Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Catalogue Number
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
2050.0.55.002 - Position Paper - ABS Review of Counting the Homeless Methodology, Aug 2011  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 05/08/2011  First Issue
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product  
Contents >> Contents >> Appendix - Methodology

APPENDIX - METHODOLOGY

INTRODUCTION

This Appendix illustrates the differences between the methodology adopted in the ABS review and the methodology that was used in Counting the Homeless, 2006 (CTH). There are four main components to the changes made in the ABS review. These include:

  • corrections to the methodology to conform with what is stated in CTH, and for consistency between 2001 and 2006 estimates;
  • corrections applied to conform with the intent of the Census variable 'usual address';
  • corrections for overlaps (counting the same person more than once) that were present in the CTH methodology; and
  • restricting the reviewed estimates to the use of Census data rather than using either Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) data on support periods or the independently estimated youth homeless numbers (based on Chamberlain and MacKenzie's National Census of Homeless School Students) that were included in CTH.

The use of the Census night estimate of people staying in SAAP, rather than the count of people in support periods that spanned Census night accords with the CTH stated methodology. The correction also allows detailed analysis to be undertaken across all Census variables for this group, rather than being restricted to the smaller set of variable available from the SAAP support period information.

Another correction was to remove overseas visitors or owners and staff in 'non-private dwellings' classified in CTH as boarding houses. The CTH methodology states an intention to exclude these people, however the interaction of the succession of rules used to derive the CTH boarding house numbers did not achieve this intended outcome.

The ABS review removed 'persons' whose records had been completely imputed i.e. where no form was collected and no count was obtained by a Census collector. Without any information recorded about the imputed 'person' it is impossible to conclude any information about them, including whether or not they are homeless, or whether they had been counted elsewhere in the Census.

The use of the usual address question in the Census is designed for and intended to measure mobility, and while a response of 'NONE' to this question may be indicative of a homeless state, its use in CTH to denote only homelessness did not consider other Census variables which have accorded a different interpretation for the circumstances of the enumerated people. The review took a wider set of variables into consideration in judging whether particular groups were more or less likely, on average, to have been homeless on Census night. An example is the CTH classification of homeless persons 'visiting friends and relatives' which includes over 13,000 persons in 'visitor only households'. These persons in visitor only households are either there on their own or with other visitors to the dwelling. There is no friend or relative present who usually resides in the dwelling and the treatment of all persons in these households as homeless in CTH has been reviewed using the additional Census information that is available about their circumstances.

The review has also removed from the CTH boarding house category student dwellings, such as residential colleges, halls of residence, and rural student accommodation, which were incorrectly classified as low income boarding houses.

The ABS has also corrected for minor double counting in the CTH methodology. There were 14 people in the CTH boarding house category who were also included in the CTH improvised dwelling, tent or sleeping out category, and another 154 people in the CTH boarding house category who were also included in SAAP in the Census.

The ABS is continuing to work towards a new methodology which takes into account the corrections discussed above and sets out a clear and consistent methodology for identifying homeless persons in not only the 2006 and 2001 Censuses but also the 2011 Census. The ABS will work with the Homelessness Statistics Reference Group to make any refinements to the initial review findings, including the use of any new external data sources as appropriate.

The tables in this Appendix identify in more detail the differences between the reviewed estimates and CTH estimates within each of the operational groups.


PERSONS WHO ARE IN IMPROVISED DWELLINGS, TENTS OR SLEEPING ROUGH

Homeless Estimates

The following analysis refers to persons enumerated in an improvised home, tent, sleepers out who reported either being at home or having 'No usual address'.


