Type of educational institution attending (TYPP)

Latest release
Census of Population and Housing: Census dictionary
Reference period


This variable records the type of education institution being attended by people who are full-time or part-time students. The category covers preschool through to tertiary institutions. Information on whether a person is attending an education institution is essential for education and labour market planning. It is also used to identify dependent children in family coding.


Persons attending an education institution


21Primary - Government
22Primary - Catholic
23Primary - other non-Government
29Primary – not further defined
31Secondary - Government
32Secondary - Catholic
33Secondary - other non-Government
39Secondary – not further defined
41Tertiary - vocational education (including TAFE and private training providers)
42Tertiary – university or other higher education
49Tertiary – not further defined
&&Not stated
@@Not applicable
VVOverseas visitor

Number of categories: 16

Not applicable (@@) category comprises:

  • Persons not attending an education institution

See Understanding supplementary codes for more information.

Question(s) from the Census form

On the online form the type of education institution attending question is split into two parts. When a respondent selects either 'Primary', 'Secondary' or 'Tertiary institution' they are presented with a second question to described the education institution in more detail. 

What type of education institution is the person attending?

How this variable is created

This variable is collected from mark box responses to the Type of education institution question on the Census form. Respondents are asked to mark only one response. In cases where respondents mark more than one response, they are accepted in the order they appear on the form and the extra responses are rejected.

History and changes

Questions relating to current education institution were first asked in the 1911 Census and have been asked at most censuses since then, though the amount of detail asked has varied.

In 2021, output categories have been changed to reflect the question wording changes:

  • 'Infants' has been removed from the Primary categories
  • 'Technical or Further Educational Institution (including TAFE Colleges)' has been changed to 'Tertiary - Vocational education (including TAFE and private training providers)'
  • 'University or other Tertiary Institution' has been changed to 'Tertiary - University or other higher education'

Primary, secondary and tertiary not further defined fields have been added (categories 29, 39, 49) as this question is in two parts on the online form. The not further defined fields will get populated when a person only answers if they are attending an institution but does not specify the type, e.g. Catholic.

To further emphasise attendance at preschool, the question relating to attendance at a school or an education institution has changed on the online form. For people in the household aged six and under, the question asks, ‘Is the person attending a preschool, school or other education institution?’.

For 2021, a question instruction was added to the online form to provide guidance to people in COVID-19 affected areas on Census day. Additional instructions were also added to the Census website – see Data use considerations for more details.

Data use considerations


A number of regions across the country were in various stages of COVID-19 lockdowns on Census day, and the week preceding it, resulting in a greater number of students being educated from home. Guidance on how to correctly respond was provided at the time on the Census website, as follows: 

'If you or your child are currently learning from home due to COVID restrictions, please answer the questions reflecting the school or other educational institution you or your child would normally attend.'


Users of the data on preschool attendance should be aware that some children who are in childcare may be included in the preschool figures. This has been identified as a problem with interpretation of categories by respondents. See the History and changes section for new instructions for 2021 to help resolve this misunderstanding.

The non-response rate for Type of educational institution attending (TYPP) was 0.8% in 2021. This is a decrease from 2.7% in 2016. This rate is lower than most Census variables as it is only applicable to persons who answered they are a student to the previous question (Full-Time/Part-Time Student Status).

Related variables and glossary terms

  • Full-time/part-time student status (STUP)
  • Educational institution: attendee status (TYSTAP)
  • Attainment of Certificate III or higher or working towards a non-school qualification (C3SP)
  • People with or working towards a non-school qualification (WTNSQP)
  • Derivation
  • Imputation
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