Count of persons temporarily absent from household (CPAD)

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


This variable counts the total number of people who were reported as temporarily absent from the household. A maximum of three people can be reported and coded as temporarily absent.


Family and group households


0No persons temporarily absent from household
1One person temporarily absent from household
2Two persons temporarily absent from household
3Three persons temporarily absent from household
@Not applicable

Number of categories: 5

Not applicable (@) category comprises:

  • Lone person households
  • Visitor only households
  • Other non-classifiable households
  • Unoccupied private dwellings
  • Non-private dwellings
  • Migratory, off-shore and shipping SA1s

Question(s) from the Census form

For each person away, complete the following questions:

How this variable is created

This variable is derived from the persons temporarily absent (PTA) questions on the Census form. The count includes:

  • husbands/wives
  • de facto partners
  • unrelated flatmates or co-tenants
  • children (i.e. dependent children under 15 years, dependent students (15-24 years) and non-dependent children).

History and changes

This question was first asked in the 1986 Census.

No changes have been made for 2021.

Data use considerations

This data is subject to a family coding process so that only those persons who form a Family group (that is partners, children and grandchildren aged under 15 years), and Unrelated persons living in group households are included. Family members who are not identified as members of the Family group are not included in Count of persons temporarily absent from household.

Usual residents may not be included in the household’s Census form because they were away from the dwelling on Census Night. In this case they should be included in the Persons temporarily absent section of the form. This can occur in both Family and Group households. Due to form limitations, a maximum of three people can be reported and coded as Temporarily absent from the dwelling. If more than three people are absent from the household, the additional people are unable to be included on the form.

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 temporarily absent (CDCAF)   
  • Count of dependent students (15 – 24 years) in family temporarily absent (CDSAF)
  • Count of non-dependent children in family temporarily absent (CNDAF) 
  • Temporarily absent
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