2900.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Understanding the Census and Census Data, Australia , 2016  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/06/2017  First Issue
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Place of Usual Residence (PURP, IFPURP)

Place of Usual Residence records the geographic area where a person usually lives. This variable is applicable to all persons excluding Overseas Visitors.

How this variable is created

For the 93.9% of persons who were at home on Census Night, Place of Usual Residence is automatically derived from their Place of Enumeration. A further 1.3% of persons usually lived overseas, and their Place of Usual Residence is therefore coded as such. For the 4.8% of persons who lived elsewhere in Australia, the address details provided on the form were coded to a Mesh Block (MB) using automatic or clerical processes.

When an incomplete address of usual residence is given, the Place of Usual residence is imputed at different geographic levels according to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).

The variable Imputation Flag for Place of Usual Residence indicates the geographic level at which imputation is required. The imputation rate at the Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2) geographic level was 5.3% in 2016 (3.8% in 2011), and the imputation rate at the Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1) geographic level was 5.4% in 2016 (3.9% in 2011).

The majority of cases where Place of Usual residence was imputed are attributable to persons that either did not return a form or returned a form but did not provide any usual address information. A smaller proportion provided address information that was not able to be coded to an Statistical Area Level 1, but was able to be coded to a higher geographic level. For more information about imputation, see the 2016 Census Dictionary Glossary for Derivation and imputations.

Variable history

Prior to the 1961 Census, questions did not differentiate between Place of Enumeration and Place of Usual Residence.

A question relating to Place of Usual Residence was first asked in the 1971 Census and has been asked at every census since then.

Non-response rate

Non-response rate only applies to data items that directly reflect responses to individual Census form questions.

Place of Usual Residence does not have a non-response rate as there is no separate 'not stated' category in the classification.

For more information, refer to Understanding Census data quality.

Data usage notes

The technical definition of usual residence refers to the address at which a person lives or intends to live for six months or more. Persons visiting Australia from another country for less than one year are considered overseas visitors. However, the data are self-reported and in some cases, the address that is reported may be that which respondents consider their 'usual address' rather than necessary meeting the technical definition.

Place of Usual Residence is a hierarchical classification, ranging from the broadest geographic level (Australia), to the finest level (Statistical Area Level 1). The categories in this variable have changed to reflect the updated Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) used for the 2016 Census. Provision is also made for persons who indicate that they have no usual place of residence.

The variable Imputation Flag for Place of Usual Residence (IFPURP) indicates if a person's place of usual residence was imputed in the Census, and to what level. There are four categories:

01 Not imputed - State/territory, SA2 and SA1 stated
02 SA1 imputed - State/territory and SA2 stated
03 SA2 and SA1 imputed - State/territory and/or Capital City provided
04 State/territory, SA2 and SA1 imputed


Prior to 2016, usual address information for persons staying in a non-private dwelling (hotel, hospitals) on Census night was recorded on a Summary form by a Census Field Officer. In 2016, under the new enumeration method, usual address information was no longer collected during the non-private dwelling enumeration process. If a form was not returned by a respondent in a non-private dwelling, then usual address information was imputed during processing.

Further information

A definition of Place of Usual Residence is available in the 2016 Census Dictionary.

For information on variables related to Place of Usual Residence, see UAICP (Usual Address Indicator Census Night).
For more information on the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) and it's recent updates, please refer to the ABS Geography page.

Household form question image

Question 8 as it appeared on the 2016 Census Household Paper Form:

Image: 2016 Household Paper Form - Question 8. Where does the person usually live?

A text only version of the online Census Household form is available from the Downloads tab.