Number of motor vehicles (ranges) (VEHRD)

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


This variable records the number in ranges of registered motor vehicles owned or used by household members that were garaged or parked at or near private dwellings on Census Night. It includes vans and company owned vehicles and excludes motorbikes, scooters and heavy motor vehicles.


Occupied private dwellings


0No motor vehicles
1One motor vehicle
2Two motor vehicles
3Three motor vehicles
4Four or more motor vehicles
&Not stated
@Not applicable 

Number of categories:  7

Not applicable (@) comprises:

  • Unoccupied private dwellings
  • Non-private dwellings
  • Migratory, off-shore and shipping SA1

Question(s) from the Census form

How many registered motor vehicles owned or used by residents of this dwelling were garaged or parked at or near this dwelling on the night of Tuesday 10 August 2021?

How this variable is created

Number of motor vehicles (ranges) is a dwelling variable created from the number of motor vehicles owned or used question. Data for this variable is captured automatically from a written numeric response or by marking the 'None' mark box on the paper form.

This variable groups responses to this question, with 1 to 3 motor vehicles available singly, then responses of 4 or more motor vehicles coded into the grouped category of 'Four or more motor vehicles'.  The related variable Number of motor vehicles (VEHD) groups these responses differently, with single fields for values from 0 to 29, and values of 30 or more grouped together. 

History and changes

This variable was first introduced in 1966. The question has remained in all subsequent Censuses.

In 2001 this question also asked for the number of motorbikes and motor scooters. In 2006, asking for motorbikes and motor scooters was removed because of their lesser impact on the transport system.

In 2021, additional instructional text was added to exclude heavy motor vehicles. This was done to better clarify the existing definition of a motor vehicle.

Data use considerations

Governments and councils use information from this question to plan transport infrastructure and services. Motorbikes and motor scooters are excluded from this question because of their lesser impact on the transport system. The question also excludes heavy motor vehicles (over 4.5t GVM). Tractors, boats and caravans are also not included.

The data may include a small proportion of dwellings with unusually large numbers of vehicles, as all numeric responses are accepted as reported.

This variable is derived from Number of motor vehicles (VEHD). The non-response rate for Number of motor vehicles (VEHD) was 5.4% in 2021. This is a decrease from 8.4% in 2016. 

Related variables and glossary terms

  • Number of motor vehicles (VEHD)
  • Place of usual residence (PURP)
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