2901.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Census Dictionary, 2016  
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2016 Census Dictionary >> What's New for 2016?


What's New for 2016?

The 2016 Census will introduce significant changes to the way the Census is conducted, with a move to a "Digital First" approach. About two-thirds of Australians are expected to respond online in 2016, twice the 33% online response in 2011.

In 2016, households in most areas of Australia will, in the first instance, be mailed information which includes a unique login number and instructions on how to complete the Census online. People in these households may request paper forms be mailed to them, if they do not wish to complete the Census online.

In other areas, where it is anticipated there will be a greater need for paper forms, paper forms and a prepaid mail-back envelope will be delivered as the first contact, along with a login number and instructions on how to complete the form online. This change from the traditional drop off and pick up of paper forms by Census Collectors is the most significant change in collection methodology since the first Australian Census. Central to the new approach has been the development of the ABS address register as a frame for this mail-out. Further information about 2016 Census collection operations can be found in Census of Population and Housing: Nature and Content, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 2008.0).

Public consultation confirmed the value of continuing the topics from the 2011 Census, so the topics collected in the 2016 Census will remain the same as those collected in 2011, with only minor changes to the questions. The development of the online questionnaire for 2016 has provided an opportunity to make refinements to gain more accurate data from respondents, while decreasing the burden placed on those filling out the form.

Norfolk Island will be included in the Census for the first time following passage of the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act, 2015. People in Norfolk Island will be able to complete the Census either on a paper form, or online. Amendments to the geographical classification used with the Census, and to some standard classifications relating to cultural diversity, have been made as a consequence of this change.

Data integration will continue to be a central element of the Census in 2016 and is an increasingly important element of the broader ABS work program. This ability will be improved by the decision to retain names and addresses collected in the 2016 Census. For the 2016 Census, the ABS will destroy names and addresses when there is no longer any community benefit to their retention or four years after collection (i.e. August 2020), whichever is earliest. The existing practices and obligations of the ABS will ensure that no information will be released in a way that would enable users of Census data to identify any individual or household. The ABS never has and never will release identifiable Census data.

This chapter outlines changes to classifications for 2016. As the topics included in the Census remained stable between 2011 and 2016, the changes for 2016 mostly reflect revisions to major classifications and routine updating of income and other ranges used in Census questions and/or their output variables. However, six new variables have been added:
  • Housing Suitability (HOSD) and Engagement in Employment, Education and Training (EETP) are derived from existing data items.
  • Status in Employment (SIEMP) replaced Employment Type (EMTP).
  • An imputation flag has been added for the sex variable (IFSEXP).
  • An imputation flag has been added for the place of work variable (IFPOWP).
  • Community Development Programme Participation (CDPP) variable has been added.

In addition, there was a substantial change to the question and output classification for the internet topic (Dwelling Internet Connection (NEDD)), and a move to collecting and outputting specific country of birth information in the Country of Birth of Father (BPMP) and Country of Birth of Mother (BPFP) topics. A change to the format of the Religion question, and the use of targeted supplementary questions in collecting data on occupation and industry of employment, are also worth noting.

The move to a new method of conducting the Census also meant a change to how data on Dwelling Location (DLOD), Dwelling Type (DWTP), Structure of Dwelling (STRD) and Type of Non-Private Dwelling (NPDD), previously recorded by Census collectors, are obtained.

Changes to major ABS classifications are outlined below, followed by a detailed list of variables which have been changed in any way for 2016.

New and revised classifications

It is important for Census data to be comparable and compatible with previous Censuses and also with other data produced by the ABS and the wider community.

The Census uses the current Australian standard classifications where applicable. These are reviewed on an irregular basis to reflect changes in the Australian society. A number of changes have occurred to these classifications since 2011 and these are described below.

Where an Australian standard classification is not available, Census-specific classifications have been developed by the ABS. The categories of these classifications are reviewed prior to each Census. Changes to these classifications are described in the section: Summary of Changes to Variables 2011 - 2016 at the bottom of this page.

Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), Version 1.2

Responses to the occupation related questions in the 2016 Census are classified using the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), version 1.2.

Version 1.2 of ANZSCO was released in 2013 and included a net increase of nine occupations (6-digit units). A small number of changes were made at the next highest level of the classification (the unit group) but these were limited to changes in unit group titles, relevant lead statements and lists of tasks.

