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Census of Population and Housing: Census dictionary
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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.

Residual categories and supplementary codes

Residual categories in a classification are labelled Not elsewhere classified (nec), Not elsewhere included (nei), Other or Miscellaneous.

These categories are necessary because, although in a classification meaningful categories are created through the application of certain criteria, not all observations can be classified into a homogeneous group, or the size of the observations does not allow them to be separately identified.

Supplementary codes, often called dump codes, are used to process inadequately described responses. Types of supplementary codes include:

Not further defined (nfd)

Not further defined (nfd) codes, sometimes called undefined coded are used to process incomplete, non-specific or imprecise responses which cannot be coded to the most detailed level of a classification, but which nevertheless, contain enough information to allow them to be coded to a higher level of the classification structure. They are not a formal part of a classification.

Not elsewhere classifed (nec)

Not elsewhere classified (nec) categories are a formal part of a classification's structure, and are designed to make a classification complete and exhaustive of all observations in scope. Adequately described, specific responses are coded to nec categories in instances where a suitable substantive category is not included in the classification.

  • Inadequately described, where a response contains insufficient information to be coded to any level of the classification. Inadequately described responses are not a formal part of a classification.
  • Not stated, where no response is provided. Not stated responses are not a formal part of a classification.
  • Not applicable, where the question does not apply to the person and so no response is required (for example, Year of arrival in Australia (YARP) is not applicable for people born in Australia). Not applicable responses are not a formal part of a classification.