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Census of Population and Housing: Census dictionary
Reference period

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

People who identified themselves, or were identified by another household member, as being of Aboriginal origin, Torres Strait Islander origin, or both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin.

See also Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestries, Indigenous household indicator (INGDWTD), Indigenous status (INGP), Whether reported using an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander language at home (LNGP) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family indicator (INGF).


‘A structured label for any location where one would expect to deliver or receive a good or service’. This is the working definition used by Geoscape Australia, which aims to include all physical addresses, and exclude non-physical addresses such as post office boxes or email addresses.

Addresses are collected in the Census because data is required for key characteristics about where Australians live and work. Addresses are collected to:

  • release accurate data for geographic areas, such as postal areas, states and territories, capital cities, towns, remote areas and many more
  • produce population estimates for regions to help with the distribution of government funds and for electoral purposes
  • help understand how and where people travel to work
  • enable the development of a higher quality ABS Address Register, which is used widely to develop better survey processes, and improve processes and systems for the next Census.

See also Confidentiality and Name and address retention.

Administrative data

Administrative data is information that government departments, businesses and other organisations collect. They collect information for a range of reasons such as:

  • registrations
  • sales
  • record keeping.

Some examples of administrative data:

  • personal income tax information from the Australian Taxation Office
  • information about the number of people who use Medicare from the Department of Health.

The ABS only collects and uses administrative data for statistics and research. We don't share or release this information in a way that could identify anyone.

See also how administrative data was used in the Census.

Adopted child

The Census does not seek to separately identify adopted children. An adopted child is, in most cases, reported as the child of person 1 and/or person 2 in the relationship question, and is coded in the same way as a natural child.

See also Child, Child type (CTPP) and Reference person/Person 1.

Australian born

Australian born includes all people born in Australia, and excludes people:

  • born overseas
  • born at sea
  • whose response was classified 'Inadequately described'
  • whose response was classified 'Not elsewhere classified'

Australia in this definition is as set out in section 2B of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 and for the 2021 Census includes: the six states, the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory, Jervis Bay Territory, and the territories of Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Norfolk Island.

See also Country of birth of person (BPLP).

Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset (ACLD)

ACLD uses data from the Census of Population and Housing to build a longitudinal picture of Australian society. The first release of ACLD was based on a random 5% sample from the 2006 Census, brought together with records from the 2011 and 2016 Census using probabilistic linking methods. 

See also Microdata: Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset.

Australian residents temporarily overseas

The Census counts people in Australia on Census Night, therefore Australian residents temporarily overseas are excluded. However, administrative data for overseas arrivals and departures enable their inclusion in the Estimated Resident Population.

See also Estimated Resident Population (ERP) and Temporarily absent

Average persons per household

Average persons per household (also known as average household size) is the average number of people usually resident in an occupied private dwelling.

This is calculated by taking the sum of the number of persons usually resident in a dwelling for all occupied private dwellings and dividing by the total number of occupied private dwellings. 

The total number of people usually resident in dwellings is calculated from the Number of persons usually resident in dwelling (NPRD). The classification is weighted such that one person receives a weight of one; two people receive a weight of two; and so on until the maximum weight of eight. 

This calculation excludes:

  • dwellings where not applicable responses were found in the Number of persons usually resident in dwelling (NPRD) classification and
  • visitor only, other non-classifiable and not applicable dwellings using the Household composition (HHCD) classification.
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