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Census of Population and Housing: Census dictionary
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A parent is a natural, adoptive, step, foster mother or father of a child, or a person who is assigned as a nominal parent. This person must be usually resident in the same household as the child.

See also Child, Family, Family composition (FMCF), Nominal child and Relationship in household (RLHP).

Parent-child relationship

The existence of a parent-child relationship is one of the foundations on which separate families and particular family composition categories are identified. It only refers to relationships between people usually resident in the same household. It includes relationships in which people actually report a parent-child relationship on the Census form (including being an adopted child or a foster child of an adult), as well as some designated relationships (i.e. for children aged less than 15 years who do not otherwise have a parent in the household, in which case a nominal parent/child relationship is established).

An individual may be both a parent and a child of other people in the household. For example, a person could live with their father or mother and have a child of their own. If a child in a household is also identified as being a parent, then precedence is given to the person's role as a parent for family composition coding purposes.

See also Child, Family, Family composition (FMCF), Number of children ever born (TISP) and Parent.


A person identified as being in a couple relationship with another person usually resident in the same household is a partner. The couple relationship is established through reporting of either a registered or de facto marriage and includes same-sex couples.

See also Marital status and Same-sex couple.

Part-time work

A person is considered to be working part-time if they worked less than 35 hours in all jobs during the week prior to Census night. This is consistent with the definition of employed part-time in the Labour Force, Australia publication.

See also Labour force status (LFSP) and Hours worked (HRSP).

Personal form

The Census personal form (online or paper) records details for one person only. It contains the same questions as the Census household form but excludes the questions related to the dwelling. It is used for people staying in a non-private dwelling such as a hotel, motel, hostel, or nursing home. It may also be used when a private dwelling requests an additional form (e.g. large households or if an individual wants to keep their responses private) and the household has already completed a household form.

To view a PDF version of the Census personal form, see Sample copies of the 2021 Census paper forms.

See also Household form and Form type (FTCP).

Place of enumeration

The place of enumeration is the place at which the person is counted on Census Night, which may not be where they usually live.

The population count for place of enumeration is a count of every person, who spends Census Night in Australia, based on where the person is counted. It includes people on board vessels in or between Australian ports, or on long-distance trains, buses, or aircraft. This count is also known as a de facto population count.

People entering Australia from overseas before midnight on Census Night are counted where they stayed on Census Night. Visitors to Australia are counted regardless of how long they have been in the country or how long they plan to stay. Australian residents in Antarctica are also within the scope of the Census.

People leaving an Australian port for an overseas destination before midnight on Census Night are not counted in the Census. Australian residents out of the country on Census Night, and overseas diplomatic personnel and their families in Australia are out of the scope of the Census.

This type of count provides a snapshot of the population in any given area. Although the Census is timed to attempt to capture the typical situation, holiday resort areas, such as the Gold Coast and snow fields, may show a large enumeration count compared with the usual residence count.

See also Comparing Place of enumeration with Place of usual residence and Place of usual residence (PURP).

Post Census Review (PCR)

Since the 1966 Census, each Census has been followed by a Post Census Review Survey (PCR), conducted by specially trained interviewers. This is also known as a Post Enumeration Survey (PES). A sample of over 40,000 private dwellings is collected in the survey from all states and territories.

The main purpose of the PCR is to measure the extent of undercount and overcount in the Census. This is achieved by asking respondents where they were on Census night, and whether they were or might have been included on a Census form. At each of these addresses, their personal information is matched to any corresponding Census forms for these addresses to determine whether a person was counted, was counted more than once, or was not counted at all.

Results obtained in the PCR are used to adjust Census counts in the calculation of Estimated Resident Population (ERP) figures for Australia. The results also provide an assessment of the coverage of the Census and are used to inform improvements for future censuses.

See also Estimated Resident Population (ERP) and Undercount and/or underenumeration.

Post Enumeration Survey (PES)

The Post Enumeration Survey (PES), also known as the Post Census Review Survey (PCR), is a measure of the extent of undercount and overcount in the Census.

For more information, see Post Census Review (PCR).

See also Estimated Resident Population (ERP) and Undercount and/or underenumeration.

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