2049.0.55.002 - Microdata: Census of Population and Housing: Estimating Homelessness, 2016  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/10/2018  First Issue
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All


The homelessness dataset is a file that counts persons. The dataset includes all persons enumerated on Census night, excluding overseas visitors.

Data Items are divided into the following groups:

  • Geographical Areas;
  • Homelessness Estimates;
  • Selected Person Characteristics;
  • Education and Qualifications;
  • Employment, Income and Unpaid work;
  • Cultural and Language Diversity;
  • Disability, Need for Assistance and Carers;
  • Children and Child Care;
  • Usual Address and Internal Migration;
  • Selected Dwelling and Household Characteristics;
  • Household Income and Housing Costs; and
  • Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA).


There are two types of geography available in the dataset:
  • Place of Enumeration, the place at which the person is counted on Census night; this may not be where they usually live; and
  • Place of Usual Residence, the place where a person usually lives. This is only available at State level. This may or may not be the place where the person was counted on Census night. This field can only be cross tabulated with person related data items (e.g. Age, Sex, Marital Status).

Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA)

Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) is an ABS product that ranks areas in Australia according to relative socio-economic advantage and disadvantage. SEIFA 2016 has been created from Census 2016 data and consists of four indexes: The Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage (IRSD); The Index of Relative Socio-economic Advantage and Disadvantage (IRSAD); The Index of Education and Occupation (IEO); The Index of Economic Resources (IER). Further information on construction and use of the SEIFA variables can be found in Census of Population and Housing: Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 2033.0.55.01).

SEIFA Indexes are derived using the demographic characteristics of persons usually resident in a given area. However, as a characteristic of the homeless population is the high proportion of persons with 'no usual residence', the Homelessness Tablebuilder links persons to the SEIFA decile of their place of enumeration (i.e where they were counted on Census night). This maximises the utility of SEIFA for the homeless population, however as the linking is performed differently to the standard Census Tablebuilder, data derived for the Australian population will differ between the databases.

Comparing to the main publication

Extensive tables of data are available from the 'Downloads' tab of the publication Census of Population and Housing: Estimating homelessness, 2016 (cat. no. 2049.0).

When comparing to tables in the main publication it is important to note the following;
  • Tables have been generated on both 'Usual Residence' and 'Enumeration' geography bases. Please check the labels to ensure you are using the same geographic basis; and
  • Categories for some variables (e.g. Level of Highest Educational Attainment) have been collapsed in some instances, or 'not stated' categories have been excluded. Please check the cell comments for detail.

Rates are calculated by comparing the number of persons in a group of interest with the total population. All persons enumerated on Census night (excluding overseas visitors) have been included in the dataset to allow users to calculate rates. An example of how to calculate the total homelessness rate is provided below:
    Rate of homeless persons per 10,000 of the population = Total homeless persons / Total number of persons in Australia, (excluding overseas visitors and usual residents of external territories, at sea, migratory and offshore regions) x 10,000

The term 'Homeless Persons' includes only persons from the operational groups 'Persons living in improvised dwellings, tents, or sleeping out', 'Persons in supported accommodation for the homeless', 'Persons staying temporarily with other households', 'Persons living in boarding houses', 'Persons in other temporary lodgings' and 'Persons living in 'severely' crowded dwellings'.

The term 'Persons in other marginal housing' includes only persons from the operational groups 'Persons living in other crowded dwellings', 'Persons in other improvised dwellings' and 'Persons who are marginally housed in caravan parks'.

Back to top of the page