated dwellings and occupied dwellings under construction.

Unoccupied dwelling

A dwelling is defined for the Census of Population and Dwellings use as unoccupied if it is unoccupied at midnight and at all times during the 12 hours following midnight on the night of 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.

Usual residence

Usual residence is the address of the dwelling where a person considers himself or herself to usually reside, except in the specific cases listed in the guidelines (see the 'usual residence' standard -

Residual categories

Don’t know

Use of this category is discretionary. The use of a category capturing don't know responses is most applicable to household surveys where don't know may be a legitimate response to certain questions.

Refused to answer

This category is only used when it is known that the respondent has purposefully chosen not to respond to the question. Use of this residual category in processing is optional. Its use is most applicable in face-to-face or telephone interviews, but may be used in self-completed questionnaires if the respondent has clearly indicated they refuse or object to answering the question.

Repeated value

Use of this category is discretionary. It is only used for questions that allow multiple responses. It is used when a respondent has given two responses that have the same code. This may be two written responses, or one tick box response and one written response. For example, someone may tick the English language tick box response option and also write 'English' in the blank space.

Response unidentifiable

This category is used when there is a response given, but:
• the response is illegible, or
• it is unclear what the meaning or intent of the response is – this most commonly occurs when the response being classified contains insufficient detail, is ambiguous or is vague, or
• the response is contradictory, for example, both the yes and no tick boxes have been ticked, or
• the response is clear and seemingly within the scope of the classification, but can not be coded because no suitable option (particularly other residual category options such as 'not elsewhere classified' or 'not further defined') exists in the classification or codefile.

Response outside scope

This category is used for responses that are positively identified (that is, the meaning and the intent are clear) but which clearly fall outside the scope of the classification/topic as defined in the standard.

Not stated

This category is only used where a respondent has not given any response to the question asked, that is, it is solely for non-response.


Australian Bureau of Statistics (2006) Census dictionary, 2006 available from

Barnado. Family Homes. Retrieved 8 April ,2008, from

Child, Youth and Family. Family Homes. Retrieved 8 April, 2008, from

Kremarik, F, & Williams, C (2001). Mobile Homes in Canada. Canadian Social Trends, Fall 2001 (62) Catalogue no 11-008. Available from www, .

Office for National Statistics Census 2001 definitions. Available from

Statistics Canada (2006) 2006 Census Dictionary. Available from

United Nations (2008). Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses, (Revision 2,) Brussels.

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