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Census of Population and Housing: Census dictionary
Reference period

Recodes and user defined fields

If the tables available in standard Census products do not meet a user's needs, then user defined customised tables can be created. Customised tables often require the use of recodes, tailored to the user's requirements. Recodes re-group fields in a classification. More complex user defined fields are new fields that can be created based on conditions applied to existing fields. User defined fields can be created from two or more fields in a database or can consist of mathematical functions.

A recode example:

Standard Labour force status classification
1 Employed, worked full-time
2 Employed, worked part-time
3 Employed, away from work
4 Unemployed, looking for full-time work
5 Unemployed, looking for part-time work
6 Not in the labour force
& Not stated
@ Not applicable
V Overseas visitor

Recoded Labour Force Classification

1 Employed
2 Unemployed
3 Not in the labour force
& Not stated

The recoded Labour Force Classification was recoded by:

  • Grouping all employed persons (codes 1, 2 and 3) to be one item called Employed
  • Grouping unemployed persons (codes 4 and 5) to be one item called Unemployed
  • Including Not in the labour force (code 6) and Not stated (code &) as single items
  • Excluding Not applicable and Overseas visitors from the recode.

This recode can now be used with other standard or recoded classifications.

A User Defined Field example:

  • Selecting Registered Nurse from the Occupation classification 
  • Creating a recode for age by grouping ages 25-40.

These two selections can be combined using a User Defined Field function and labelling this as 'Registered Nurses aged 25-40 years'. This could then be used in creating a variety of tables about this group.

Reference person/Person 1

A reference person is usually Person 1 on the Census form and forms the basis of a statistical family. Other household members are linked to the reference person to build the relationships within the household. Sometimes we need to allocate the reference person to a different household member to preserve the data quality of the relationship or family. 

The reference person must be:

  • at least 15 years of age
  • a usual resident of the household
  • at home on Census Night.

See also Understanding Family composition and Grandparent families.

Response rate

Dwellings, people, and item response rates are internationally recognised measures that indicate the quality of Census data. Response rates give an overall indication of the number of responses to the Census, while item response rates are an indicator of a response to specific questions. For more information on response rates and item response, please see Census form and Understanding data quality

The dwelling response rate measures the number of private dwellings that returned a completed Census form, as a proportion of all private dwellings believed to be occupied on Census Night. 

The person response rate measures how many people are included on a returned Census form as a proportion of all people (responding and non-responding) in Australia on Census Night.
See also 2021 Census methodology.

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