For 2016, targeted supplementary questions on occupation have been added to the online Census forms, to improve coding. Common occupation responses from 2011 which were difficult to code to an appropriate level of detail, for example 'nurse', are targeted by these questions. This should result in better quality fine-level data.

For more information see the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), 2013, Version 1.2 (cat. no 1220.0).

Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (Revision 2.0)

Responses to the Industry of employment related questions in the 2016 Census are classified using the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (Revision 2.0). Standard 2016 Census data will be output based on this classification.

The latest revision of ANZSIC was in 2013. No industries were removed or added in this revision. There were some changes such as clarification of definitions and corrections of small errors and omissions.

For 2016, targeted supplementary questions on industry have been added to the online Census forms, to improve coding. Common industry responses from 2011 which were difficult to code to an appropriate level of detail, for example, 'construction' are targeted by these questions. This should result in better quality fine-level data.

For more information see the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (Revision 2.0) (cat. no. 1292.0).

Australian Standard Classification of Cultural and Ethnic Groups (ASCCEG), 2016

Responses to the ancestry question in the 2016 will be classified using the Australian Standard Classification of Cultural and Ethnic Groups (ASCCEG), 2016.

A minor review was conducted in 2016 to maintain the classification's relevance and usability, and to reflect the changes to Australia's cultural and ethnic profile brought about by changing immigration patters. Two new base level cultural and ethnic groups were added: Pitcairn has been introduced due to the inclusion of Norfolk Island in the Australian Census for the first time in 2016, and Yezidi has been added. There were also minor changes to the names of seven 4 digit units. There have been no structural changes in the narrow (2 digit) or broad (1 digit) group level.

For more information see the Australian Standard Classification of Cultural and Ethnic Groups (ASCCEG) (cat. no. 1249.0).

Australian Standard Classification of Languages (ASCL), 2016

The Australian Standard Classification of Languages (ASCL), 2016 is used in the 2016 Census to code responses to the question 'Does the person speak a language other than English at home?'.

A minor review was conducted in 2016 to update the classifications in order to reflect changes to Australia's language profile. As a result three new languages were added. There were also two name changes of existing languages. Pitcairnese was changed to Norf'k-Pitcairn due to the inclusion of Norfolk Island in the Australian Census for the first time and reflecting the terms used on Norfolk Island to refer to this language. Makaton, a sign language, was changed to Key Word Sign Australia, reflecting a change by those who coordinate this language in Australia.

For more information see the Australian Standard Classification of Languages (ASCL), 2016 (cat. no 1267.0).

Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG), 2016

The Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG), 2016 is used in the 2016 Census to code responses to the religion question.

A minor review of the classification in 2016 resulted in some changes to the classification structure and a net increase in the number of religions (4 digit groups) from 137 to 151, a decrease in 3 digit level groups from 30 to 28 and an increase in 2 digit groups from 3 to 7. The areas of greatest change are the Pentecostal narrow group (2 digit group 24), the Other Protestant narrow group (2 digit group 28) and Broad group 7, previously named No religion and now named Secular Beliefs and Other Spiritual Beliefs and No Religious Affiliation.

For more information see the Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG), 2016 (cat. no. 1266.0).

Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2016

The Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), is used in the 2016 Census to code responses to the questions on Country of Birth of Person, Country of Birth of Father and Country of Birth of Mother.

A minor review was conducted in 2016. Revisions to the names of 4 countries resulted, including the shortening of unnecessarily long names.

For more information see the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2016 (cat. no. 1269.0).

Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS)

The 2016 Census will use the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) which was introduced for the 2011 Census. For the 2011 Census, data was also available for Statistical Local Areas (SLAs), the basic unit from the geographic classification used in 2006, to enable time series comparison. This was a transitional arrangement and will not apply in 2016.

Mesh Blocks (MBs) are the base unit of output geography for the ASGS and will aggregate to form the higher level units in the main structure of the ASGS.


In addition to the main structure, the ASGS also includes other structures which are based on legal and administrative areas. Examples are Local Government Areas, State Suburbs and Tourism Regions. In 2011, these areas were approximated using aggregates of SA1s. In 2016, they will be approximated using aggregates of Mesh Blocks, giving greater precision.

For ASGS purposes, the ABS uses the definition of Australia as set out in section 2B of the Acts Interpretation Act, 1901. Following an amendment to this Act, Norfolk Island has been included in the definition of geographic Australia from 1 July 2016. In the ASGS, Norfolk Island comprises a Statistical Area Level 2 under 'Other Territories' at the State/Territory level.

