1996 CENSUS OF POPULATION AND HOUSING
FACT SHEET 6
CHANGES TO VARIABLES: 1991 to 1996
HOW THE 1996 CENSUS CLASSIFICATIONS HAVE CHANGED
What has changed:
1. REVISED ABS STANDARD CLASSIFICATIONS: 1991 - 1996
A number of variables used in the 1991 Census have been revised for the 1996 Census. Details of these revisions are provided below including: Variable name, 1991 and 1996 variable code names and brief details of the revisions made.
Occupation: OCCP - OCCP (6 digits available)
Occupation data for the 1996 Census are classified in accordance with the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO) Second Edition (445 categories at unit group level). For the 1991 Census, Occupation was classified according to the First Edition of ASCO (337 categories).
Due to the structural differences between the First and Second Editions of ASCO, 1991 and 1996 Census occupation data are not strictly comparable. A 1991 concordance recode is available which allows comparison at the one-digit level. The publication Australian Standard Classification of Occupations, Second Edition (1220.0 ) also contains a theoretical concordance between FE and SE at the 6-digit level. Finally, clients requiring the more accurate concordances can purchase the ASCO1/ASCO2 Link File product available March 1998.
Industry of employment: INDP - INDP
For the 1996 Census, Industry (INDP) is classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) (ABS Catalogue No.1292.0) (465 classes). The 1991 Census classified INDP to the Australian Standard Industrial Classification (ASIC) (ABS Catalogue No.1201.0) (466 classes). In most cases (close to 70%), there will be one-to-one matching of 1991 and 1996 data. A 1991 concordance recode is available which allows comparison at the one-digit level.
Religion: RELP - RELP
The 1996 Census uses the Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG) (120 categories, compared to 79 categories in 1991). Details of the 1996 classification are in the publication Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups(1266.0).
Language spoken at home: LANP - LANP
This variable identifies any languages other than English spoken at home, and is based on the Australian Standard Classification of Languages (ASCL) (241 categories, compared to 70 categories in 1991). Many languages were coded to finer levels of detail than in 1991. The 1996 Census was also the first census to code Indigenous languages in detail (63 categories - this was only available as a single category in 1991). Details of the 1996 classification are in the publication Australian Standard Classification of Languages(1267.0).
Birthplace of individual: BPLP - BPLP (also applicable to Birthplace of Parents: BPFP, BPMP - BPFP, BPMP)
The Australian Standard Classification of Countries for Social Statistics (ASCCSS) was used to classify birthplace responses for the 1996 Census, using the 1994 Revision 1.03 (277 categories). The current names of countries were used and thus some countries' names will differ from those used in 1991. The 1991 Census classification contained 270 categories and was also coded to the countries' current names at the time of the 1991 Census. Details of the 1996 classification are in the publication Australian Standard Classification of Countries for Social Statistics (1269.0).
2. CONCEPTUAL CHANGES
(Refer to Fact Sheet 4 'Dwelling Counts' for more details on changes to classifications of private and non-private dwellings)
- In 1991, 'Occupied private dwellings' were divided into 'Caravans in caravan parks' and 'Other'. In 1996, there is just one category for all occupied private dwellings.
- Revised ABS standard classifications
- Conceptual changes
- New variables
- Changes to mnemonics
- 1991 variables omitted from 1996
- This variable has a new category 'Partly furnished'. In 1991, the only categories available were 'Fully furnished' and 'Unfurnished'. This caused problems for some respondents who rented partly furnished accommodation and was thought to contribute to the high non-response rate. Hence, the introduction of the new category.
- FUFD: Furnished/Unfurnished
- In 1991, Housing Loan Repayments were collected in ranges, from 'less than $201' to 'more than $1,400'. In 1996, housing payments were collected, and are available, in single dollar amounts, from $1-$9,999. For practical purposes, standard 1996 census products have payments recoded into standard ranges.
- In 1991, Rent was collected in ranges, from 'less than $48' to 'more than $497'. In 1996, rent payments were collected, and are available, in single dollar amounts, from $0-$9,999 in single dollar amounts. For practical purposes, standard 1996 census products have recoded the basic classification into groups.