Persons considered to be homeless in ABS reviewed estimates Persons considered to be homeless in CTH

Any person in a dwelling being purchased under a rent/buy scheme, occupied rent free, occupied under a life tenure scheme, 'other' tenure, or without a stated tenure where no one was employed full-time* (5,159 persons)Any person in a dwelling being purchased under a rent/buy scheme, occupied rent free, occupied under a life tenure scheme, 'other' tenure, or without a stated tenure where no one was employed full-time* (5,159 persons)

Any person in a dwelling being occupied rent free, 'other' tenure, or without a stated tenure where at least one person was employed full-time, and the combined income of all persons in the dwelling was either less than $2,000/week or no one reported an income* (599 persons)Any person in a dwelling being occupied rent free, 'other' tenure, or without a stated tenure where at least one person was employed full-time, and the combined income of all persons in the dwelling was either less than $2,000/week or no one reported an income* (599 persons)

Any person who reported having 'no usual address' in a dwelling owned outright where no one was employed full-time* (227 persons)Any person who reported having 'no usual address' in a dwelling owned outright where no one was employed full-time* (227 persons)

Any person in a dwelling owned with a mortgage with reported mortgage repayments of either less than $1,050/month or repayment 'not stated' where no one was employed full-time* (812 persons)Any person in a dwelling owned with a mortgage with reported mortgage repayments of either less than $1,050/month or repayment 'not stated' where no one was employed full-time* (812 persons)

Any person in a dwelling being rented with reported rental payments of either less than $300/week or payment 'not stated' where no one was employed full-time* (962 persons)Any person in a dwelling being rented with reported rental payments of either less than $300/week or payment 'not stated' where no one was employed full-time* (962 persons)

All imputed records (654 persons)

Any person in a dwelling owned outright, owned with a mortgage, being purchased under a rent/buy scheme, being rented, or being occupied under a life tenure scheme where at least one person was employed full-time* (5,051 persons)

Any person in a dwelling being occupied rent free, 'other' tenure, or without a stated tenure where at least one person was employed full-time, and the combined income of all persons in the dwelling was at least $2,000/week* (96 persons)

Any person who reported being 'at home' in a dwelling owned outright where no one was employed full-time* (2,354 persons)

Any person in a dwelling owned with a mortgage with reported mortgage repayments of at least $1,050/month where no one was employed full-time* (382 persons)

Any person in a dwelling being rented with reported rental payments of at least $300/week where no one was employed full-time* (56 persons)

Numbers in this table have been randomly adjusted to avoid the release of confidential data. As a result numbers may not add to the totals.
*The variables 'number of people employed' and 'combined income' do not include visitors who reported a usual address elsewhere. Therefore a person who is visiting the dwelling and who is employed full-time or has an income doesn't impact on the identification of other people in the dwelling as being homeless.


PERSONS IN SUPPORTED ACCOMMODATION FOR HOMELESS

Homeless estimates

The following analysis for the reviewed estimates refers to persons enumerated in dwellings flagged as being supported accommodation, either via the Census list and green sticker strategies, or classified by the Census collector in the non-private dwelling category 'hostels for homeless, night shelter, refuge'.

This category was referred to as 'SAAP Services' in CTH.


Persons considered to be homeless in ABS reviewed estimates Persons considered to be homeless in CTH

Any person in a dwelling flagged as being supported accommodation in Victoria, who reported being neither an overseas visitor nor an 'owner, proprietor, staff and family' (6,399 persons)Any person in a dwelling flagged as being supported accommodation in Victoria, who reported being neither an overseas visitor nor an 'owner, proprietor, staff and family' (6,399 persons)

Any person in a dwelling flagged as being supported accommodation in Australia (excluding Victoria), who reported being neither an overseas visitor nor an 'owner, proprietor, staff and family' (7,526 persons)

Any person, not already included above, who was a 'guest, patient, inmate, other resident' or didn't state their residential status in a 'hostel for the homeless, night shelter, or refuge' (3,406 persons)

Any person in a dwelling flagged as being supported accommodation in Victoria, who reported being an overseas visitor or an 'owner, proprietor, staff and family' (35 persons)

13,413 persons in supported accommodation based on SAAP support period figures.

Numbers in this table have been randomly adjusted to avoid the release of confidential data. As a result numbers may not add to the totals.


PERSONS STAYING TEMPORARILY WITH OTHER HOUSEHOLDS

Homeless estimates

The following analysis for the reviewed estimates refers to persons enumerated in any in private dwelling structure, except an improvised home, tent, sleepers out, who reported having 'No usual address'.

