2901.0 - Census Dictionary, 1996  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/07/1996   
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See Caravans.

Candata Pty Ltd

One of the contractors involved in the preparation of digital geographic information used in the 1996 Census.

Capital City Statistical Division

Capital City Statistical Divisions are predominantly urban in character and the boundaries are delineated to contain the anticipated urban development of the capital cities (and associated urban centres) for a period of at least twenty years.

See also Statistical Division, Major Statistical Region.

Caravans, houseboats, etc.

Enumeration of people in caravans, houseboats etc. varies depending on where the caravan is located: in caravan parks/marinas etc. on residential allotments or on roadsides/open land.

Unoccupied caravans and boats/craft, regardless of location, are not counted in the Census.

Managers' residences in caravan parks or marinas are enumerated and classified as separate private dwellings.

In the 1996 Census, occupied caravans or cabins (Dwelling Structure (STRD)) in caravan parks (Dwelling Location (DLOD)), are treated as occupied private dwellings (Dwelling Type (DTWD)), i.e. families are identified and coded.

In the 1996 Census, Tenure Type (TEND) and associated variables are available. In 1991, the Nature of Occupancy (NOCD) classification was used but did not provide for the case where a dwelling is being purchased but rent is also being paid for a site. In most cases in caravan parks, the site is rented but the caravan may be owned or being purchased. In processing the 1991 Census, if a caravan in a park was reported as being both rented and owned (or being purchased), then the rent information was ignored and only the purchasing information was coded.

Caravans on Residential Allotments: An occupied caravan on a residential allotment, as a sole structure, is treated as an occupied private dwelling.

A caravan on a residential allotment with one or more other structures may be treated as a separate private dwelling (counted), or an extension of another structure (not counted).

The caravan is treated as a separate private dwelling if it is occupied by a separate household (a person or people who do not live or eat with the occupants of the main dwelling). In this case a separate Household Form is issued for the caravan.

The caravan is not counted if it is occupied by a person or people who live and eat with the occupants of the main dwelling (all one household). In this case, the caravan is counted as an additional room of the main dwelling. It is therefore not possible to count the caravan in the backyard if its occupants are included on the census form with the occupants of the main dwelling.

Roadsides/Open Land: People in caravans at roadside parking areas or on open land are regarded as sleepers-out. Occupants receive Household Forms, and are counted under the Dwelling Structure (STRD) category for sleepers-out.

Marinas: Included in this category are occupied craft in marinas. Occupied boats, houseboats, etc. are all included. The only exceptions are owners, managers or caretakers residences within the marina. Such residences are treated as separate private dwellings and issued a separate Household Form.

See also Dwelling, Dwelling Location (DLOD), Dwelling Structure (STRD), Dwelling Type (DWTD), Household, Manufactured Home Estates.


See Collection District.

CD code

See Collection District.


CDATA96 offers ABS clients a package of 1996 Census digital boundaries and 1996 Census Basic Community Profile data integrated with software which facilitates the manipulation of both digital geographic data and statistical data. The 1996 Digital ABS/PSMA Base Map is an optional extra. CDATA96 is a CD ROM based product that packages both the software and data on to CD ROM. The software selected for CDATA96 is MapInfo for Windows and the product runs within Microsoft Windows 32 bit operating systems (Windows 95 and Windows NT). The digital geographic and statistical data included in CDATA96 can cover either the whole of Australia or individual States/Territories.

CDATA96 continues the product line from the CDATA86 and CDATA91 products. CDATA is widely used by government, retailers, advertisers, market researchers, libraries, charities, town planners, financial institutions, and others who need a powerful community profiling tool. Areas of use include site location, market penetration, regional profiling and sales territory definition.

CDATA96 is released in two stages, designed to ensure that data are available to CDATA clients as soon as possible after census data release (which is also two-staged).

See also Digital Boundaries, Digital Base Map Data, Community Profiles

CD-Derived Postal Areas (POC)

See Postcode.


See Collection District Record Database.


See Electoral Division.


The Australian Census of Population and Housing is an official count of population and dwellings, and collects details of age, sex, and other characteristics of that population. The 1996 Census is the 13th national census for Australia.

The 1991 and 1996 Censuses were held on the 6th of August; since 1933 Australian censuses had been held on 30 June of the census year. The change in 1991 was necessary because of the changes in school holiday dates in the majority of States and Territories. Traditionally, school holiday times are periods of high mobility for the population and the data collected would not be representative of the usual situation.

Census statistics are used as the basis for estimating the population at the national, State and local government levels, for electoral purposes and the distribution of government funds. They are used by individuals and organisations, in the public and private sectors, for planning, administration, research, and decision making.

