The Fact Sheets are designed to provide a quick reference for basic enquiries and information. Fact Sheets are published on an ad hoc basis in response to issues that arise during and after the publication of census data.
Examples of Fact Sheets expected to be produced are as follows:
- 1996 & 1991 Census Mnemonics;
- Changes to variables: 1991 to 1996;
- Changes to geographic areas between censuses; and
- Confidentiality in output.
A family is defined by the ABS as: two or more persons, one of whom is at least 15 years of age, who are related by blood, marriage (registered or de facto), adoption, step or fostering, and who are usually resident in the same household.
The basis of a family is formed by identifying the presence of either a couple relationship, lone parent-child relationship or other blood relationship. Some households therefore, contain more than one family.
Non-related persons living in the same household are not counted as family members (unless under 15 years of age).
Other related individuals (individual brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles) may be present in the household. If more than one family is present these people can only be associated with the primary family.
Visiting families are not coded; and the relationships of other visitors are not coded. A household containing only a visiting family (e.g. a family at a holiday home) is coded to a household type of visitors only.
Family Relationships: Family relationships are derived from two questions on the 1996 Household Form (see Appendix A). Question 5 asked each person his/her relationship to Person 1/Person 2. Question 41 asked for usual household members who were temporarily absent on census night, and their relationship to Person 1. Coding of family structure is done using these answers. If Person 1 is not the most appropriate family reference person, coders assign the reference person based on age, marital status and relationship considerations.
Once a suitable family reference person is established for a family, all people identified within the family unit are allocated family relationship codes, and family type determined. A family reference person must be resident in the household on census night (i.e. listed in the main body of the census form, not in the part for temporary absentees), and over the age of 15 years. For multiple family households, there is a reference person for each family; the reference person for the primary family is defined as the household reference person.
Where all persons present are under 15, or where information for all the persons has been imputed, the household is deemed not classifiable to family classifications. Of people listed in response to persons temporarily absent question, only spouse(s) and family children are used in coding family type. It is possible, for example, to form a family unit from a reference person who was the only person present in the household on census night, but where a spouse and/or dependent family children listed in response to persons temporarily absent question
An important note here is that people listed in response to persons temporarily absent question are considered in family and household coding only. Characteristics of these people are not available at the household of usual residence. Such people may have been enumerated elsewhere in Australia but there is no way of linking their census information back to their usual residence.
If relationships are not adequately stated by respondents, the family structure is derived where possible during processing from other responses such as name, usual residence and marital status.
Relationships between multiple families: Up to three families can be coded in one household: the primary family (usually the first listed on the census form, or the one with dependent children), and up to two others, called collectively secondary families, and individually second and third families.
The relationship between the families is coded by the variable Relationship Between Families (FRLF). If more than three families are found in a household, three families are separately classified and any other(s) are classified as either related family members or non-family members as appropriate.
It can be useful to tabulate primary families only, or look at relationships between families. Family Number (FNOF), indicates whether the family is a primary or other family, and FRLF details the relationship between the second and primary families, or the third and primary families.
Family variables: The basic family classification is Family Type (FMTF). This variable classifies families into different types. When classifying families into different types, information about temporarily absent family members is used. Other family variables available are:
- Count of Children Under 15 Temporarily Absent (CDCAF);
- Count of Dependent Students (15-24) Temporarily Absent (CDSAF);
- Count of Non-Dependent Children Temporarily Absent (CNDAF); and
See also Child, Family\Household Reference Person Indicator (RPIP), Family Type (FMTF), Indigenous Family.
- Location of Spouse (SPLF).
See Family Type (FMTF).
Family/Household Reference Person Indicator (RPIP)
The ABS recognises that in many households there is no one person who can really be referred to as a 'reference person' because the task of running or heading the household is often a shared task. However, questionnaire testing has produced no better method of sorting out relationships in a household than seeking 'relationship to Person 1'. This variable is of limited statistical value but has been included for use in population and dwelling projection models.
The family/household reference person indicator identifies the household member who forms a relationship with other members of the household. This person is then used as the basis for determining the familial relationships between the usual residents of the household. Familial relationships are defined in terms of the relationship between all other family members and the family reference person.
All people are asked to state their relationship to Person 1. If Person 1 is not the most appropriate reference person, coders assign the family reference person based on age, marital status and relationship considerations. For multiple family households, there is a family reference person for each family; the reference person for the primary family is then defined as the household reference person.
For group households, and households containing only visitors, a reference person is arbitrarily assigned. A reference person must be resident in the household on census night, i.e. listed in the main body of the census form, not as a person temporarily absent.
A family reference person must be over the age of 14 years. In the case where only children under 15 years of age are present in a household on census night, the household is coded to the category not classifiable for which information for all the persons has been imputed. This is done as it is difficult to add a parentless family category throughout the family and household classifications. The number of such cases is small.
In multi-family households the identification of a family reference person allows each family living in a common household to be treated as a separate entity for the purpose of coding. This person could be any adult in the household, is not necessarily Person 1 from the form, and may not be a wage or salary earner.
See also Household, Relationship in Household (RLHP).
Family Income (FINF)
Family Income is not applicable to non-family households such as group household or lone person households; or to people in non-private dwellings.
The standard census multiple income classifications Family Income (FINF) and Household Income (HIND) are designed to satisfy a broad range of census requirements. It is a simple matter for the ABS to generate other multiple income classifications as required.
Household and family incomes are derived by summing the personal incomes. For the 1996 Census, median incomes derived from the continuous Survey of Income and Housing, scaled up to 1996 incomes, are used to estimate the average income within each census income bracket, to improve the accuracy of the calculations.
