Family household composition (dwelling) (HCFMD)

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


This variable counts the types of families within family households at the dwelling level. In multiple family households, only the family composition of the primary family is recorded.


Occupied private dwellings


1One family household
11One family household: Couple family with no children
12One family household: Couple family with children
13One family household: One parent family
14One family household: Other family
2Multiple family household
21Two family household: Couple family with no children
22Two family household: Couple family with children
23Two family household: One parent family
24Two family household: Other family
25Three or more family household: Couple family with no children
26Three or more family household: Couple family with children
27Three or more family household: One parent family
28Three or more family household: Other family
3Other household
31Lone person household
32Group household
33Visitors only household
34Other non-classifiable household
@@Not applicable

Number of categories:

  • One digit level: 3
  • Two digit level: 17

Not applicable (@@) category comprises:

  • Unoccupied private dwellings
  • Non-private dwellings
  • Migratory, off-shore and shipping SA1s

Question(s) from the Census form

What is the person’s relationship to Person 1/Person 2?

For each person away, complete the following questions:

How this variable is created

This variable uses information collected from the Relationship in household and the Persons temporarily absent questions on the Census form.

Family and Household structures are identified during Census data processing and are created around a family or household reference person. This variable is derived from the Family composition (FMCF) and Household composition (HHCD) variables.

History and changes

This variable was first introduced in 2011.

No changes have been made for 2021.

Data use considerations

Across the community, a wide variety of living arrangements exist with complex family structures. The quality of family data in the Census is partly dependent on people’s ability to describe these relationships within the constraints of the generalised questionnaire format required by a Census. Reporting relationships in respect of 'Person 1' only, can make it difficult to establish all the relationships which exist in a household, or to identify whether more than one family is living in the dwelling.

A maximum of three families can be coded to a household. Lone person households can contain visitors. Visitor only households can contain overseas visitors.

The 'Other not classifiable' category consists mainly of occupied dwellings where a form was not received. It also includes households:

  • Which the ABS Field Officer determined were occupied on Census Night but where the ABS Field Officer could not make contact
  • That contained only persons aged under 15 years
  • Which could not be classified elsewhere in this classification because there was insufficient information on the Census 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

  • Family composition (FMCF)
  • Household composition (HHCD)
  • Family household composition (family) (HCFMF)
  • Relationship in household (RLHP)
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