Dwelling Type (DWTD)

This question has been asked in every Census. For the last two Censuses this variable has been moved from the Census Household Form itself to the Collector Record Book. Further information on Census Topics 1911–2011, can be found in How Australia Takes a Census (cat. no. 2903.0).

Dwelling Type (DWTD) 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. Prior to the 2006 Census, people enumerated aboard ships in Australian waters were included in the Off-shore category.

Collectors sometimes find it difficult to determine whether private dwellings are occupied or unoccupied on Census Night, and are not always able to make the distinction. Where contact is not made with a dwelling, provision is made for the householder to notify the ABS if their dwelling was in fact unoccupied on Census Night. Where the Collector is not able to determine occupancy and there is no other information received, then the dwelling will be treated as occupied. Improved identification of unoccupied private dwellings compared to 2006 may account for some of the changes in this data item.

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 (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. More information is available from the data quality statement for Type of Non-Private Dwelling (NPDD).

For both 2006 and 2011 people enumerated in 'dwellings' such as off-shore rigs and drilling platforms off Northern Australia are enumerated and processed in the Western Australia Off-shore category.

While overall the data for Dwelling Type (DWTD) should not be significantly affected by these issues, some caution should be exercised when using this variable for small populations.

More information on DWTD is available in the 2011 Census Dictionary (cat. no. 2901.0).

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