One of the important features of the Census is that it allows different characteristics of an individual, family or household to be related. While information on some characteristics is available from other sources, only a census can provide information on a standard basis for the country as a whole, as well as for small geographic areas and small population groups.

Population counts in Australia were initially just head counts called 'musters'. These were important as a means of determining requirements for food and other supplies. The first muster was taken in 1788. The first regular census was taken in New South Wales in 1828. With Federation, census taking became the responsibility of the Commonwealth Government.

For more information see How Australia Takes a Census (Cat. no. 2903.0) and the Information Paper: 1996 Census - Nature and Content (Cat. no. 2008.0).

Census Collection District

See Collection District.

Census Collection Management Areas

There are two levels of collection management areas: Field Management Areas (FMAs), which are equivalent to Census Divisions in previous censuses; and Field Group Areas (FGAs), which are equivalent to Census Subdivisions from previous censuses.

FMAs and FGAs are used only for census collection purposes, and are not useful in statistical analysis.

FMAs are administrative units designed for the distribution and collection of census forms. They generally consist of whole local government areas (LGA).

For census administrative purposes, FMAs are divided into FGAs. These are designed to group together about 10 to 12 collection districts (CDs).

Census consultancy service

See Client services.

Census Count Place of Enumeration

The population count for place of enumeration is a count of every person, who spent census night in Australia, based on where he/she was counted; including people on board vessels in or between Australian ports, or on long-distance trains, buses or aircraft. (This count is also known as a de facto population count.)

People were counted where they spent census night, which may not be where they usually live. The count of people based on place of usual residence is known as the place of usual residence count. (This count is also known as the de jure population count.)

People entering Australia from overseas before midnight on census night were counted where they stayed on census night. Visitors to Australia were counted regardless of how long they had been in the country or how long they planned to stay. Australian residents in Antarctica were also within the scope of the Census.

People leaving an Australian port for an overseas destination before midnight on census night were not counted in the Census. Australian residents out of the country on census night, and overseas diplomatic personnel and their families in Australia were out of the scope of the Census.

This type of count provides a snapshot in any given area. Although the Census is timed to attempt to capture the typical situation, holiday resort areas, such as the Gold Coast, may show a large enumeration count compared with the usual residence count.

Census counts based on place of enumeration can be provided for individual Collection Districts (CDs), any aggregations of CDs, and postcodes.

The variables Family Type (FMTF) and Household Type (HHTD) are coded on a usual residence rather than place of enumeration basis. All visitors to dwellings are excluded when coding these variables and usual residents who are reported as 'temporarily absent' are included in the coding of Family Type (FMTF).

See also Australia, Collection District, Family, Household, Visitors to Australia, 1996 Census - ABS Views on Content and Procedures (2007.0).

Census Count Place of Usual Residence

This is a count of all people within the scope of the Census on the basis of where they usually live, rather than where they were on census night. Each person is required to state his/her address of usual residence in Question 7. (This count is also known as the de jure population count.)

The Statistical Local Area (SLA) in which each person usually resides is coded. Characteristics of individuals are available at this level and for aggregations of SLAs. Usual residence counts are not available for Collection Districts (CDs) or dwellings.

Census counts compiled on this basis are less likely to be influenced by seasonal factors such as school holidays and snow seasons, and provide information about the usual residents of an area.

Most respondents who are enumerated at a place other than their usual residence provide sufficient information for a SLA code to be allocated for their usual residence. However, in some cases a code of 'State Undefined' or 'Capital City Undefined' must be allocated, and in some cases no response is given.

In cases where an inadequate response (or no response) is given for some family members for the current usual residence (Question 7), the children are given the same code as their mother or father. Similarly, spouses are given the code determined for their partner.

If no adequate response is given for current usual residence for persons enumerated in hotels and motels, the SLA of Usual Residence Census Night (SLAUCP) is imputed to a SLA other than the SLA of enumeration, as hotels and motels are likely to contain non-permanent residents from interstate. Similarly, for people enumerated as patients in hospitals who did not give an adequate response to the SLA of usual residence question, the SLA of Usual Residence Census Night (SLAUCP) is imputed to a SLA other than the SLA of enumeration, as patients are unlikely to live in the same SLA as the hospital is located.

In other cases of non-response, the SLA of Usual Residence Census Night (SLAUCP) is assumed to be the SLA of enumeration where the respondent is NOT a visitor. Where the respondent is a visitor, State, SLA and Postcode of Usual Residence Census Night (STEUCP, SLAUCP and POCUCP) are imputed using population distribution pattern from the 1991 Census.

Census usual residence counts form the basis of the Estimated Resident Population (ERP).

