2900.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Understanding the Census and Census Data, Australia , 2016  
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Count of Persons Temporarily Absent from Family (CPAF)

This variable counts the total number of people who were reported as temporarily absent from the family on Census night. The count of persons temporarily absent includes husbands/wives, de facto partners, and children (dependent children aged under 15 years, dependent students (15-24 years) and non-dependent children). This variable is applicable to families in family households. Of all families, 8.0% reported that a family member was absent from the dwelling on Census night.

How this variable is created

Count of Persons Temporarily Absent is a family variable that is derived from the Persons Temporarily Absent question on the Census Household Form. People are counted as temporarily absent from their family when they are included in response to the Persons Temporarily Absent question. An image of this question is provided below.

Persons reported as temporarily absent are then subject to a further process so that only persons who are part of the main family structure are included in Count of Persons Temporarily Absent. These persons are either a partner, a child or a grandchild. Any other family members who are not identified as members of the main family structure are removed.

Variable history

This variable was first introduced in 1996. No changes were made in 2016.

Non-response rate

Non-response rate only applies to data items that directly reflect responses to individual Census form questions. Count of Persons Temporarily Absent does not have a non-response rate as it is a derived value created during Census processing for applicable families. For more information, refer to Understanding Census data quality.

Data usage notes

People may be missed from the persons temporarily absent section of the form as they are not present in the household when the form is being filled out. This can occur in both family and group households. Additionally due to form limitations a maximum of three people can be reported and coded as temporarily absent from the dwelling. If more than three people are absent from the household the additional persons are unable to be included on the form.

Count of Persons Temporarily Absent should be used carefully when comparing to other family data from within the ABS and for external organisations or agencies. The definition of a family can differ between different statistical collections and may not match Census definitions.

Further information

A definition for Count of Persons Temporarily Absent is available in the 2016 Census Dictionary.
For information on family type and family composition, see the data quality statement for Family Composition.
For information on the Relationship in Household question and data item, see the data quality statement for Relationship in Household.
For more information on Persons Temporarily Absent, see the Census Dictionary glossary entry.

Household form question image

Question 53 as it appears on the 2016 Census Household Paper Form:

Image: 2016 Household Paper Form - Question 53. For each person away, complete the following questions:
A text only version of the online Census Household form is available from the Downloads tab.