- the number of response categories was expanded for the 1996 Census: in 1991, there were only three categories for landlord - 'State/Territory housing authority', 'Other government agency' and 'Other'. As most rented dwellings were in the 'Other' category, the number of response categories was expanded for the 1996 Census to improve the usefulness of the data, and now includes:
Private landlord not in same household
Real estate agent
State/Territory housing authority
Community or co-operative housing group
Employer - government
Employer - other
There is no straight fit available between the 1991 and 1996 classifications, with only the State/Territory Housing Authority being directly comparable to the 1991 category of Housing Commission/Authority. For comparison purposes, however, users may consider using the following classification with caution:
- HLRD: Housing Loan Repayments (Monthly)
Employer - government (as a proxy for the '91 category of 'Other Government Agency')
State/Territory housing authority (equivalent to the '91 category of 'Housing Commission/Authority')
Due to changes in form design, Tenure Type is now largely derived from one variable (NOCD was derived from several variables). The number of categories available in 1996 has increased and includes three additional categories:
Being purchased under a rent/buy scheme
Being occupied rent free
Being occupied under a life tenure scheme
For comparison purposes, users may use the following 1996 recode:
Being purchased (incl. Being purchased under a rent/buy scheme)
Rented (incl. Being occupied rent free)
Other (incl. Being occupied under a life tenure scheme)
Other (comprises the 1996 classifications of 'Private landlord', 'Real Estate Agent', 'Community/Co-op', 'Employer - Other' and 'Other')
- TEND: Tenure Type (formerly known as Nature of Occupancy (NOCD))
Unlike 1991, Family and Household income are not calculated where one or more members aged 15 years or over was temporarily absent on Census night, or did not state their income.
- The classification for families was further refined and now contains four levels: basic family type, dependent children, non-dependent children and other relatives. The classification was expanded from 16 categories in 1991 (FMTP) to 32 categories in 1996. The additional categories allowed the identification of 'dependent children' under the new categories of 'Child under 15' and 'Dependent student (15-24)'.
Persons: (Refer to Fact Sheet 5 for information on 'Person Counts')
For the 1991 Census, the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands were classified as External Territories, and people born on either of these islands were classified as overseas-born. For the 1996 Census, these islands together with Jervis Bay, which had been previously linked to the Australian Capital Territory, now comprise a pseudo 'ninth Territory' of Australia. People who were born on either of the islands are now classified as Australian-born.
Overseas visitors are included only in Age, Sex and Marital Status variables for the 1996 Census. Derived counts using these variables (such as Persons enumerated in Private Dwellings) thus also include overseas visitors. A special "overseas visitor" category has been created for the remaining variables. In 1991 there was no special overseas visitor category and overseas visitors were included in standard output.
Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander
- FINF: Family Income and HIND: Household Income
An additional category 'both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander' was included.
Some people born overseas will be Not Applicable to YARP. The applicable population has changed from 'All people born overseas' in 1991 to 'All people born overseas who will be here for one year or more' in 1996. The Year of Arrival question included a new category 'Will be here less than one year' to identify those people who would be here for less than one year.
- ABLP: Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin
There are now two categories for Not Stated, rather than one as in 1991. These categories are:
Not stated (LANP stated, ENGP not stated); and
Not stated (both LANP and ENGP not stated).
- ENGP: Proficiency in English
- The classification was further expanded from 18 categories in 1991 to 30 categories in 1996. The additional categories allowed the identification of natural/adopted, foster or step children through the Relationship variable (although a Child Type variable was still derived).
- The 1996 Census was also the first census to recognise same-sex couples if reported and so there are new categories for same sex relationships in the variable (classified as a same-sex partner in a de facto marriage). The data may not be very reliable, however, as this is the first time it was collected.
- Family reference person is no longer identified in the variable but through another variable (RPIP see below);
- The 1991 category of 'dependent offspring' is now renamed and split into 'Child under 15' and 'Dependent student (15-24)
- Foster children are only coded if so stated on the form.
- Dependent Students are only defined as dependent if they are related to someone in the household.
- RLHP: Relationship in household
- This variable is an indicator of reference person (usually Person one) who is used as the basis for determining the familial and non-familial relationships within the household. This is similar to the 1991 variable HRPP (Household Reference Person), but is expanded to cover family reference persons as well as household reference persons. The household reference person in a multiple family household can be identified as the family reference person in the primary family.
- RPIP: Family/Household Reference Person Indicator
- The applicable population for CTPP now includes all children, including non-dependent children, whereas in 1991 only dependent family children were included.