Definitions of all ASGS structures (such as Mesh Block, Statistical Area Level 1, or Local Government Area), and an outline of the ASGS, can be found under Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) in the glossary.

The ABS published the ASGS manual with the boundaries, labels and codes for the Statistical Area units and Capital Cities in July 2016. The Non-ABS structures will be released September 2016 to ensure that the Census is released on the most up to date boundaries available. Urban Centres and Localities, Section of State, Remoteness and Significant Urban Areas will be released after the 2016 Census as they require an analysis of Census data to be developed. The regions defined in the ABS structures will not change until the next Census in 2021, although correspondences will be available.

For further information see the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Areas, July 2016 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001) or refer to the ABS website at www.abs.gov.au/geography.

Summary of changes to variables from 2011 to 2016

This section outlines changes that have been made to variables since the 2011 Census. It includes details of new variables for the 2016 Census and those variables which are no longer included. It describes changes to names, mnemonics and classifications. Further detail for each classification change included is available in the Glossary.

Changes to Census questions designed to improve the data quality of the variables related to them, are also mentioned, except for some minor changes to dot point instructions for questions. Census of Population and Housing: Nature and Content, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 2008.0) has further background on each question and information on enhancements to them.

New and Revised Classifications

Variable
    Description of Change

Age (AGEP)The phrase 'last birthday' has been removed from the question text as it was found to be potentially confusing.

Ancestry (ANCP)Ancestry is classified using the Australian Standard Classification of Cultural and Ethnic Groups (ASCCEG). The ASCCEG was revised before the 2016 Census.

The layout of the ancestry question has changed for the 2016 Census. There are now two distinct areas in which people can write in an ancestry, that is not one of the pick box ancestries. This change is to clarify responses and improve autocoding rates. In previous Censuses, when writing more than one ancestry in a single area, people tended to add marks such as backslashes or hyphens between them, which made the entries fail autocoding and left the intended answer unclear.

Birthplace of Female Parent (BPFP)See 'Country of Birth of Mother (BPFP)'.

Birthplace of Male Parent (BPMP)See 'Country of Birth of Father (BPMP)'.

Birthplace of Parents (BPPP)See 'Country of Birth of Parents (BPPP)'.

Community Development Employment Projects Participation (CDEP)

This variable is not available from the 2016 Census.

Community Development Programme Participation (CDPP)

New for 2016. Indicates whether a person participated in the Community Development Programme (CDP). The question on the CDP is only included on the Interviewer Household Form.

Country of Birth of Father (BPMP)For 2011 BPMP was classified to the categories 'Born in Australia' or 'Born overseas'. For 2016, BPMP is classified to a specific country using the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC). This question has been amended to allow respondents to provide details of the country of birth of their mother and father (where it is not Australia). The question previously had a generic 'overseas' category.

The name of BPMP has changed from 'Birthplace of Male Parent' to 'Country of Birth of Father'.

Country of Birth of Mother (BPFP)For 2011 BPFP was classified to the categories 'Born in Australia' or 'Born overseas'. For 2016, BPFP is classified to a specific country using the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC). This question has been amended to allow respondents to provide details of the country of birth of their mother and father (where it is not Australia). The question previously had a generic 'overseas' category.

The name of BPFP has changed from 'Birthplace of Female Parent' to 'Country of Birth of Mother'.

Country of Birth of Parents (BPPP)Change of name only. BPPP has changed from 'Birthplace of Parents' to 'Country of Birth of Parents'.

Country of Birth of Person (BPLP)Country of Birth is classified using the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC). The SACC was revised before the 2016 Census.

Dwelling Internet Connection (NEDD)The dwelling internet question formerly asked whether the dwelling was connected to the internet and by what type of connection. In 2016, the question has been changed to a simple yes/no question asking 'Does anyone in this household access the internet from this dwelling', with consequent changes to the output categories.

Dwelling Location (DLOD)There has been a change in the way this information is collected for 2016. It was recorded by ABS Address Canvassing Officers in the lead up to the Census as part of establishing the Address Register as a mail-out frame for designated areas. In areas enumerated using the traditional approach of delivering forms, the information was collected by ABS Field Officers during the Census collection period. Location of private dwelling data was also updated as required by ABS Field Officers during the 2016 Census enumeration period.

