2901.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Census Dictionary, 2016  
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2016 Census Dictionary >> Glossary >> Dwelling Type (DWTD)


Dwelling Type (DWTD)

There has been a change in the way this information is collected. In 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.

This variable classifies all dwellings into the basic dwelling types. The categories are:

Occupied Private Dwelling: An occupied private dwelling is a private dwelling occupied by one or more people.

A private dwelling is most often a house or flat. It can also be a caravan, houseboat, tent, or a house attached to an office, or rooms above a shop.

Occupied dwellings in caravan/residential parks or camping grounds are treated as occupied private dwellings. Dwellings in caravan parks in Censuses prior to 1986, were classified as non-private dwellings. This may affect time series comparisons with Censuses prior to 1986 for family and household data.

Dwellings located in caravan/residential parks
or camping grounds can be identified by using the variable Dwelling Location (DLOD).

Unoccupied Private Dwellings: These are structures built specifically for living purposes which are habitable, but unoccupied on Census night. Vacant houses, holiday homes, huts and cabins (other than seasonal workers' quarters) are counted as unoccupied private dwellings. Also included are newly completed dwellings not yet occupied, dwellings which are vacant because they are due for demolition or repair, and dwellings to let.

Unoccupied private dwellings in caravan/residential parks, marinas and manufactured home estates are not counted in the Census. The exception to this is residences of owners, managers or caretakers of the establishment and, from the 2006 Census, unoccupied residences in retirement villages (self-contained).

Non-Private Dwellings (NPDs): NPDs are those dwellings, not included above, that provide a communal or transitory type of accommodation. They are classified according to their function for the variable Type of Non-Private Dwelling (NPDD). NPDs include hotels, motels, guest houses, prisons, religious and charitable institutions, boarding schools, defence establishments, hospitals and other communal dwellings.

People in NPDs are enumerated on personal forms and so information on their family structure is not available. In the case of accommodation for the retired or aged, where the one establishment contains both self-contained units and units that are not self-contained, then both household forms (self-contained) and personal forms (not self-contained) are used as appropriate.


Unoccupied NPDs are not enumerated in the Census, with the exception of residences of owners, managers or caretakers within an NPD.

Migratory: People enumerated on an overnight journey by plane, train or bus cannot be allocated a dwelling type. This category exists for processing purposes only.

Off-Shore: This includes dwellings such as off-shore oil rigs, drilling platforms and the like. Prior to the 2006 Census, it also included people enumerated aboard ships in Australian waters.

Shipping: This dwelling type is for people enumerated aboard ships in Australian waters. For the 2001 and earlier Censuses, they were included in the 'Offshore' category.

See also Dwelling Location (DLOD), Dwelling Structure (STRD), Type of Non-Private Dwelling (NPDD).




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