This category was referred to as 'Staying with Friends and Relatives' in CTH.


Persons considered to be homeless in ABS reviewed estimatesPersons considered to be homeless in CTH

Any person who didn't report being overseas the year before the Census visiting a household where one or more families reside, a lone person or group household, or any other non classifiable household (17,580 persons)Any person who didn't report being overseas the year before the Census visiting a household where one or more families reside, a lone person or group household, or any other non classifiable household (17,580 persons)

Any person who didn't report being overseas the year before the Census in a 'visitor only household' where the dwelling structure was 'not stated' (20 persons)Any person who didn't report being overseas the year before the Census in a 'visitor only household' where the dwelling structure was 'not stated' (20 persons)

Any person who didn't report being overseas the year before the Census and was not considered to be a 'grey nomad' in a 'visitor only household' that was a 'caravan, cabin, or houseboat', located in a caravan/residential park or camping ground, and was either being occupied rent-free or rented with 'not stated' rental payments (77 persons)Any person who didn't report being overseas the year before the Census and was not considered to be a 'grey nomad' in a 'visitor only household' that was a 'caravan, cabin, or houseboat', located in a caravan/residential park or camping ground, and was either being occupied rent-free or rented with 'not stated' rental payments (77 persons)

Any person who didn't report being overseas the year before the Census in a 'visitor only household' that was a 'separate house', 'semi-detached, row or terrace house, townhouse etc.', 'flat, unit or apartment', or a 'house or flat attached to a shop, office, etc.', which was being purchased under a rent/buy scheme, occupied rent free, occupied under a life tenure scheme, 'other' tenure, or without a stated tenure (1,509 persons)Any person who didn't report being overseas the year before the Census in a 'visitor only household' that was a 'separate house', 'semi-detached, row or terrace house, townhouse etc.', 'flat, unit or apartment', or a 'house or flat attached to a shop, office, etc.', which was being purchased under a rent/buy scheme, occupied rent free, occupied under a life tenure scheme, 'other' tenure, or without a stated tenure (1,509 persons)

Any person who reported being overseas the year before the Census and either first arrived in Australia before 2006 or didn't state their country of birth, who was visiting a household where one or more families reside, a lone person or group household, or any other non classifiable household (513 persons)Any person who reported being overseas the year before the Census and either first arrived in Australia before 2006 or didn't state their country of birth, who was visiting a household where one or more families reside, a lone person or group household, or any other non classifiable household (513 persons)

Any person who reported being overseas the year before the Census and either first arrived in Australia before 2006 or didn't state their country of birth, who was in a 'visitor only household' that was a 'separate house', 'semi-detached, row or terrace house, townhouse etc.', 'flat, unit or apartment', or a 'house or flat attached to a shop, office, etc.', which was being purchased under a rent/buy scheme, occupied rent free, occupied under a life tenure scheme, 'other' tenure, or without a stated tenure (62 persons)Any person who reported being overseas the year before the Census and either first arrived in Australia before 2006 or didn't state their country of birth, who was in a 'visitor only household' that was a 'separate house', 'semi-detached, row or terrace house, townhouse etc.', 'flat, unit or apartment', or a 'house or flat attached to a shop, office, etc.', which was being purchased under a rent/buy scheme, occupied rent free, occupied under a life tenure scheme, 'other' tenure, or without a stated tenure (62 persons)

Any person who reported being overseas the year before the Census, first arrived in Australia in 2006, and was born in one of the top ten countries for humanitarian settlers in Australia, who was visiting a household where one or more families reside, a lone person or group household, or any other non classifiable household (21 persons)Any person who reported being overseas the year before the Census, first arrived in Australia in 2006, and was born in one of the top ten countries for humanitarian settlers in Australia, who was visiting a household where one or more families reside, a lone person or group household, or any other non classifiable household (21 persons)

Total of 19,782 with a further 203 persons removed due to overlap with other operational groups which leaves 19,579 homeless persons

Any person who reported being overseas the year before the Census and was born in Australia (835 persons)