In the Family Income (FINF) variable there are two categories additional to the Personal Income (INCP) variable. These are: 'Partial Income Stated' and 'All Incomes Not Stated'.
The first category is used when family members are temporarily absent or any non-dependent family member has a negative or not stated income.
The second category is used when no member of the family has stated their income.
See also Family Income Derivation Indicator (FIDF), Household Income (HIND), Income (INCP), Median Income.
Family Income Derivation Indicator (FIDF)
This variable allows Family Income (FINF) to be derived under different circumstances other than as described in family income. The different circumstances in a family are categorised in this derived variable. This variable applies to families in family households.
Family income is calculated by adding the individual weekly incomes reported by all family members. If any family member is temporarily absent, or any non-dependant family member has negative or not stated income, family income is calculated and this condition indicated by the variable Family Income Derivation Indicator (FIDF).
The following conditions are identified:
- no members aged 15+ temporarily absent and all incomes stated and no negative incomes stated;
- no members aged 15+ temporarily absent and one or more negative incomes stated;
- no members aged 15+ temporarily absent and one or more incomes not stated and no negative incomes stated;
- no members aged 15+ temporarily absent and one or more incomes not stated and one or more negative incomes stated;
- one or more members aged 15+ temporarily absent but incomes stated for all members present and no negative incomes stated;
- one or more members aged 15+ temporarily absent but incomes stated for all members present and one or more negative incomes stated;
- one or more members aged 15+ temporarily absent and one or more incomes of members present not stated and no negative incomes stated; and
See also Family Income (FINF), Income (INCP).
Family Members Temporarily Absent
- one or more members aged 15+ temporarily absent and one or more incomes of members present not stated and one or more negative incomes stated.
See Temporarily Absent.
Family Number (FNOF)
This variable indicates whether the family is the primary, second or third family in a household. Families in one family households are always classified as primary families.
See also Family Type (FMTF).
Family Reference Person
See Family, Family/Household Reference Person Indicator (RPIP), Household.
Family Type (FMTF)
Families are classified in terms of the relationships that exist between a single family reference person and each other member of that family. The Family Type (FMTF) variable distinguishes between different types of families based on the presence or absence of couple relationships, parent-child relationships, child dependency relationships or other blood relationships, in that order of preference.
For a full list of categories see the Family Type (FMTF) entry in Section 1 - 1996 Census Classifications.
Family Type (FMTF) is derived from people enumerated in the household who usually reside in the household (excluding boarders and other non-family members) on census night, and partners and dependent children usually present but temporarily absent.
For the 1996 Census, Family Type (FMTF) relates only to the basic composition of the family. Family Type (FMTF) is the principal family variable used in family tabulations. When cross-classified with other variables, such as Location of Spouse (SPLF), Tenure Type (TEND), Dwelling Structure (STRD), Family Number (FNOF) and Family Income (FINF), demographic characteristics of the different family compositions can be established.
Note: There is no provision for 'other related individuals' in second and third families.
If more than three families are found in a household, only three families are separately classified and any others are classified as either related family members or non-family members as appropriate.
See also Family, Relationship Between Families.
Family variables available for the 1996 Census are:
Other variables can be derived using the above variables as a base. If you would like more information, please contact the Client Services Section for your State/Territory, as listed in the back of this publication.
Count of Children Under 15 Temporarily Absent
Count of Dependent Students (15-24) Temporarily Absent
Count of Non-Dependent Children Temporarily Absent
Family Income Derivation Indicator
Relationship Between Families
Features (components of digital base map data)
See Digital Base Map.
See Census Collection Management Areas.
Field Group Area (FGA)
See Census Collection Management Areas.
Field Management Area (FMA)
See Census Collection Management Areas.
Field of Study
Filtering (associated with digital spatial data)
See Reduction (associated with digital geographic information).
First Release Data
First release data are the first part of a two-phase processing, output and dissemination strategy for the 1996 Census.
Variables available for first release are:
Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Origin
Birthplace of Mother (Female Parent)
Birthplace of Father (Male Parent)
Registered Marital Status
Relationship in Non-Private Dwelling
SLA of Usual Residence Census Night
State of Usual Residence Census Night
Full/Part-Time Student Status
Number of Children Ever Born
Type of Educational Institution Attending
Usual Address Indicator Census Night
Year of Arrival in Australia
Census data for these variables are available in the first release of the Basic Community Profiles.
See also Data Release, Second release data.
Number of Bedrooms in Private Dwelling
Housing Loan Repayment (Monthly)
Housing Loan Repayment (Monthly)
Type of Non-Private Dwelling
See Dwelling Structure (STRD).
See Census Collection Management Areas.
A foster child is a person who lives with a person or persons who are not his/her natural, adoptive or step parent(s). The definition of foster child includes dependent and non-dependent children. If the foster child is no longer dependent, but still regards his/her relationship with appropriate members of the household, as a parent-child relationship, then he/she is coded as a foster child.
Operationally, a person is considered a foster child if the response 'foster' is given for that person, regardless of the individual's dependency status.
Previous ABS definitions of foster child have included a wider range of relationships, including formal and informal fostering. For example, the foster child may have been formally placed within the family by State family services, or the child may have formed a parent-child relationship through either of two dependency criteria. The current definition includes only formal fostering, as measured by the response given in the relationship question.
See also Child, Dependent Children.
Full/Part-Time Student (STUP)
This variable is used to determine the number of full-time and part-time students.
See also Type of Educational Institution Attending (TYPP).
This variable indicates whether rented occupied private dwellings are furnished, partly furnished or unfurnished by the landlord.
See also Dwelling, Tenure Type (TEND).
This page last updated 20 January 2006