Count of all children in family (CACF)

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


This variable counts the number of dependent and non-dependent children in the family. It includes up to three children who were temporarily absent from the household on Census Night.


Families with children in family households


Code Category
1One child in family
2Two children in family
3Three children in family
4Four children in family
5Five children in family
6Six or more children in family
@Not applicable

Number of categories: 7

Not applicable (@) category comprises:

  • Couples in families with no children
  • Other families
  • Non-family/Non-classifiable households
  • Unoccupied private dwellings
  • Non-private dwellings
  • Migratory, off-shore and shipping SA1s

Question(s) from the Census form

What is Person 2's relationship to Person 1?

What is Person 1's date of birth?

Is Person 1 attending a school or any other education institution?

For each person away, complete the following questions:

How this variable is created

This variable is created from the relationship in household, age, attendance at an educational institution and persons temporarily absent (PTA) questions on the Census form.

Children present in the household are counted if they are part of the family and are classified as one of the following Relationship in household (RLHP) categories:

  • children under 15 (categories 31-36)
  • dependent student (categories 41-43)
  • non-dependent child (categories 51-53)

Children who are absent from the household on Census Night are counted from responses to the PTA questions. The responses are first categorised based on age and student status and then counted in this variable. The three temporarily absent child variables are:

  • Count of dependent children under 15 temporarily absent (CDCAF)
  • Count of dependent students (15-24 years) temporarily absent (CDSAF)
  • Count of non-dependent children temporarily absent (CNDAF)

History and changes

This variable was first introduced in 2011.

No changes have been made for 2021.

Data use considerations

Care should be taken when comparing this variable to other family data from within the ABS or external organisations or agencies. The definition of a family can differ between different statistical collections and may not match Census definitions.

This variable does not have a non-response rate as it is created during Census processing by using responses from more than one question on the Census form. 

Related variables and glossary terms

  • Count of dependent children under 15 in family (CDCUF)
  • Count of dependent children in family (CDCF)   
  • Count of dependent students in family (15 – 24 years) (CDSF)
  • Count of non-dependent children in family (CNDCF)
  • Relationship in household (RLHP)
  • Child
  • Family
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