The variables Family Type (FMTF) and Household Type (HHTD) are coded on a usual residence rather than place of enumeration basis. All visitors to dwellings are excluded when coding these variables and usual residents who are reported as 'temporarily absent' are included in the coding of Family Type (FMTF).

See also Family, Household, Statistical Local Area, Usual Residence, Visitors to Australia.

Census counts

The Census enumerates people where they were located on census night. Most products from the Census provide characteristics of people in the area in which they were enumerated.

Question 7 on the census form asks for each person's place of usual residence. The addresses provided are coded to Statistical Local Area (SLA) and postcode. This means that census counts of the usually resident population of an area can be produced at SLA level or above (see ASGC entry) or postcodes.

People away from their usual residence on census night are not coded back to their dwelling of usual residence so it is not possible to obtain dwelling data on a usual residence basis.

The standard person counts available from the ABS are census counts by place of enumeration:

      • including overseas visitors (for Age (AGEP), Sex (SEXP), Registered Marital Status (MSTP) and State and SLA of Usual Residence Census Night (STEUCP, SLAUCP));
      • excluding overseas visitors (for all other person variables);
      • excluding Australians overseas; and
      • excluding adjustment for underenumeration.

The variables Family Type (FMTF) and Household Type (HHTD) are coded on a usual residence rather than place of enumeration basis. All visitors to dwellings are excluded when coding these variables and usual residents who are reported as 'temporarily absent' are included in the coding of Family Type (FMTF).

Census data are also available on a place of usual residence basis.

Census counts by place of usual residence:
      • exclude overseas visitors;
      • exclude Australians overseas; and
      • exclude adjustment for underenumeration.

Estimated Resident Population publications based on the 1996 Census provide population estimates for 30 June 1996, which are adjusted to:
      • exclude overseas visitors;
      • include estimates of Australians overseas;
      • include adjustment of estimated underenumeration; and
      • include adjustments for births, deaths and migration between 30 June and 6 August.

These estimates are only available for SLAs and for a very limited range of characteristics. The counts are updated annually.

While every effort is made to achieve a complete census count, some undercounting inevitably occurs for various reasons, for example, the inadvertent omission of very young children, treatment of some dwellings as unoccupied when in fact they are occupied, and failure to find all dwellings. Refusal by householders to complete the census form is not a significant cause of under-counting.

See also Census Count Place of Enumeration, Census Count Place of Usual Residence, Counts of..., Estimated Resident Population, Family, Household, Postcode, Undercounting and/or Underenumeration.

Census date

See Date of the Census.

Census Division

See Census Collection Management Areas.

Census Form

See Appendix A, Household Form, Personal Form.

Census Geographic Areas

The Census Geographic Areas include all of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) areas and the following census-specific areas:

      • Commonwealth Electoral Division (CED);
      • State Electoral Division (SED);
      • CD-derived Postal Areas (POC);
      • State Suburb (SSC);
      • ATSIC Region;
      • Indigenous Locations; and
      • Indigenous Areas.

Census statistical data and digital boundary data are readily available for all these areas.

For more details see Australian Standard Geographical Classification, and Digital Boundaries, or refer to the following publications:

Statistical Geography - Volume 1: Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) (Cat. no. 1216.0)

Statistical Geography - Volume 2: Information Paper - Census Geographic Areas, Australia (Cat. no. 2905.0)

Statistical Geography - Volume 3: Information Paper - Australian Standard Geographic Classification (ASGC) Urban Centres/Localities, Australia (Cat. no. 2909.0)

Census Regulations

Topics for the 1996 Census were prescribed in Census Regulations tabled in the Commonwealth Parliament on 30 August 1994, and took effect upon gazettal on 6 September 1994.

See also Census and Statistics Act.

Census and Statistics Act

This is the Act of Federal Parliament which requires the Australian Statistician to conduct a census on a regular basis and also enables the Statistician to conduct a range of other surveys and statistical functions.

In 1905, the Census and Statistics Act was passed in Federal Parliament, which gave authority to the Governor-General to appoint a Commonwealth Statistician whose duties included the taking of the Census.

The Act originally stipulated that a census was to be taken in 1911 and every tenth year thereafter. The Act also stipulated a number of topics which were to be asked in each census. The stipulated topics included: name, age, sex, relationship, marital status, duration of marriage, birthplace, nationality, period of residence, religion, occupation, material of outer walls and number of rooms in the dwellings. It also allowed for other topics to be included as prescribed.

In 1930 the Act was amended to allow the Census to be held at any such time as prescribed. Censuses have since been conducted in 1933, 1947, 1954, 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991 and 1996.

