Notes on Dwelling Characteristics

Twelve questions relating to private dwellings were asked of the householder in the 1976 Census. Another three questions on the back of the census schedule were completed by the collector. Questions asked of the householder related to characteristics of the dwelling, while the collector completed questions relating to dwelling structure.

For census purposes, dwellings are divided into two main groups: private dwellings (which may be occupied or unoccupied) and non-private dwellings.

A private dwelling is normally a house or flat, but it can also be a tent, houseboat, or caravan if standing on its own block of land. A tent or caravan is not considered to be a private dwelling if it is occupied by members of a household resident in an adjacent dwelling, i.e. the tent or caravan is considered to be part of that adjacent dwelling.

An occupied private dwelling is defined as the premises occupied by a household on census night. For census purposes, a household is a person or group of persons who live together and eat together as a single domestic unit. It is possible, then, for more than one household to live in one house or structure. For example, a lodger who lives with a family and provides all his food for himself is not a member of the family's household but constitutes a separate household, and therefore completes a separate householder's schedule. Because an occupied dwelling is defined in this way, the number of households and number of occupied dwellings is identical and the number of occupied dwellings in an area, as defined for census purposes, may often be greater than the known number of structures.

An unoccupied private dwelling is a structure built specifically for living purposes and capable of being lived in, but unoccupied at the time of the census. Vacant houses, holiday houses, huts, cabins (other than seasonal worker's quarters) and houseboats are therefore counted as unoccupied dwellings; but vacant tents, garages and caravans (if not normally occupied) are not. Only private dwellings can be classified as unoccupied. Unoccupied dwellings include dwellings vacant because they have been newly completed, dwellings vacant for demolition or repair, holiday homes, dwellings to let and dwellings where the household was absent on census night.

The classification 'Reason unoccupied' (RUN) relates only to unoccupied private dwellings, and is based on the observation of the census collector.

Non-private dwellings(NPDs) are hotels, hostels, non-private boarding houses, gaols, religious and charitable institutions, defence establishments and other communal dwellings. Usually, occupants of such dwellings will be using communal facilities such as hotel dining-rooms or mess halls. A caravan in a caravan park (whether permanently or temporarily located) is treated as part of a non-private dwelling, as are self-contained units provided by commercial enterprises such as hotels, motels or guest-houses.

Separate categories for 'campers out' and 'migratory' are included in the NPD classification.

The dwelling characteristics outlined below are discussed in more detail in Information Paper No. 13 - Dwellings (2125.0).

Bathroom water heating (fuel and power used) derived from answers to question 7BAT
This characteristic is relevant only to occupied private dwellings. Only the main fuel or power used is recorded.

Bathroom- sole or shared use of derived from answers to question 10BTH
This characteristic is relevant only to occupied private dwellings.

Bedrooms-number of derived from answers to question 10BED
This characteristic is relevant only to occupied private dwellings. Output categories are '1-5 bedrooms', '6 or more bedrooms', 'no bedroom', 'not stated' and 'not applicable'.

Building - number of units question H2 NUS
This characteristic is relevant only to occupied private dwellings.

Cooking (fuel or power used) derived from answers to question H7CKG
This characteristic is relevant only to occupied private dwellings, and only the main fuel or power used is recorded.

Date built - private dwelling question H3 DAT
This characteristic is relevant only to occupied private dwellings. Output codes are 'built on or after 30 June 1971', 'built before 30 June 1971', 'not stated' and not applicable'.

Dwelling type question H1 CDW
Individual codes are supplied for types of occupied private dwellings and non-private dwellings. Separate codes are provided for unoccupied private dwellings, other categories (including migratory and campers out) and not stated..

Where the respondent has failed to supply this information, it is imputed on the basis of special rules, a different set of rules applying to private and non-private dwellings. For a private dwelling, the type of structure, sole or shared use of bathroom and kitchen is used to impute the type of dwelling. For a non-private dwelling other information, which may involve referring the query back to the collector responsible, is used to determine the type of dwelling.

Fuel or power used for living room heating derived from answers to question H7HET
This characteristic is relevant only to occupied private dwellings, and only the main fuel or power used is recorded.

Kitchen - sole or shared use of derived from answers to question H10KIT
This characteristic is relevant only to occupied private dwellings.

Lighting - fuel or power used derived from answers to question H17LIT
This characteristic is relevant only to occupied private dwellings, and only the main fuel or power used is recorded.

Material of outer walls question H4 MAT
This characteristic is based on replies supplied by the respondent for all private occupied dwellings. Where more than one material was used in the construction of outer walls respondents were requested to state the main one only; however, where more than one material was stated, the first stated only was recorded.

