2900.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Understanding the Census and Census Data, Australia , 2016  
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Relationship in Household (including grandchildren) (RLGP)

This variable describes the relationship of each person in a family to the family reference person or, where a person is not part of a family, that person's relationship to the household reference person. It is applicable to all persons counted in an occupied private dwelling.

How this variable is created

Data on the relationships people have with others in the same dwelling is mainly derived from question 5 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. Relationship in Household (including grandchildren) (RLGP) differs from Relationship in Household (RLHP) in that it recognises grandchildren as a child type, and that a grandparent-grandchild relationship is a parent-child relationship rather than an 'other family type' relationship.

Variable history

Relationship in Household (including grandchildren) was first derived in 2011. 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. Relationship in Household (including grandchildren) 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

Grandparent families are recognised where there is a grandparent-grandchild relationship present and no parent-child relationship present in a family. Where a parent is temporarily absent from the family, and their relationship reported does not confirm their relationship to their child (for example, if person 1 is not a member of their family nucleus) that parent-child relationship cannot be coded. This can result in a small number of children being reported as grandchildren when a parent is simply absent on Census night.

Users should note that grandparent-grandchild relationships are constructed for the purposes of family coding in order to create a statistical family. It may not be representative of who provides care, for example a grandparent caring for their grandchild or vice versa.

Relationship in Household (including grandchildren) and the standard Relationship in Household variable both describe the relationship of each person in the family to the family reference person. Where a person is not part of the family, these variables describe the relationship to the household reference person.

While the standard and grandparent variables are similar, there are differences in the way data is processed. The table below shows how grandparent/grandchild relationships are classified under the standard variables compared with the grandparent variables.


Standard variablesGrandparent variables

Person aged 15 years or more and has relationship of grandchildPerson is classified as 'other relative'.Person is classified as a 'type of child' with a relationship of dependent student' or 'non-dependent child'.
A sole grandparent in the familyFamily is classified as 'other family'.Family is classified as 'lone parent'.
A grandparent coupleFamily is classified as 'couple family with no children and with relatives'.Family is classified as 'couple family with children'.


Further information

A definition for Relationship in Household (including grandchildren) is available in the 2016 Census Dictionary.
For information on variables related to Relationship in Household (including grandchildren), see data quality statements for Child Type (including grandchildren), Grandparent Families and Relationship in Household.

Household form question image

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

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.