- In previous censuses, children in secondary families had not been included in the detailed classification.
- The 1991 category of 'dependent offspring' is now renamed and split into 'Child under 15' and 'Dependent student (15-24)'. Dependent children are defined as all family children aged under 15 years of age, or aged 15 to 24 years and a full-time student.
- Foster children are now only coded if so stated on the form. In 1991, assumptions were made that dependent children were foster children if not related to any adults present.
- CTPP: Child Type (formerly known as Offspring Type: OTPP)
- In contrast to the 1991 Census, this variable is now a person variable (as opposed to a family variable).
- Social Marital Status (MDCP) is no longer edited against Registered Marital Status (MSTP) and the number of categories has been reduced.
- An additional category for Aboriginal people participating in the Commonwealth Development Employment Program (CDEP). This information was collected only on the special indigenous interview forms which were only used in selected areas. Thus, the count of people on CDEP is not statistically reliable.
- MDCP: Social Marital Status
- This variable now includes renamed Status in employment categories 'Own account worker' and 'Contributing family worker' as a sub-classification of employed. For the 1991 Census these were termed 'Self-employed' and 'Unpaid Family Helper' respectively.
- Caution should be used when comparing Labour Force Status between 1991 and 1996. Additional questions were introduced in 1996, for the limited liability companies. This was done as 1991 Census data appeared to have overstated the number of employers and understated the number of employees and will affect the comparability of 1991 and 1996 data.
There are now two categories for Not Stated, rather than one as in 1991. These categories are:
Not stated (TYPP stated, STUP not stated); and
Not stated (both TYPP and STUP not stated)
- LFSP: Labour Force Status/Status in Employment
Additional categories were included for Catholic infants/primary and secondary institutions.
- TYPP: Type of educational institution attending
In 1996 this was coded for persons enumerated in study area. For 1991 this was coded for persons enumerated at usual residence in study area.
- DZNP/DZSP: Work Destination Zone/Study Area
- There are new categories 'negative income' and 'nil income'. Negative income refers to situations where, for businesses or rental properties, expenses are higher than income or profits, and the business runs at a loss.
3. NEW VARIABLES FOR 1996
There were three new variables introduced for the 1996 Census:
- INCP: Individual Income (weekly)
- DLOD This variable counts private dwellings classified according to whether they are in caravan parks or marinas, manufactured home estates, retirement villages or other. The majority of private dwellings will appear in the 'other' category.
- TISP This variable counts the number of children ever born to women over the age of 15 years (last asked in 1986).
4. CHANGES TO MNEMONICS
For some classifications which were also used in the 1991 Census, the mnemonics have changed to make them clearer and to bring them into line with ABS standard naming conventions. Please refer to the Census Dictionary (2901.0) page 8 for details.
5. 1991 VARIABLES OMITTED FROM 1996
The following variables have been omitted from the 1996 Census classification, and can be be derived from cross-classifying 1996 Census classifications.
- SLAU1P The 'SLA of Usual Residence one year ago' was not collected in 1991.
Age of female of a couple, sole parent
Age of mother
Age of male of a couple, sole parent
Age of male of a couple, sole parent
Number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in household
Number of dependent offspring present
Number of residents aged 65 years and over
Number of residents aged 75 years and over
Number of residents aged 85 years and over
Number of employed persons in group household
Number of persons not in the labour force, in group household
Number of persons unemployed in group household
Total of resident offspring in household
Number of other offspring
Number of residents
Number of other related individuals
Number of step children of female parent
Number of step children of male parent
Number of unrelated residents
Number of visitors to household
Family income (person attribute)
Family type (person attribute)
Family type of primary family
Family type of secondary family
Family type of third family
Hours worked by female of a couple, sole parent
Hours worked by mother
Hours worked by male of a couple, sole parent
Hours worked by father
Relationship between second and primary families
Relationship between third and primary families
Lone ancestor indicator
Labour force status of female of couple, sole parent
Labour force status of mother
Labour force status of male of couple, sole parent
Labour force status of father
Offspring age groups (family attribute)
Offspring age groups (person attribute)
Age of youngest offspring
Offspring position indicator
Mix of dependent offspring in primary family
Postcode of dwelling
Parental income derivation indicator
Parental income (family attribute)
Parental income (person attribute)
Qualification of female of a couple, sole parent
Qualification of male of a couple, sole parent