2015.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Selected Social and Housing Characteristics, Australia, 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/06/2002  Reissue
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General descriptions of terms and concepts used in this publication are provided below. Tables are also footnoted where applicable for additional clarity. Detailed definitions of classifications and concepts are available in the 2001 Census Dictionary (Cat. no. 2901.0).


A person's ancestry, when used in conjunction with the person's birthplace and their parents' birthplace, provides a good indication of the ethnic background of first and second generation Australians. This is particularly useful for identifying distinct ethnic or cultural groups (e.g. Maoris or Kurds), which cannot be identified using country of birth alone.

Respondents were asked to consider and mark the ancestries they most closely identified with, and to count their ancestry back as far as three generations. Respondents had the option of nominating several ancestries but only the first two answers were processed for output purposes.

Christmas Island

See Geographic areas.

Cocos (Keeling) Islands

See Geographic areas.


A dwelling is a structure which is intended to have people live in it, and which is habitable on Census Night. Some examples of dwellings are houses, motels, flats, caravans, prisons, tents, humpies and houseboats.

There are private and non-private dwellings:

  • A private dwelling is normally a house, flat, part of a house, or even a room; but can also be a house attached to, or rooms above, shops or offices; an occupied caravan or unit in a caravan park or craft in a marina; occupied dwelling in a Manufactured Home Estate; occupied self-care unit in Accommodation for the Retired or Aged; a houseboat; or tent if it is standing on its own block of land. An occupied caravan situated on a residential allotment is also classed as a private dwelling. Private dwellings can be either occupied or unoccupied.
  • Non-private dwellings are those dwellings not included above, which provide a communal or transitory type of accommodation. They are classified according to their function. These dwellings include hotels, motels, guest houses, prisons, religious and charitable institutions, defence establishments, hospitals and other communal dwellings. Only occupied non-private dwellings are included in the census.


A family is defined by the ABS as two or more persons, one of whom is at least 15 years of age, who are related by blood, marriage (registered or de facto), adoption, step or fostering, and who are usually resident in the same household. The basis of a family is formed by identifying either a couple, parent-child or other blood relationship. Information on persons temporarily absent on Census Night is considered in family coding.

Geographic areas

The tables in this publication are at the levels of Statistical Subdivision and Statistical Division, as defined by the 2001 Census edition of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC).

Statistical Subdivision (SSD): These areas consist of one or more Statistical Local Areas and cover, in aggregate, the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps.

Statistical Division (SD): These areas consist of one or more SSDs and cover, in aggregate, the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. They do not cross State or Territory boundaries. However, the Other Territories, Jervis Bay Territory and the Territories of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands together form one SD. Capital city SDs 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 20 years.

SDs outside the capital city are designed to be relatively homogeneous regions characterised by identifiable social and economic links between the inhabitants and the economic units in the region, under the unifying influence of one or more major towns or cities.

State/Territory (STE): States and Territories consist of one or more SDs and are the largest type of spatial unit in the ASGC. The six Australian States and five Territories which are part of geographic Australia and included in the 2001 ASGC are New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory, Jervis Bay Territory and the external Territories of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands. In the ASGC, Jervis Bay Territory, the Territory of Christmas Island and the Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands are combined to form Other Territories (OT).

For this series of publications, data for Other Territories are published down to SSD level in 2015.0 (Australia) and down to SLA in 2015.1 (New South Wales) and 2015.5 (Western Australia). That is, Jervis Bay Territory is included in 2015.1 and Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands are included in 2015.5.

More information about definitions, and lists of codes and names of the geographic areas can be found in Volume 1: Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) 2001 (Cat. no. 1216.0) effective date 1 July 2001.


A household is defined as a group of two or more related or unrelated people who usually reside in the same dwelling, who regard themselves as a household, and who make common provision for food or other essentials for living; or a person living in a dwelling who makes provision for his/her own food and other essentials for living, without combining with any other person.

Under this definition, in a group house where occupants share the dwelling, each occupant who usually supplies his/her own food should be counted as a separate household and issued with a separate Household Form. In practice, however, most such households usually only complete one form.


People aged 15 years and over are asked to indicate their usual gross weekly income by selecting an income range on the census form. There are 16 options ranging from 'Negative income', 'Nil income' through to '$1,500 or more per week'. For example, a person with a gross weekly income of $650 per week would tick the range '$600-$699 per week'. Gross weekly income is the income before tax, superannuation, health insurance, or other deductions are made. Gross income includes: family allowance, parenting payment, pensions, unemployment benefits, student allowances, maintenance (child support), superannuation, wages, salary, overtime, dividends, rents received, interest received, business or farm income (less operation expenses) and worker's compensation received.


A person is defined to be of Indigenous origin if he or she identifies himself or herself as of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.


Internet includes: Internet connections in private and business applications; Internet connection through a computer or set top box, games machine, mobile phone, or other means; and Internet used at other locations including libraries, Internet cafes, shops, educational institutions, or at a neighbour or friends place of residence.

Jervis Bay Territory

See Geographic areas.


Overseas-born people are those who state that they were born in a country other than Australia, those born at sea, and those whose responses are classed as 'Inadequately described' or 'Not elsewhere classified'.

Personal Computer (PC)

PCs include: computers used at home for private and business purposes, portable computers, personal organisers, computers brought home from the workplace, and dedicated word processors. Game machines are not included.


Table 3 shows the population on 'Census night' and 'Usually resident'. The population on Census Night is on a 'Place of enumeration basis'. The usually resident population is on a 'Place of usual residence' basis. Most population counts presented in this publication are on a place of enumeration basis. Place of enumeration means where the person was counted on Census Night.