Since 1961 a census has been held every five years because of the increasing awareness of the value of obtaining statistical benchmarks of the Australian population at regular intervals. In 1977 an amendment was made to the Act to require that censuses are carried out on a five-yearly basis from 1981, and at other times as prescribed.

The Census and Statistics Amendment Act (No 2) 1981, proclaimed on 1 March 1983, removed the provision of the original Act requiring that certain topics be included in the Census. Since that amendment census topics have been determined specifically for each census and prescribed in the census regulations associated with each specific census. This provides greater flexibility in deciding census content and ensures that all topics are subject to the scrutiny of Federal Parliament as the regulations must be tabled before each census.

For more information see How Australia Takes a Census (Cat. no. 2903.0) and the Information Paper: Nature and Content (Cat. no. 2008.0).

See also Census Regulations.

Census Subdivision

See Census Collection Management Areas.

Census Update

Census Update is a free newsletter distributed to interested census users. It is generally published several times a year and includes information about product releases, case studies of census data usage and details of the features of some of the popular electronic data products. Users interested in receiving Census Update should contact Census Marketing on 1800 813939.


The centroid is the optical centre of a collection district (CD) determined after the digital boundary data are available. This point is assigned a set of latitude and longitude coordinates.

The centroid enables census data to be reproduced for any aggregation of CDs falling within any radius of a defined point. For example, a client may require data for a television viewing area. This may require the identification of all collection districts whose centroid lie within a twenty kilometre radius of a particular CD. Some thematic maps containing census data attach symbols to centroids for display purposes.

See Collection District (CD), CDATA96, Digital Spatial Data.


This is a person of any age who is a natural, adopted, step, or foster son or daughter of a couple or lone parent, usually resident in the same household. A child is also any individual under 15, usually resident in the household, who forms a parent-child relationship with another member in the household. This includes otherwise related children under 15 and unrelated children under 15.

In order to be classified as a child, the person can have no partner or child of his/her own usually resident in the household. A separate family in the household is formed in this instance. If a person is aged under 15 and has a partner and/or a spouse these relationships are not recorded.

There are three types of children included in the Relationship in Household classification:

      • child under 15;
      • dependent student; and
      • non-dependent child.

The types of parent-child relationships which can be formed are via a natural, adoptive, step, foster or child dependency relationship. The child dependency relationships may be an otherwise related child under 15 (e.g. nephew or niece), or an unrelated child under 15.

The categories are designed to identify families with different structures and needs. Dependency, as used in these classifications, refers to economic dependency and is only applied to the part of the population that can be described as 'children'.

The dependency criterion is based on the barriers to full-time employment: age and student status.

Dependent child: a dependent child is an individual who is either a child under 15 or a dependent student, who is any child in a family under 15 years of age or aged 15-24 years and who is a full-time student. To be regarded as a child the individual can have no partner or child of his/her own usually resident in the household.

A dependent child must be attached to a nominal parent with whom he/she usually resides. This parent must be over 15 years of age.

Dependent student: this refers to a natural, adopted, step, or foster child who is 15-24 years of age and who attends a secondary or tertiary educational institution as a full-time student and who has no partner or child of his/her own usually resident in the same household.

Non-dependent child: this refers to a natural, step, adopted or foster child of a couple or lone parent usually resident in the household, aged over 15 years and who is not a full-time student aged 15-24 years, and who has no partner or child of his/her own usually resident in the household.

Variables relevant to children are:
      • Number of Dependent Children Under 15 Temporarily Absent (CDCAF);
      • Number of Dependent Students (15-24) Temporarily Absent (CDSAF);
      • Number of Non-Dependent Children Temporarily Absent (CNDAF); and
      • Child Type (CTPP).

Characteristics of children or parents who were temporarily absent on census night are not available.

See also Dependent Children, Family, Foster Child, Step Child, One Parent Family, Couple Family.

Child Type (CTPP)

This classification identifies different parent-child relationships within families and is applicable to all children present in the household.

It was listed as 'offspring type' for the 1991 Census. The differences between the 1991 classification and the 1996 classification are the change in definition of 'foster child' and the application of 'child type' to all children. 'Offspring type' only applied to dependent children in the 1991 Census.

People who state themselves as a natural, adopted, step or foster child and who are not married nor living with a partner or his/her child, are coded as a child, regardless of age. Any other child is coded to 'otherwise related child (under 15)' or 'unrelated child (under 15)'. Boarders and lodgers over the age of 15 are coded to 'Not applicable'.

The categories 'step child' and 'foster child' are not necessarily pure counts as a parent may describe such a child as a child of Person 1/2. In this case the child would be classified as a 'natural child'.

A natural, adopted, foster or otherwise related child may be in a one or two parent family. Cross classification with Family Type (FMTF) allows analysis of different family types.

