2900.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Understanding the Census and Census Data, Australia , 2016  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/11/2017  First Issue
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Family/Household Reference Person Indicator (RPIP)

This variable Family/Household Reference Person Indicator records the person who is used as the basis for determining the familial and non-familial relationships within a household. It is usually the person who has identified himself/herself as Person 1 on the Household form. This variable is applicable all persons in a family, group or lone person households enumerated in private dwellings that are not visitor only (or non-classifiable) households.

How this variable is created

Data on the relationships people have with others in the same dwelling is mainly derived from the relationship in household question on the Census Household Form, which asks for each person’s relationship to Person 1 on the form. An image of this question is provided below.

The household reference person in a multiple family household can be identified as the family reference person in the primary family. It identifies the household member used in Census coding as the basis for identifying the relationships between usual residents of a household. Familial relationships are defined in terms of the relationship between the family reference person and all other family members. Person 1 is the 'reference person' for 93.4% of family reference persons and 98.9% of non-family reference persons. In the remaining cases, a more appropriate person on the form is chosen during clerical coding. For example, an adult is chosen rather than a child, or in the event of multiple family households additional reference persons are chosen.

Variable history

Questions on the relationships between residents of a household have been asked for every census since 1911. No changes were made for 2016.

Non-response rate

Non-response rate only applies to data items that directly reflect responses to individual Census form questions. Family/Household Reference Person Indicator does not have a non-response rate as it is a derived value created during Census processing for applicable persons. For more information, refer to Understanding Census data quality.

Data usage notes

This variable is not an indication that a person is 'head of the household'.

Further Information

More information on Family/Household Reference Person Indicator is available in the 2016 Census Dictionary.
For information on the Relationship in Household question and data item, see the data quality statement for Relationship in Household.

Household form question image

Question 5 as it appeared on the 2016 Census Household Paper Form:

Image: 2016 Household Paper Form - Question 5. What is the person's relationship to Person 1/Person 2?
A text only version of the online Census Household form is available from the Downloads tab.