Household Composition (HHCD)

This variable describes the type of household within a dwelling. Household Composition (HHCD) indicates whether or not a family is present on Census Night and whether or not other unrelated household members are present.

In the 2011 Census, data on the household composition of private dwellings is mainly derived from question 5 on the Census Household Form, which asks about each person’s relationship to Person 1 on the form. This data has historically been captured automatically as mark box responses in over 90.0% of cases, with the remainder obtained from written responses to the question.

During the processing of Census data, families and household types are identified and created based around a ‘family or household reference person’, and Household Composition (HHCD) is derived for each dwelling. For many households, identifying relationships to assist the coding of family or household structures for that dwelling is quite straightforward - for example, 23.1% of applicable dwellings counted in the 2011 Census contained a lone person. However, across the community, a wide variety of living arrangements exists and family structures can be complex and dynamic in nature, and so the quality of family data in the Census is partly dependent on people’s ability to describe these relationships within the constraints of the generalised questionnaire format required by a Census. Reporting relationships in respect of Person 1 only, can make it difficult to establish all the relationships which exist in a household, or to identify whether more than one family is living in the dwelling.

In cases where some members of a household are away from home on Census Night, members of the family nucleus (parents or children) and unrelated persons who were temporarily absent on Census Night (and identified as such in question 53 on the Census Household Form) are taken into account when deriving HHCD. This allows for the identification of some family types, and also for distinguishing between lone person and group households.

The 'Other not classifiable' category consists mainly of occupied dwellings where a form was not received and represents 3.4% of applicable dwellings (occupied private dwellings).

For general information on the quality of Census data on relationships, see the Data quality statement for Relationship in Household (RLHP).

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

Question 5 as it appeared on the 2011 Census Household Form

Image of question 5 from the 2011 Census
A text only version of this question is also available

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