See also Adopted Child, Child Under 15, Dependent Children, Family, Family Type (FMTF), Foster Child.

Child Under 15

This refers tp a related or unrelated person under 15 years of age who forms a parent-child relationship with one person over 15 years of age resident in the household.

See also Child, Other Related Individuals, Parent-Child Relationship.

Choropleth Map

See Thematic maps.

Christmas Island

See Other Territories.


See Australian Citizenship (NATP).

Classification Counts

Classification Counts, known as the Comparison Series in the 1991 Census, comprise census counts for each category of most output classifications in full, for every State or capital city. These are cross-classified by sex where applicable.

Classification Counts consist of a column for each State or Capital City Statistical Division, providing comparisons of all States or all capital cities.

The counts are available for the first and second releases on hard copy. Electronic media is available after data for total Australia has been released.


To reduce the wide range of individual responses to census questions to manageable categories for output purposes, it is necessary to group together like or related responses. Each response is allocated an index number, and these index numbers are then reformatted into classes or classification levels of similar response.

See also Section 1 - 1996 Census Classifications.

Classifications and Recodes

See also Section 1 - 1996 Census Classifications.


CLIB96 is a CD ROM product containing Community Profile data from the 1996 Census, specifically designed for libraries. This product was developed for the 1991 Census to replace microfiche.

CLIB96 contains Community Profiles and Classification Counts from the 1996 Census.

See also Classification Counts, Community Profiles.

Client services

The ABS offers a range of consultancy services for clients who require data which are not available in standard publications or products. These clients can obtain census data to meet their specific needs, including special cross classified tables, Community Profiles for non-standard areas, and thematic and reference maps as required. The price for customised census data varies depending on client requirements.

Contact Client Services Section (see Appendix B for a list of contacts) to discuss your requirements and obtain a quote.

See also Customised Matrixes, Customised Geographic Data, Customised Map Services.


See Collection Mapping System.

Cocos (Keeling) Islands

See Other Territories.

Collection District (CD)

The census Collection District (CD) is the smallest geographic area defined in the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC). It has been designed for use in the Census of Population and Housing as the smallest unit for collection, processing and output of data (except for some Work Destination Zones). CDs also serve as the basic building block in the ASGC and are used for the aggregation of statistics to larger ASGC areas, and some census-specific areas, such as Commonwealth and State electoral divisions and CD-derived Postal Areas.

A collection district is represented by a seven digit code - smmggcc where:

         s         is a State/Territory code
          mm      is a field manager area code, (previously called census division)
             gg    is a field group area code, (previously called census subdivision) and
               cc  is the collection district code

In urban areas, there is an average of 225 dwellings in each CD. In rural areas the number of dwellings per CD declines as population densities decrease.

CDs are defined for each census and are current only at census time. For the 1996 Census of Population and Housing, there are approximately 33,000 CDs throughout Australia (this includes the Other Territories of Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Jervis Bay).

The criteria for the design of CDs for the 1996 Census were unchanged from 1991 and are as follows:

      • CDs should be consistent with both the collectors' workload requirements and their role as a useful spatial unit and building block capable of aggregation into broader level ASGC spatial units.

      • The area and population delimited by a CD boundary must not be so great that one collector cannot deliver and collect census forms within about 10 days.

      • The chosen CD boundaries should, if possible, be readily identifiable on the ground and be defined in terms of permanent features; follow the centre of a road or river if these features are used; and should delimit CDs which conform to existing and proposed land uses. The use of major roads as CD boundaries in rural areas is avoided to minimise splitting of identifiable rural localities.

      • CDs should conform where possible to existing/gazetted suburb boundaries, and must not cross Statistical Local Area (SLA) boundaries or, as a consequence, any other ASGC spatial unit boundary.

      • CDs should be designed in such a way as to make them confidential for publication of data. Accordingly, a CD should contain, where possible, at least 100 persons at the next census. (CDs found to have fewer than 100 persons are combined with another CD for output, i.e. publication purposes.)

      • CDs in aggregate must cover the whole of Australia without omission or duplication.

CDs are created in response to significant changes in population within a given area, or if boundaries of larger geographic areas change. For example:

      • If the population within an existing CD increases to the point of being too large for one collector, the CD may be split into two or more CDs.

      • If growth in the population of a locality or urban centre results in expansion of its boundary, new CDs may be created by division of the CDs into which the growth intrudes, so that the new boundary may adequately reflect the urban growth in census results (this process is often referred to as fragmentation).

Where necessary, CDs are created or boundaries adjusted to conform with changes to LGA boundaries.

The aim of these procedures is to maintain as much comparability between censuses as possible.

