Family/Household Reference Person Indicator (RPIP)
The Family/Household Reference Person Indicator (RPIP) identifies the household member used in Census coding as the starting point for identifying the relationships between usual residents of a household. Familial relationships are defined in terms of the relationship between the family reference person and all other family members.
This variable has limited statistical value but is included for use in population and dwelling projection models.
On the Census form, people are asked to state their relationship to Person 1. If suitable, Person 1 will then be used as the basis for coding family and relationship details. If Person 1 is not the most appropriate reference person, coders assign a reference person based on age, marital status and relationship considerations. A reference person must be a usual resident of the dwelling aged 15 years and over, and also present on Census Night i.e. not temporarily absent.
In multiple family households, there is a reference person for each family. The reference person for the primary family is usually defined as the household reference person. The identification of a family reference person allows each family within a dwelling to be treated as a separate entity for tabulation purposes.
For group households, the first person on the form who meets the above criteria will become the reference person. For visitor only households and households with no person present aged 15 years and over, the household is considered 'non-classifiable' and no reference person is assigned.
Questionnaire testing conducted by the ABS has found no better method of identifying relationships in a household than seeking 'relationship to Person 1'.
See also Household, Primary family, Relationship in Household (RLHP).