Dwelling Structure (STRD)Dwelling structure category 91 (Caravan, cabin, houseboat) has been split into two categories for 2016. Category 91 is now 'Caravan' and there is an additional category for 'Cabin, houseboat' (category 92).

There has been a change in the way this information is collected for 2016. It was recorded by ABS Address Canvassing Officers in the lead up to the Census as part of establishing the Address Register as a mail-out frame for designated areas. In areas enumerated using the traditional approach of delivering forms, the information was collected by ABS Field Officers during the Census collection period. Private dwelling structure was also updated as required by ABS Field Officers during the 2016 enumeration period.

Dwelling Type (DWTD)There has been a change in the way this information is collected for 2016. It was recorded by ABS Address Canvassing Officers in the lead up to the Census as part of establishing the Address Register as a mail-out frame for designated areas. In areas enumerated using the traditional approach of delivering forms, the information was collected by ABS Field Officers during the Census collection period. Dwelling type was also updated as required by ABS Field Officers during the 2016 Census enumeration period.

Employment Type (EMTP)EMTP has been discontinued for the 2016 Census. See the new (for 2016) more comprehensive variable Status in Employment (SIEMP).

Engagement in Employment, Education and Training (EETP)New for 2016, this derived item classifies a person's participation in work and/or study as Fully Engaged, Partly Engaged or Not Engaged. Typically, clients would use this data item with AGEP to look at the engagement of an age group of interest, for example, young people.

Equivalised Total Household Income (weekly) (HIED)The categories for equivalised household income in dollar ranges have been revised for the 2016 Census.

Highest year of Schooling Completed (HSCP)A minor change was made to the dot point instruction in the Census question, to clarify that people attending school should mark the last year completed not the current year of study.

Household One Year Mobility Indicator (MV1D)Reference year updated for 2016.

Household Five Year Mobility Indicator (MV5D)Reference year updated for 2016.

Housing Suitability (HOSD)New for 2016, this derived item is a measure of housing utilisation based on a comparison of the number of bedrooms in a dwelling with household demographics such as the number of usual residents, their relationship to each other, age and sex.

Imputation Flag for Number of Males and Females in Dwelling (IFNMFD)The categories for IFNMFD have been revised for the 2016 Census. The 2011 Census had a separate category for 'Not imputed - no form, count obtained by collector'. This category has been removed and the remaining categories renumbered. In 2016, all occupied private dwellings which did not return a form were included in 'Persons imputed into dwelling'.

This change is due to different collection procedures for the 2016 Census. In 2011 (in some instances), ABS Field Officers collected information on the number of males and females in a dwelling, if a dwelling was thought to be occupied but no form was returned (e.g. sourcing information from neighbours). In 2016, the number of males and females in a dwelling was no longer collected as ABS Field Officers did not visit all dwellings.

Imputation Flag for Place of Work (IFPOWP) New for 2016. Provides information on the level of response a person provided to the 'place of work' question.

Imputation Flag for Sex (IFSEXP)New for 2016. Indicates if a person's sex was imputed.

Indigenous Household Indicator (INGDWTD)Wording in category 1 amended from 'Indigenous' to 'Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander'.

Industry of Employment (INDP)For the 2011 Census, Industry was classified to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (Revision 1.0). For the 2016 Census, Industry is classified to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (Revision 2).

Question 42 on the Census Household Form, one of the questions that relate to this variable, changed from a mark box format to a write-in format in 2016.

For 2016, targeted supplementary questions on industry, asking more specialised questions based on the initial response, have been added to the online Census forms, to provide better quality fine-level data. Common industry responses from 2011 which were difficult to code to an appropriate level of detail, for example 'construction', are targeted by these questions.

Labour Force Status (LFSP)A minor change was made to the format of the question about active job seeking to emphasise and clarify the 'active' component. The phrase 'full-time or part-time job of any kind' has been replaced in the question which asks whether a person had a job last week.

In the 2011 Census, participants in the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) were classified as employed. This scheme has since been replaced by the Community Development Programme (CDP). People participating only in this programme are not considered to be employed for the 2016 Census. For further information on this change, see Community Development Programme in the Glossary.

Language Spoken at Home (LANP)In 2011 Language spoken at home was classified to the Australian Standard Classification of Languages (ASCL), Second Edition, Revision 1. This classification was revised before the 2016 Census.

