2900.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Understanding the Census and Census Data, Australia , 2016  
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Type of Non-Private Dwelling (NPDD)

This variable records the type of non-private dwelling in which persons were counted on census night. Non-private dwellings are establishments which provide a communal or transitory type of accommodation, such as hotels, nursing homes, corrective institutions, boarding schools, staff quarters and hospitals.This variable is applicable to all occupied non-private dwellings enumerated in the 2016 Census. Unoccupied non-private dwellings are not counted in the Census.

How this variable is created

Non-private dwelling type was collected by address canvassers in mail-out areas, subsequently reviewed by Census enumeration management staff prior to enumeration and then verified by Census Field Officers during the enumeration period. In areas enumerated using the traditional approach of delivering forms, the information was collected by ABS Field Officers during the Census collection period.

Variable history

Information on the types of non-private dwellings that people are located in on Census night has been collected in every census since 1911. The specific categories used to classify non-private dwellings have changed between censuses. In the 2006 Census, additional response options were introduced to identify immigration detention centres, youth/backpacker hostels and ski lodges. These options were retained in the 2011 Census and were included in the 2016 Census.

The output categories for this classification were unchanged for 2016.

Non-response rate

Type of non-private dwelling does not have a non-response rate as all dwellings are allocated a type either prior to Census enumeration, while enumeration is ongoing, or during processing.

Data usage notes

As well as being increasingly difficult to determine whether some dwellings are private or non-private, it is also becoming increasingly difficult to determine the Type of Non-Private Dwelling. The type and mix of accommodation being offered and how it is described/advertised can make it difficult to categorise using the existing Type of Non-Private Dwelling classification. During Census processing, additional checks were undertaken to confirm that the classification has been consistently and correctly applied.

The following comments may assist in understanding dwelling counts for some categories, particularly when comparing with 2011 data:

  • Hotels, motels, bed and breakfast: there has been a large increase in this category that encompasses a wide range of mainly short term accommodation for purposes other than health or welfare. Targeted investigations were conducted during processing to identify hotel accommodation (serviced apartments) situated within apartment buildings that contained both privately owned apartments and hotel accommodation. Amendments were also made as warranted, where complexes comprised entirely of holiday units were incorrectly categorised as private dwellings.
  • Staff quarters: there has also been a large movement in numbers, partly reflecting the changes in the resources sector. Investigations during processing targeted areas of large change and mining camps, with amendments made as warranted.
  • Residential colleges, halls of residence: Some of these may have been enumerated as private dwellings (apartments). Targeted investigations were conducted during processing to identify student accommodation, particularly when situated within apartment buildings that contained both student accommodation and privately owned apartments, or where there was no clear indication of the association with an education institution.
  • Hospitals: the count of other related non-private dwelling types may have been impacted by the emergence of multipurpose establishments or sites, including a hospital, and mental health and other services. Depending on how Field Staff interpret these situations, this can lead to differences in how these establishments are classified from one Census to another. In addition, this may result in a hospital establishment being identified as one NPD in one Census and multiple NPDs in another.
  • Hostels for the Disabled: there is sometimes difficulty in distinguishing these from other types of non-private dwellings or private dwellings.
  • Nursing homes and Accommodation for the retired or aged (not self-contained): accommodation is usually offered for both low and high level care and it is difficult to separately identify. This partly accounts for the changes observed in numbers of both categories. Users should consider combining the two categories when using Census data.
  • Other welfare institution: this can include hard to define accommodation for welfare purposes, and also includes a growing number of 'group homes'.
  • Other and not-classifiable: notwithstanding the increased difficulty in categorising non-private dwellings, there was an increased effort in 2016 in determining a more correct code for those otherwise left as 'Other'. Ski lodges and Backpacker accommodation is included in the 'Other' category.
Further Information

A definition of Non-Private Dwellings is available in the 2016 Census Dictionary.