New CD boundaries are designed with reference to information obtained from:
      • government authorities;
      • census collector comments from the previous census;
      • local knowledge;
      • field inspections; and
      • aerial photography.
    See also Australian Standard Geographical Classification, Digital Geographic Information.

Collection District Maps

See Reference Maps.

Collection District Record Database (CDRD)

The Collection District Record Database (CDRD) contains a wide range of information about each Collection District for each census since 1976. The information held for each CD includes:

      • the Census Geographic Areas to which the CD belongs: and
      • a limited range of census counts.

Additional information is available for the 1986, 1991 and 1996 Censuses. This includes:
      • the names of all the Census Geographic Areas;
      • the area of the CD in square kilometres;
      • various latitude and longitude characteristics, including the centroid of the CD; and
      • an indication of the comparability of the CD with the previous census.

See also Area (measurement), Collection District, Census Geographic Area, Customised Geographic Data Reports.

Collection Mapping System (CMS)

The CMS has, as its basis, a digital base map supplied by the Public Sector Mapping Agencies. This base map is overlaid by digital collection management area boundaries which can be manipulated to reflect any required changes. Various data are attributed to those boundaries through an Oracle database called the Collection District Record Database (CDRD) (the CDRD replaces the previous Geographic Databases (GDBs)).

The system was built and used to facilitate:

      • the design of collection boundaries;
      • production of census collection management area maps which integrated the collection boundaries and the base map data;
      • management of information associated with boundaries; and
      • storing of the digital geographic information used.
See also Digital Base maps, Data Digital Geographic Information, Public Sector Mapping Agencies, Collection District Record Database.

Commonwealth Electoral Division

See Electoral Division.

Community Development Employment Program (CDEP)

The Community Development Employment Program (CDEP) scheme was developed in 1976 as a response to remote Aboriginal communities' requests for local employment to be created, with a particular focus on community development opportunities. The CDEP enables members of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities to exchange unemployment benefits for opportunities to undertake work and training in activities which are managed by a local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community organisation.

In 1985 CDEP was expanded to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities living in rural and urban areas. CDEP is funded and supported through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), which provides grants to participating community organisations to employ community members.

CDEP participants are classified as employed in the Labour Force Status/Status in Employment classification (LFSP). The 1996 Census includes for the first time a separate category for CDEP participants as part of the Industry Sector (GNGP) classification.

See also Industry Sector (GNGP), Labour Force Status (LFSP).

Community Government Councils

See Local Government Area (LGA).

Community Profiles

The 1996 Community Profile series comprise key census data for all geographic areas, from Collection Districts (CDs) to total Australia.

Community Profiles contain sets of tables based on key census characteristics of persons, families and dwellings covering most topics on the census form.

These are sets of simple cross-classified tables and, in most cases, are based on where people were counted on census night, i.e. place of enumeration. There are several different profiles:

      • Basic Community Profile: available for all census geographic areas from Collection Districts (CD) to total Australia, including CD-derived postcodes.
      • Expanded Community Profile: available for Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) and larger geographic areas. It contains more detailed versions of some Basic Community Profile tables, plus extra tables.
      • Usual Residents Community Profile: contains tables drawn from the Basic and Expanded Profiles but based on the usual residents of SLAs and aggregates of SLAs.
      • Working Population Community Profile: contains characteristics of people who work in Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) within the Journey to Work (JTW) study areas usually, capital cities and surrounding areas. These tables are based on place of employment.
      • Time Series Community Profile: contains tables drawn from the Basic and Expanded Profiles comprising data from the 1986, 1991 and 1996 Censuses where the classifications are comparable. It is available for comparable SLAs, and larger geographic areas.
      • Summary Indigenous Profile: these contain an age-sex table and frequency count table which is available for Indigenous Locations (around 80 or more Indigenous people), Indigenous Areas (around 300 or more Indigenous people), ATSIC Regions and States and Territories, providing complete coverage of Australia. The frequency counts table includes the number of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, and selected counts from First and Second Release Data.
      • Detailed Indigenous Profile: these contain tables similar to the 1991 Series and are available for Indigenous Areas (around 300 or more Indigenous people), ATSIC Regions and States and Territories. Some Time Series information may also be included for basic characteristics such as age, sex, language and structure of dwelling.
      • Thematic Profiles: these contain a selection of tables from the Basic or Expanded Community Profiles relating to a particular theme. For example, the Ethnicity Community Profile contains the tables from the Basic Profiles with ethnicity-related topics, such as language, birthplace, religion, year of arrival, proficiency in English, etc.
      • Customised Community Profiles: Standard Community Profiles can be customised for a specific geographic area of interest by aggregating either ASGC areas or non-ASGC areas, such as postcode. The profiles can also be for specified sub-populations, e.g. a particular age group.