Any person, not described above, who didn't report being overseas the year before the Census in a 'visitor only household' that was a 'caravan, cabin, or houseboat' (5,748 persons)

Any person who didn't report being overseas the year before the Census in a 'visitor only household' that was a 'separate house', 'semi-detached, row or terrace house, townhouse etc.', 'flat, unit or apartment', or a 'house or flat attached to a shop, office, etc.', which was owned outright, owned with a mortgage, or being rented (4,552 persons)

Any person who reported being overseas the year before the Census and either first arrived in Australia before 2006 or didn't state their country of birth, who was in a 'visitor only household' that was a 'separate house', 'semi-detached, row or terrace house, townhouse etc.', 'flat, unit or apartment', or a 'house or flat attached to a shop, office, etc.', which was owned outright, owned with a mortgage, or being rented (205 persons)

Any person who reported being overseas the year before the Census, first arrived in Australia in 2006, and wasn't born in one of the top ten countries for humanitarian settlers in Australia, who was visiting a household where one or more families reside, a lone person or group household, or any other non classifiable household (775 persons)

Any person, not described above, who reported being overseas the year before the Census and either first arrived in Australia before 2006 or didn't state their country of birth, who was in a 'visitor only household' that was a 'caravan, cabin, or houseboat' (75 persons)

Any person, not described above, who reported being overseas the year before the Census, first arrived in Australia in 2006, and wasn't born in one of the top ten countries for humanitarian settlers in Australia, who was in a 'visitor only household' that was a 'caravan, cabin, or houseboat' (84 persons)

Any person who reported being overseas the year before the Census, first arrived in Australia in 2006, who was in a 'visitor only household' that was a 'separate house', 'semi-detached, row or terrace house, townhouse etc.', 'flat, unit or apartment', or a 'house or flat attached to a shop, office, etc.', and either wasn't born in one of the top ten countries for humanitarian settlers in Australia, or reported that the dwelling was owned outright, owned with a mortgage, or being rented (459 persons)

14,656 youth aged 12 to 18 years.

There is no other information about these people as they are assumed to be homeless by a secondary source.

Numbers in this table have been randomly adjusted to avoid the release of confidential data. As a result numbers may not add to the totals.


PERSONS STAYING IN BOARDING HOUSES

Homeless estimates

The following five rules were created and applied in CTH to determine dwellings that were likely to be boarding houses. These rules were also applied in the Review. Once dwellings were established as boarding houses, persons in the dwelling were identified as likely to be homeless, as outlined in the table below.

1. For non-private dwellings identified by a Census collector as a 'boarding house, private hotel' (Basic rules):
  • Dwellings where less than 60% of all persons who reported being at home or having 'no usual address'; and were a 'guest, patient, inmate, other resident' or didn't state their residential status in the dwelling:
    • had a weekly income of at least $600 OR
    • were employed.

2. For non-private dwellings identified by a Census collector as a 'staff quarters' (Basic rules):
  • Dwellings where less than 60% of all persons in the dwelling were employed
AND
  • Dwellings where at least 60% of all persons in the dwelling had a weekly income of less than $600.

3. For non-private dwellings identified by a Census collector as a 'hotel, motel, bed and breakfast' (Basic rules):
  • Dwellings where at least 20% of all persons in the dwelling reported being at home
AND
  • Dwellings where at least 75% of all persons in the dwelling were unemployed or not in the labour force
AND
  • Dwellings where at least 75% of all persons in the dwelling had a weekly income of less than $600.

4. For non-private dwellings identified by a Census collector as 'other and not classifiable' or 'not stated' (2001 convention):
  • Dwellings where less than 85% of all persons who reported being a 'guest, patient, inmate, other resident' or didn't state their residential status in the dwelling:
    • were 65 years or older AND
    • were studying and stated the type of educational institution they were attending (This excludes persons studying who didn't state the type of institution they were attending).
AND
  • Dwellings where less than 90% of all persons who reported being a 'guest, patient, inmate, other resident' or didn't state their residential status in the dwelling:
    • were under 20 years old AND
    • have a 'stated' religion. (This excludes persons who didn't state a religion or who reported having 'no religion')
AND
  • Dwellings where less than 50% of all persons who reported being a 'guest, patient, inmate, other resident' or didn't state their residential status in the dwelling:
    • were employed.

