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2901.0 - Census Dictionary, 2001  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/04/2001   
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Contents >> Definitions >> Usual residence - Glossary

Usual residence

Usual residence data provide information on the usually resident population of an area, and on the internal migration patterns at the State and regional levels. The 2001 Census has three questions on usual residence that ask where the person usually lives on Census Night, and where the person usually lived one year ago, and five years ago.

In 1996, 'usual residence' was defined in the Question 7 notes as:

  • that address at which the person has lived or intends to live for a total of 6 months or more in 1996;
  • for people who now have no usual address, write no usual address; and
  • for boarders at boarding school or college, give the address of the school or college.

For 2001 an additional note was included, 'For persons who usually live in another country and who are visiting Australia for less than one year, mark Other country'.

The information acquired from the answers to the usual residence questions is recorded in the variable Postal Area of Usual Address Census Night (POCUCP), and in the usual residence indicator variables:

  • Usual Address Indicator Census Night (UAICP)
  • Usual Address One Year Ago Indicator (UAI1P)
  • Usual Address Five Years Ago Indicator (UAI5P)

Use of usual residence indicators, in conjunction with the other variables relating to usual residence, make it possible to identify the pattern of net movement of people between three dates, i.e. Census Night, one year ago and five years ago.

For the 2001 Census there have been some changes to editing and processing procedures for the variables UAI1P and UAI5P. These changes will address minor data quality issues identified from the 1996 Census, which affected less than one percent of the population. Further information is available from the Census Fact Sheet on Usual Residence, or by contacting Information Consultancy.

For the 2001 Census, usual residence data are available at Collection District (CD) level. However, where the respondent has provided insufficient address information, the SLA will be imputed as in the past, but the CD will not be imputed.

The following usual residence variables are available:


  • CD of Usual Residence Census Night (CDUCP)
  • SLA of Usual Residence Census Night (SLAUCP)
  • SLA of Usual Residence One Year Ago (SLAU1P)
  • SLA of Usual Residence Five Years Ago (SLAU5P)
  • State of Usual Residence Census Night (STEUCP)
  • State of Usual Residence One Year Ago (STEU1P)
  • State of Usual Residence Five Years Ago (STEU5P).

(State is necessary to delimit Statistical Local Area (SLA) because the SLA code is not unique across Australia.)

Most respondents enumerated at a place other than their usual residence provide sufficient information for their usual residence to be coded to a CD. However, in some cases a code of 'State undefined' or 'Capital City undefined' must be allocated and in some cases no response is given.

If there is inadequate information to allocate a code for usual residence, the CD of a parent (if the person is under 15) or spouse (if the person is 15 or older) is allocated. This is presuming a parent or spouse is recorded on the census form with their usual residence details completed.

A number of people were enumerated on board vessels in or between Australian ports (or on long-distance trains, buses or aircraft) on Census Night. If they give an address in Australia as their usual residence, they are coded to the CD containing that address. A small number indicated that they were usually resident at the address at which they were enumerated. They were allocated a separate usual residence code describing them as Migratory.

If no adequate response is given for usual residence for persons enumerated in Non-Private Dwellings (e.g. hotels, motels, hospitals) the SLA is imputed using population distribution patterns from the 1996 Census. Similar imputation is done for visitors in private dwellings.

If no code can be allocated for SLA of usual residence one or five years ago, a code of Not Stated is given. The only exceptions to this are where the person is 16 or younger (for usual residence one year ago) or 20 years or younger (for usual residence five years ago) and there is a parent present with the appropriate SLA coded. The SLA code of the parent is then allocated to the person.

Family variables are only derived for people counted at their usual residence. Temporarily absent persons are used to classify types of relationships and families existing in a household, but they are not used in the derivation of any other census characteristics or in other census output. If all members of a family are absent from their usual residence, no family records are created for them. Family and household structures are based on persons usually resident. If all members of a family or household are temporarily absent, the family or household is not counted.

Usual Residence data are used by the ABS in calculations of the Estimated Resident Population. See also Census counts, Migratory collection district, Place of usual residence, Temporarily absent, Visitors to a household.

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