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

Undercounting and /or Underenumeration

Although every effort is made by census collectors to locate every dwelling and household within their allocated district, sometimes this is not possible. Some dwellings may not be identified. For example, in commercial areas flats above or behind shops may be difficult to find. Also, particularly where contact is not made at delivery, flats behind or attached to private dwellings may not be included in the Census. Analysis of the undercount in previous censuses has shown that people away from their usual residence on census night (for example, travelling, camping, staying in a non-private dwelling or visiting friends) are more likely to be missed than people at home on census night.

Even when a household is found, undercount is possible if not all members of the household are included on the form (for example, if there are more than six people in the household and no extra forms are obtained) or if the household, or a member of the household, refuses to cooperate and complete a census form.

A measure of the extent of underenumeration is obtained from the Post Enumeration Survey (PES). The official population estimates produced by the ABS take into account the results of the PES. However, the census counts are not adjusted.

See also Post Enumeration Survey.


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

Unit Record File

The Unit Record File (URF) is a sequence of records held on computer files. It holds coded data for all the person, family, household and dwelling characteristics in each Collection District as collected in the Census. It is the original source of all census products. It excludes records for persons listed as Temporarily Absent.

Census data are stored in a hierarchy of records for each household/dwelling. Each household may contain a number of family records. Each of these, in turn, may contain a number of person records. When using household/family data it is necessary to recognise these three levels and understand the concepts at each level.

The three levels are indicated by the fourth character in the mnemonic for each variable. Household/dwelling level variables are indicated by D, family level by F, and person level by P.

The URF is held under strict security and is only accessible by certain officers of the ABS.

See also Estimated Resident Population, Input Processing, Mnemonic.

Unoccupied Private Dwelling

See Dwelling.

Unpaid Helpers

See Contributing Family Worker, Labour Force Status/Status in Employment (LFSP).

Unrelated Child (under 15)

See Child Under 15.

Unrelated Individual Living in a Family Household

A person who lives in a family household, but who is not related to any person in any of the families in the household, but who shares meals with a family. A boarder fits into this category.

See also Relationship in Household (RLHP).

Urban Centre/ Locality

An urban centre is a population cluster of 1,000 or more people. A locality is a population cluster of between 200 to 999 people. People living in urban centres are classified as urban for statistical purposes while those in localities are classified as rural. Each urban centre and/or locality (UC/L) is bounded (i.e. a boundary for it is clearly defined) and composed of one or more whole collection districts (CDs). UC/Ls are defined for each census and are current for the date of the Census. The criteria for bounding UC/Ls are based on the Linge methodology.

For more information and a list of the UC/Ls, refer to Statistical Geography - Volume 3: Information Paper - Australian Standard Geographic Classification (ASGC) Urban Centres/Localities, Australia (Cat. no. 2909.0).

See also Section of State

Usual Address

Usual Address information is used to code Usual Residence.

See also Usual Residence.

Usual Residence

The 1996 Census form contains three questions on Usual Residence. Question 7 asked where each person usually lived on census night, Question 8 asked where each person usually lived one year ago and Question 9 asked where each person usually lived five years ago.

Usual residence is defined in the notes provided with Question 7 as '...that address at which the person has lived or intends to live for a total of 6 months or more in 1996' ; or 'For people who now have no usual address, write no usual address'; and 'For boarders at boarding school or college, give the address of the school or college'. This instruction was not given in censuses prior to 1986 and often these people incorrectly reported their family home as their place of usual residence.

The information acquired from the tick-box answers to the usual residence questions is recorded in the usual residence indicators variables:

      • Usual Address Indicator census night (UAICP)
      • Usual Address 1 Year Ago Indicator (UAI1P)
      • Usual Address 5 Years Ago Indicator (UAI5P)
The information is used to identify movement within a SLA. Use of usual residence indicators in conjunction with the other variables relating to usual residence listed below, make it possible to identify the pattern of net movement of people between three dates, i.e. census night, one year ago and five years ago.
The following variables are available:
      • SLA of usual residence census night (SLAUCP)
      • SLA of usual residence one year ago (SLAU1P)
      • SLA of usual residence five years ago (SLAU5P)
      • State of usual residence census night (STEUCP)
      • State of usual residence one year ago (STEU1P)
      • State of usual residence five years ago (STEU5P).

(State is necessary to delimit SLA because the SLA code is not unique across Australia.) Note that SLA of Usual Residence one year ago was not collected in 1991.

Usual residence data provide reliable, up-to-date information on the usually resident population of an area, and on the internal migration patterns at the Australia, State, Regional and Local Government levels. The data are also used by the ABS in calculations of the Estimated Resident Population (ERP).

People who were enumerated on board vessels in or between Australian ports (or on long-distance trains, buses or aircraft) on census night, and who gave an address in Australia as their usual residence, are coded to the SLA containing that address.

A small number of people who were on board vessels in or between Australian ports, or on long-distance trains, buses or aircraft, who indicated that they were usually resident at the address at which they are enumerated, are allocated a separate usual residence code describing them as Migratory.

Most respondents who are enumerated at a place other than their usual residence provided 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.

If the information given for usual residence on census night is inadequate for allocating a code, the SLA of a parent (if the person is under 15) or spouse (if the person is 15 or older) is allocated if a parent or spouse is present with SLA of Usual Residence on census night stated.

In Non-Private Dwellings which are likely to contain non-permanent residents from other SLAs (including hotels, motels, hospitals) the SLA of Usual Residence is imputed where not stated, based on data from the 1991 Census. This is also done for people who are visitors in Private Dwellings. In all other cases of non-response the SLA of Usual Residence is assumed to be the SLA of Enumeration.

If no code can be allocated for SLA of Usual Residence one or five years ago, a code of Not Stated is given. The only exceptions to this are where the person is 16 or younger (for usual residence one year ago) or 20 years or younger (for usual residence five years ago ) and there is a parent present with the appropriate SLA coded. The SLA code of the parent is then allocated to the person.

Family variables are only derived for people counted at their usual residence. Temporarily absent persons are used to classify types of relationships and families existing in a household, but they are not used in the derivation of any other census characteristics or in other census output.

Note that if all members of a family are absent from their usual residence, no family records are created for them. Thus, actual location counts of families and households are usual residence counts less counts of wholly absent families or households from their usual residence on census night.

See also Census Counts, Migratory Collection Districts, Off-Shore Collection Districts, Place of Usual Residence, Temporarily Absent, Usual Residence, Visitors to a Household.

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