This rule 4 was designed to classify non-private dwellings, that weren't otherwise classified, as boarding houses, whilst excluding other types of non-private dwellings. The intention was to exclude non-private dwellings which appeared to be: retirement villages and nursing homes; boarding schools, residential colleges and halls of residence; convents, monasteries and other religious institutions; hotels, motels and staff quarters because a majority of their adult residents are employed; and correctional institutions for children (CTH, 2008).

5. For private dwellings classified as a 'group household' (2006 convention):
  • Dwellings with four or more bedrooms or where the number of bedrooms is 'not stated'.
AND
  • Dwellings were the number of 'usual' residents was five or more. (This can include dwellings with up to three people absent on Census night)
AND
  • Dwellings where less than 60% of all persons who reported being at home in the dwelling:
    • were employed AND
    • had a weekly income of at least $600 AND
    • had a need for assistance with core activities AND
    • were either studying at a secondary, tertiary, or other institution, or were employed full-time. (This excludes persons studying at primary or pre schools, and persons that were studying who didn't state the type of institution they were attending)

This rule was designed to reclassify as boarding houses a number of dwellings enumerated as private dwellings. The intention was to exclude private dwellings which appeared to be 'shared households'; working households of unrelated adults; student households and 'mixed' households; and supported accommodation for disabled people (CTH, 2008).

The following table determines which persons enumerated in the dwellings identified in the above rules, were likely to be homeless.

'Selected' dwellings refers to those dwellings that were previously identified as boarding houses using the five rules outlined above.


Persons considered to be homeless in ABS reviewed estimatesPersons considered to be homeless in CTH

Any person who reported being at home or having 'no usual address' and was a 'guest, patient, inmate, other resident' or didn't state their residential status in selected 'boarding houses and private hotels' where the dwelling doesn't appear to be a form of student accommodation (11,375 persons)Any person who reported being at home or having 'no usual address' and was a 'guest, patient, inmate, other resident' or didn't state their residential status in selected 'boarding houses and private hotels' where the dwelling doesn't appear to be a form of student accommodation (11,375 persons)

Any person who was a 'guest, patient, inmate, other resident' or didn't state their residential status in selected 'staff quarters', which have been reclassified as boarding houses where the dwelling doesn't appear to be a form of student accommodation (417 persons)Any person who was a 'guest, patient, inmate, other resident' or didn't state their residential status in selected 'staff quarters', which have been reclassified as boarding houses where the dwelling doesn't appear to be a form of student accommodation (417 persons)

Any person who was a 'guest, patient, inmate, other resident' or didn't state their residential status in selected 'hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts', which have been reclassified as boarding houses where the dwelling doesn't appear to be a form of student accommodation (430 persons)Any person who was a 'guest, patient, inmate, other resident' or didn't state their residential status in selected 'hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts', which have been reclassified as boarding houses where the dwelling doesn't appear to be a form of student accommodation (430 persons)

Any person who reported being at home or having 'no usual address' and was a 'guest, patient, inmate, other resident' or didn't state their residential status in selected 'other and not classifiable' and 'not stated' non-private dwellings, which have been reclassified as boarding houses (3,775 persons)Any person who reported being at home or having 'no usual address' and was a 'guest, patient, inmate, other resident' or didn't state their residential status in selected 'other and not classifiable' and 'not stated' non-private dwellings, which have been reclassified as boarding houses (3,775 persons)

Moved to 'Persons in other temporary lodging' homeless operational group.Any person who reported having 'no usual address', was either unemployed or not in the labour force, had a weekly income of less than $400, and was a 'guest, patient, inmate, other resident' or didn't state their residential status in a 'hotel, motel, and bed and breakfast', not classified as a boarding house above (541 persons)