Community Profiles are available as hard copy, or in electronic format. The Basic and Time Series Community Profiles are also available on CD ROM in CDATA96. Manipulation software, operating in a Windows environment, is provided free of charge with all profiles output in electronic form.

See also CDATA96, Client Services, Census Counts Place of Enumeration, First Release Data, Geographic Areas, Journey to Work, Second Release Data, Tables, Working Population.

Comparability (geographic, over time)

Around 10% of all CDs undergo some type of change between censuses. The types of changes which can occur include:

      • splitting a CD into two or more new CDs;
      • amalgamating two or more CDs into a new CD; and
      • varying the boundary of an existing CD.

The extent of change is indicated in a variable on the Collection District Record Database. This can be used to approximate links between geographic areas over time.

The ABS has used this information to prepare a definition of 1991 SLAs which can be used with 1996 Census data. The Time-series Community Profile (available on CDATA96, or separately), uses this concordance.

Comparison Series

See Classification Counts.


Under the Census and Statistics Act 1905, it is an offence to release any information collected under the Act that would enable identification of any particular individual or organisation.

For the Census, strict measures are taken in field collection, processing and output of data to guard against the release of confidential information.

Census collectors are responsible for ensuring the census forms for their Collection Districts are secure at all times. Once the forms are delivered to the Data Processing Centre (DPC), strict building security is maintained to ensure only those people who are bound by the Census and Statistics Act 1905, or who have a legitimate reason for being there, have access. After processing of the forms has been completed they are pulped under the supervision of an officer of the ABS. All records used by collectors are destroyed.

The data from each census form are transferred on to computer files without names and addresses. No records of names and addresses obtained from the Census are retained.

A comprehensive list of the precautions taken to ensure confidentiality of census data is listed in the Information Paper: 1996 Census of Population and Housing: Nature and Content (Cat. no. 2008.0).

Customised tables for some geographic areas can be produced with cells containing very small counts. In cases where this occurs small random adjustments are made to the data to avoid any risk of releasing identifiable information. These adjustments allow for a greater amount of detailed data to be released, and as they are small, do not affect the utility of the data.

For example, because some Collection Districts (CDs) can and do contain less than 100 people, some confidentialising is required before data can be released at the CD level. This can be achieved by either combining these CDs with adjoining CDs, so limiting table sizes for output; or by randomly adjusting small cells.

See also Introduced Random Error, Random Perturbation of Table Cells, Tables.

Consensual union

Two people usually residing in the same household who share a social, economic and emotional bond usually associated with marriage and who consider their relationship to be a marriage or marriage-like union. This relationship is identified by the presence of a registered marriage or de facto marriage. In practice, a consensual union exists when the relationship between two people, of the opposite sex or same sex, usually resident in the same household is reported as: husband, wife, spouse, partner, de facto, common law husband/wife/spouse, lover, boyfriend, girlfriend.

Consultancy Services

See Client Services.

Contributing Family Worker

A contributing family worker is a person who works without pay in an economic enterprise operated by a relative. In 1991 the term, Unpaid Family Helper was used.

See also Labour Force Status/Status in Employment (LFSP).


Copyright and intellectual property rights for the 1996 Census data and digital boundaries are retained solely by the Commonwealth of Australia and are administered by the ABS. Any use of the boundaries is subject to a standard licence agreement to be signed by parties purchasing the boundaries.

The Public Sector Mapping Agencies (PSMA) have majority ownership of the ABS/PSMA joint copyright of the digital base maps used by the Census.

Count of ...

Persons Temporarily Absent from Household (CPAD )
See Household, Temporarily Absent.

Count of Dependent Children Under 15 Temporarily Absent (CDCAF )
See Child, Child Under 15, Dependent Child, Temporarily Absent.

Count of Dependent Students (15-24) Temporarily Absent (CDSAF )
See Child, Dependent Student, Temporarily Absent.

Count of Non-Dependent Children Temporarily Absent (CNDAF )
See Child, Non-Dependent Child, Temporarily Absent.

Country of Birth

See Birthplace (BPLP).

Couple Family

A family based on two persons who are in a registered or de facto marriage and who are usually resident in the same household. The family may include any number of dependents, non-dependents and other related individuals. It is not necessary for a parent-child relationship to be formed, thus a couple family can consist of a couple without children present in the household.

See also Marital Status, Same-Sex Couples.

Couple Relationship

A couple relationship is based on a consensual union, and is defined as two people usually residing in the same household who share a social, economic and emotional bond usually associated with marriage and who consider their relationship to be a marriage or marriage-like union. This relationship is identified by the presence of a registered marriage or de facto marriage.