Mortgage - first monthly payment derived from answers to question H12FST
This characteristic relates only to occupied private dwellings being purchased by any usual member of the household and with at least one mortgage on the dwelling. Amounts are listed in single dollars from $1 to $398, then '$399 and over', 'not stated' and 'not applicable'. Because of price and income changes between censuses, caution must be exercised when making any intercensal comparisons of this item.

Mortgage payments -total monthly derived from answers to question H12ALL
This characteristic relates only to occupied private dwellings being purchased by any usual member of the household and with at least one mortgage on the dwelling. Amounts are listed in single dollars from $1 to $398, then '$399 and over', 'not stated' and 'not applicable'. Because of price and income changes between censuses, caution must be exercised when making any intercensal comparisons of this item.

Mortgages -number held derived from answers to question H12MRT
This characteristic relates only to occupied private dwellings being purchased by any usual member of the household and with at least one mortgage on the dwelling.

Mortgage - other than first (monthly payment) derived from answers to question H12SEC
This characteristic relates only to occupied private dwellings being purchased by any usual member of the household and with at least one mortgage on the dwelling. Amounts are listed in single dollars from $1 to $398, then '$399 and over', 'not stated' and 'not applicable'. Because of price and income changes between censuses, caution must be exercised when making any intercensal comparisons of this item.

Mortgage - source of first derived from answers to question H12ONE
This characteristic relates only to occupied private dwellings being purchased by any usual member of the household and with a mortgage on the dwelling.

Mortgage - source of other than first derived from answers to question H12OTH
This characteristic relates only to occupied private dwellings being purchased by any usual member of the household and with more than one mortgage on the dwelling. Up to three second or further mortgage sources are recorded, but the classification shows a limited number of combinations.

Motor vehicles - number of question H8 VEH
Information on the number of registered motor vehicles owned or used by members of a private household, and garaged at or parked near the dwelling on census night, was requested in question H4. Motor bikes, motor scooters and tractors were excluded but company vehicles kept at home were included.

Nature of occupancy questions H11 and H12 NOC
This characteristic can relate only to occupied private dwellings It combines information on whether a dwelling is owned (subject to mortgage or otherwise) or is rented (furnished or unfurnished, and type of landlord). The nature of occupancy classification distinguishes between 'owner' and 'purchaser' (of dwelling subject to mortgage or contract of sale); where the information provided indicates ownership but is not clear on whether a dwelling is or is not subject to mortgage, the nature of occupancy is coded to owner/ purchaser undefined.

Non-European dwelling identifier computed during processing NED
This characteristic relates only to private dwellings where at least one occupant stated that their race was other than European. The classification of the dwelling is determined by the non-European race of the occupants in the following order of priority - head of household, spouse of head of household, remainder of household in order of enumeration. Thus for example, if the head of the household's race is Aboriginal, then regardless of the race of the other occupants, the dwelling will be labelled Aboriginal. Output codes for this characteristic are 'Aboriginal dwelling', 'Torres Strait Islander dwelling', 'other non-European dwelling' and 'not applicable'.

Occupants of dwelling - number of computed during processingIMD
This characteristic relates to both private and non-private dwellings, and is set to zero for unoccupied private dwellings.

Rent - amount paid per week question H11 RNT
This characteristic relates only to rented occupied private dwellings. Census classifications for RNT are shown by single dollars up to $98, then '$99 and over', 'not stated' and 'not applicable.

Rooms in private dwellings - number of derived from answers to question H10TOT
This characteristic relates only to occupied private dwellings and includes categories for one, two, three etc. up to seven rooms, 'eight rooms or more', 'not stated' and 'not applicable'.

Reason unoccupied collector's question C3 RUN
The characteristic 'reason unoccupied' relates only to unoccupied private dwellings, and is based on the observation of the census collector.

Rural Dwelling question 9 RUR
This characteristic relates to occupied private dwellings only. A rural dwelling is defined as a dwelling situated on a holding of one hectare or more, where the holding is used mainly for agricultural or pastoral purposes. Output codes are 'dwelling not a rural dwelling', 'rural dwelling', 'not stated' and 'not applicable'.

Sewerage disposal - method of question H6 SEW
This characteristic relates to occupied private dwellings only.

Source of water supply question H5 WAT
This characteristic relates to occupied private dwellings only.

Structure of dwelling collector's question Cl STR
The dwelling structure classification is based on replies supplied by the collector through external observations of the structure type of private dwellings.

Use of facilities (bathroom / kitchen) derived from answers to question H10SKB
This characteristic relates to occupied private dwellings and is derived from responses to question H10. Output categories are 'shared bathroom only', 'shared kitchen only', 'shared bathroom and kitchen', 'sole use of bathroom and kitchen', 'all other categories', 'not stated' and 'not applicable'.

 

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