The housing snapshot is an experimental product that uses integrated administrative data to provide a snapshot of Australia’s housing at a point in time. It does not replace Estimated Dwelling Stock (EDS) or provide as much detail as the Census of Population and Housing.
The Census defines a dwelling as a structure which is intended to have people live in it, and which is habitable on Census Night. Examples of dwellings are houses, motels, flats, caravans, prisons, tents, humpies and houseboats.
EDS is based on adjusted counts from Census, and includes all dwellings defined in the Functional Classification of Buildings. This excludes all non-private dwellings and temporary dwellings such as short-stay caravans or houseboats that are recorded in the Census.
Conceptually, the housing snapshot aims to capture a similar scope as EDS, all permanent and fixed structures intended for long-term residential use. Like EDS, the scope of the housing snapshot is private, residential dwellings. Non-private dwellings are currently excluded, as information about people living at these dwellings is incomplete in the population snapshot.
Coverage refers to the extent to which a concept has been accurately captured according to the defined scope. For example, the Census aims to count every dwelling in Australia on Census night. If the Census misses some dwellings or counts some dwellings more than once then this would constitute coverage error in the count.
Comparisons between the housing snapshot and EDS below (Chart 2) show very similar counts of dwellings at the national and state/territory level, with slightly higher counts in the housing snapshot.
Differences at the SA2 and LGA level are more substantial and indicate some trends of over- and under-coverage in the snapshot. Chart 6 in the comparisons further below shows that this over- and under-coverage tends to occur in some outback and inner-city areas.
There is an apparent misclassification of dwellings on the housing snapshot (Chart 3) where the housing snapshot has an under-count of townhouses and an over-count of houses and apartments compared with EDS.
Updates to administrative records continue to occur over time, and hence the quality and completeness of a housing snapshot improves as the time between the reference date and the derivation of the snapshot increases.
To support the 2021 Census, a housing snapshot for 30 June 2021 was created around September 2021, approximately three months after the snapshot date. While this snapshot was suitable for supporting the Census, the information available was less up to date and complete, particularly for people from the population snapshot where updates can be lagged by several months. The population snapshot used for this release was extracted 12-18 months after the Census, so its quality and completeness is greater.
There are similar trade-offs between timeliness and completeness with Census data outputs. The earliest results from the Census are released 9 months after the reference date, and more enriched data is released 15 months after the Census.