2900.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Understanding the Census and Census Data, Australia , 2016  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/11/2017  First Issue
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Dwelling Type (DWTD)

Dwelling Type distinguishes between occupied and unoccupied private dwellings, and other types of dwellings such as non-private dwellings and those in Migratory, Off-shore and Shipping areas.This variable is applicable to all dwellings in scope of the Census. Unoccupied dwellings in caravan/residential parks, camping grounds, marinas and manufactured home estates are not in scope of the Census, with the exception of unoccupied residences of managers/caretakers of such establishments.

How this variable is created

Dwelling Type was determined by ABS Field Officers and was collected either prior to or during the Census collection period. It may also have been updated during the Census collection phase. Where contact was not made with a dwelling and no Census form was completed for the household online, provision was made for the householder to notify the ABS if their dwelling was unoccupied on Census Night. Where no other information was received the dwelling was treated as occupied.

Determining whether a private dwelling is occupied or unoccupied was a mandatory question during collection for the ABS Field Officer during the approach phase in mail out areas, and during visit phase for all non-responding dwellings in the 2016 Census. The ABS Field Officers were provided with a list of occupancy determination reasons to choose from, and depending on the category chosen and the period of collection the field officer was in (either approach or visit), the final dwelling occupancy could be made with no further follow up required. If an ABS Field Officer was undecided on the occupancy of the dwelling, they were able to select 'looks occupied' or 'looks unoccupied', and they then provided a mandatory comment on why they chose either of these outcomes. These comments then assisted processing to determine the final occupancy status.

Variable history

This question has been asked in every Census. Since 2006 this variable has been collected by ABS Field Officers rather than as part of the Census Household Form. From 2006 onwards dwellings such as off-shore rigs and drilling platforms off Northern Australia have been enumerated and processed in the Western Australia Off-shore category. Since the 2006 Census unoccupied dwellings in retirement villages (self-contained) have been coded to unoccupied private dwelling. No changes were made in 2016.

Non-response rate

There is no non-response for the Dwelling Type data item as it is determined and recorded by the ABS.

Data usage notes

In some cases, it can be difficult to determine whether dwellings are private (PDs) or non-private (NPDs). For example, blocks of self contained apartments or units may provide a mix of short term hotel-style accommodation (i.e. an NPD) or long term apartment (normally PDs) accommodation. Similarly, establishments providing accommodation for the retired or aged may provide self contained accommodation (PDs), accommodation with communal facilities (a feature of NPDs), or both. In addition, certain types of dwellings such as group homes for the disabled or convents/monasteries (nominally non-private dwellings) may not be easily identifiable as such and may therefore be treated as private dwellings. In some cases Census Field Officers may have had difficulty distinguishing between unoccupied dwellings and other locations which are not considered dwellings for the census such as non-residential premises and construction sites. After the 2016 enumeration period additional work was conducted to identify and correct instances of incorrect Dwelling Type classifications.

Further information

A definition of Dwelling Type is available in the 2016 Census Dictionary.