Level of Highest Educational Attainment (HEAP)Categories within the HEAP variable have been re-ordered to align with the Education standard. In particular, non-school qualifications Certificate III and above are listed above Year 12 and Certificates I and II are listed below Year 10.

Number of Children Ever Born (ranges) (TISRP)On the 2011 Census form, the question asked for the number of children ever born to each female aged 15 years or more, with an instruction to include live births only. For the 2016 Census, the instruction to include live births only has been removed due to the sensitivities involved.

Number of Children Ever Born (TISP)On the 2011 Census form, the question asked for the number of children ever born to each female aged 15 years or more, with an instruction to include live births only. For the 2016 Census, the instruction to include live births only has been removed due to the sensitivities involved.

Number of Employees (EMPP)'Not applicable' has the additional category of 'Persons with Status in Employment (SIEMP) not stated'.

For 2016, the question instructions changed so that owner managers are now instructed to exclude themselves from the count of people that they employ.

Occupation (OCCP)For the 2011 Census, Occupation was classified to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), First Edition, Revision 1. For the 2016 Census, Occupation is classified to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), First Edition, Version 1.2.

For 2016, targeted supplementary questions on occupation, asking more specialised questions based on the initial response, have been added to the online Census forms, to provide better quality fine-level data. Common occupation responses from 2011 which were difficult to code to an appropriate level of detail, for example 'nurse', are targeted by these questions.

Minor changes have been made to the dot point instructions for the occupation question in order to update the example responses and also include more specific examples for public servants and managers.

Public/Private Employer Indicator (GNGP)The name of this variable has changed to 'Public/Private Sector (GNGP)'.

Public/Private Sector (GNGP)This variable's name has changed from 'Public/Private Employer Indicator' to 'Public/Private Sector' for 2016.

Religious Affiliation (RELP)Religious affiliation is classified using the Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG). This classification was revised before the 2016 Census.

For 2016 a change was made to the question format, moving No religion to be the first response category. The new question format makes the question more consistent with other questions and the order of their response categories, as well as making it consistent with the approach taken by a number of other countries.

Rent (weekly) Ranges (RNTRD)The categories for rent dollar ranges have been revised for the 2016 Census.

Residential status in a non-private dwellingThe questions on the personal form relating to this classification have been revised to improve clarity and sequencing.

Status in Employment (SIEMP)SIEMP is new for 2016. It is applicable to employed persons and defines their status in employment for the main job held in the week prior to Census night. It replaces Employment Type (EMPT) which provided some of the same data.

Tenure Type (TEND)The descriptor for category 3 of this variable has changed from 'Being purchased under a rent/buy scheme' to 'Being purchased under a shared equity scheme' for the 2016 Census.

Total Family Income as Stated (weekly) (FINASF)The categories for family income in dollar ranges have been revised for the 2016 Census.

Total Family Income (weekly) (FINF)The categories for family income in dollar ranges have been revised for the 2016 Census.

Total Household Income as Stated (weekly) (HINASD)The categories for household income dollar ranges have been revised for the 2016 Census.

Total Household Income (weekly) (HIND)The categories for household income dollar ranges have been revised for the 2016 Census.

Total Personal Income (weekly) (INCP)The categories for personal income dollar ranges have been revised for the 2016 Census.

Type of Non-Private Dwelling (NPDD)There has been a change in the way this information is collected for 2016. It was recorded by ABS Address Canvassing Officers in the lead up to the Census as part of establishing the Address Register as a mail-out frame for designated areas. In areas enumerated using the traditional approach of delivering forms, the information was collected by ABS Field Officers during the Census collection period. Private dwelling structure was also updated as required by ABS Field Officers during the 2016 enumeration period.

Also, on the collection instrument used by ABS Address Canvassing Officers was modified. A separate category Mining camps was added as a subset of the staffing accommodation category.

Usual Address Five Years Ago Indicator (UAI5P)Descriptors with years have been updated for 2016.

Usual Address Indicator Census Night (UAICP)Descriptors with years have been updated for 2016.

Usual Address One Year Ago Indicator (UAI1P)Descriptors with years have been updated for 2016.

Year of Arrival in Australia (ranges) (YARRP)Year ranges have been updated for the 2016 Census.

Year of Arrival in Australia (YARP)Year ranges have been updated for the 2016 Census.



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