Relationship as reported for couples (RLCP)

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


This variable records the partner relationship as it is reported for all couples in an occupied dwelling. It shows the number of people who reported their relationship as being 'husband, wife or partner' or 'de facto partner'.


Persons in Couple families


1Husband, wife or partner as reported, opposite-sex couple
2De facto partner as reported, opposite-sex couple
3Husband, wife or partner as reported, same-sex couple
4De facto partner as reported, same-sex couple
@Not applicable
VOverseas visitor

Number of categories: 6

Not applicable (@) category comprises:

  • Lone Parent and Other Families
  • Persons in Non-family/Non-classifiable households
  • Persons in Non-private dwellings
  • Persons in migratory, off-shore or shipping SA1s

See Understanding supplementary codes for more information.

Question(s) from the Census form

Is the person: Male, Female, Non-binary sex

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

How this variable is created

Data on the relationships people have with others in the same dwelling, including husband/wife or de facto partner, is derived from the Relationship in household and Sex questions on the Census form.

History and changes

This variable was introduced in 2011.

In December 2017, amendments to the Marriage Act 1961 came into effect enabling equality for all couples. The amendments removed references to sex or gender and redefined marriage as 'the union of two people to the exclusion of all others'. Registered marriages reported in Census data releases will include same-sex couples and opposite sex couples only.

In 2021, no changes have been made to the question. However, due to the amendments in 2017, more couples will be able to identify as being in registered marriages.

Data use considerations

Due to the amendments in 2017 to the Marriage Act 1961, more couples may identify in category 3 ‘Husband, wife or partner as reported, same-sex couple’ resulting in higher figures to previous censuses. Conversely, category 4 will decrease.

For this derivation, the binary sex variable (SEXP) is used. Where a respondent has answered the sex question with ‘non-binary sex’ and provided a male or female response, the male or female response will be used to determine the binary sex variable. Otherwise, SEXP will be derived by statistical process using random allocation.

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

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