There are two variables associated with the relationship status of couples. They are Registered Marital Status (MSTP) which is a person characteristic, i.e. each individual states whether he/she is married, separated, etc., and Social Marital Status (MDCP) which is derived from the relationship question (5) on the census form. This variable lists whether a person over the age of 15, is in a registered marriage, a de facto marriage (opposite or same-sex), or not married.

Apparent inconsistencies between the two variables are feasible because, for example, a couple may report a de facto relationship but may individually report a marital status of separated or even married (i.e. to a different person).

Characteristics of a person usually resident in a household but temporarily absent on census night (i.e. entered in Question 41) are used to correctly classify the family type. The Location of Spouse (SPLF) indicator provides information on the spouse who was temporarily absent from home.

See also Location of Spouse (SPLF), Marital Status.

Craft in Marinas

See Caravans.

Cross-Classified Tables

See Tables.

Customised Geographic Reports

The 1996 Census customised geographic data reports provide clients with tabular geographic data which relate specifically to the Census Geographic Areas. The data available in these reports are taken from the Collection District Record Database (CDRD).

Three types of common geographic data reports can be provided using the following standardised reports:

      • direct queries - data from any number of nominated geographic areas can be drawn directly from the CDRD, (for example, the area in square kilometres for a number of SLAs).
      • geographic conversions - a listing of all the geographic areas of a particular type (for example, an SLA) that are contained within, or share any common territory with, specified geographic areas of any another type (for example, a State Electoral Division) can be taken from the CDRD.
      • comparability listings - a set of CDs from a previous census year (back to 1976) can have the CDs from the 1996 Census which correspond to them identified and listed. Alternatively, a list of 1996 Census CDs can have the CDs from previous censuses which correspond to them identified and listed. In each comparability listing there is a comparability indicator.

Clients who have data requirements that cannot be met by these three standard reports, or a combination thereof, can have their requests serviced though a special data query facility which is also available.

To place an order for a customised geographic data report, contact ABS Client Services (refer to the contact list at Appendix B).

See also Collection District Record Database (CDRD), Census Geographic Areas.

Customised Mapping Service

ABS Client Services offer two types of customised mapping services:

      • Customised thematic mapping services; and
      • Customised reference mapping services.

The digital geographic data used in these two services are generally 1996 Census Reduced Boundaries and 1996 ABS/PSMA Reduced Base Map, although other data are used where appropriate or required by the client.

Thematic maps are maps which show various geographic regions which are shaded or patterned, or use some other graphic tool (for example, different sized arrows), to convey differences in a particular characteristic. Census data are a particularly popular source of data used for these types of maps as a wide range of characteristics are available for small areas. These areas and the associated statistics can then be aggregated to cover a wide range of differently shaped regions to suit various needs.

Customised thematic maps are available for all the Census Geographic Areas and most client-specified areas. These maps can incorporate statistical data from the census and a wide range of other sources. Topographic data, such as roads, railway lines or features like hospitals, schools and towns, are also available for inclusion in these thematic maps.

Reference maps are maps which show the boundaries and other non-statistical geographic information of particular geographic regions, usually in the context of the topographic features which define them. These types of maps are particularly important when using census data as they help to define the extent of the Census Geographic Areas.

Customised reference maps are available to suit most client needs. These maps contain base map (topographic) data, Census Geographic Areas and/or client-specified boundaries. They do not contain any statistical data and they are not available without ABS boundaries of some description.

To place a mapping consultancy request, contact ABS Client Services (refer to the contact list at Appendix B).

See also Reduced Output Spatial Database.

Customised Matrixes

If standard 1996 Census products and services cannot meet a particular user's needs, a customised matrix may be ordered. Client Services can provide matrixes to meet client-specific requirements, allowing maximum flexibility in the selection of any number of census variables for any geographic area.

Matrixes are available in hard copy or electronic format suitable for use in a range of spreadsheets and databases. Manipulation software, operating in a Windows environment, is provided (where needed) free of charge with all matrixes output in electronic form. This software enables clients to view, select, print and export selections from the matrix.

Contact Client Services (see Appendix B for a list of contacts) to discuss your requirements and obtain a quote.

See also Client Services, Customised Geographic Data, Customised Mapping Services.

Customised profiles

Community Profile data (see Community Profiles) can be made available according to client specified areas and/or component tables of the profile either in hardcopy or electronic format. Purchasers of Community Profile data on electronic media are offered formats suitable for input into a range of spreadsheets and databases.

Customised Services

See Client Services, Customised Geographic Data, Customised Mapping Service, Customised Profiles.

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