Moved to 'Persons in other temporary lodging' homeless operational group.Any person who reported having 'no usual address', was not employed full-time, was not in the Defence industry, and was a 'guest, patient, inmate, other resident' or didn't state their residential status in either a' staff quarters', not classified as a boarding house above, or a number of other types of non-private dwellings* (1,426 persons)

Any person who was not an overseas visitor in selected private 'group household's, which have been reclassified as boarding houses (966 persons)Any person who was not an overseas visitor in selected private 'group households', which have been reclassified as boarding houses (966 persons)

Total of 16,963 with a further 135 persons removed due to overlap with other operational groups which leaves 16,828 homeless persons

Any person who reported being an overseas visitor in selected 'staff quarters' and 'hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts', which have been reclassified as boarding houses (14 persons)

This is not consistent with the CTH 'basic rules' which exclude overseas visitors.

Any person who reported being an 'owner, proprietor, staff and family' in selected 'staff quarters 'and 'hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts', which have been reclassified as boarding houses (61 persons)

This is not consistent with the CTH 'basic rules' which exclude owners and staff members.

Any person who reported being an 'owner, proprietor, staff and family' in a 'hotel, motel, and bed and breakfast', not already classified as a boarding house above, having 'no usual address', was either unemployed or not in the labour force, was not a full-time student, and had a weekly income of less than $400 (3 person)

This is not consistent with the CTH 'basic rules' which exclude owners and staff members.

Any person in selected 'staff quarters' and 'hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts', which have been reclassified as boarding houses where the dwelling appears to be a form of student accommodation, such as a residential college or hall of residence (224 persons)

This is not consistent with the CTH 2001 and 2006 conventions which attempt to exclude student households.

Any person who was an overseas visitor in selected private group households, which have been reclassified as boarding houses (34 persons)

This is not consistent with the CTH 'basic rules' which exclude overseas visitors.

Any person in a private 'group household', not selected above, which has still been reclassified as a boarding house. (2,330 persons)

These include:
  • Caravans, cabins, or houseboats.
  • Dwellings with a landlord type of real estate agent, parent/relative not in the same household, state or territory housing authority, or government employer (includes Defence Housing Authority).
  • Dwellings with a tenure type of owned, either outright or with a mortgage, or being purchased under a rent/buy scheme.
  • Dwellings located in a caravan/residential park or camping ground, marina, manufactured home estate, or retirement village.
  • Dwellings where at least 60% of all persons who reported being at home in the dwelling were either studying full-time or part-time, or were employed full-time.
  • Dwellings with less than three people actually enumerated on Census night.
  • Dwellings where all persons did not state their income, labour force status, need for assistance with core activities, type of educational institution attending, and the number of bedrooms in the dwelling.
  • Dwellings where all persons were volunteer workers.
  • Dwellings where all persons reported being overseas in 2001, didn't state their usual address in 2001, or were an overseas visitor in 2006. This excludes dwellings where all persons didn't state their usual address in 2001.

A number of these are not consistent with the stated CTH methodology.

Numbers in this table have been randomly adjusted to avoid the release of confidential data. As a result numbers may not add to the totals.
*The other types of non-private dwellings include residential college, hall of residence; public hospital; private hospital; psychiatric hospital or institution; hostel for the disabled; corrective institution for children; other welfare institution; prison, corrective institution for adults; immigration detention centre; and convent, monastery, etc.


PERSONS IN OTHER TEMPORARY LODGING

Homeless estimates


Persons considered to be homeless by the ABSPersons considered to be homeless by CTH

Any person who reported having 'no usual address', was either unemployed or not in the labour force, was not a full-time student, had a weekly income of less than $400, and was a 'guest, patient, inmate, other resident' or didn't state their residential status in a hotel, motel, and bed and breakfast, not already classified as a boarding house above* (541 persons)

Any person who reported having 'no usual address', was not employed full-time, was not in the Defence industry, was not a full-time student, and was a 'guest, patient, inmate, other resident' or didn't state their residential status in either a staff quarters, not already classified as a boarding house above, or a number of other types of non-private dwellings* (1,426 persons)

Numbers in this table have been randomly adjusted to avoid the release of confidential data. As a result numbers may not add to the totals.
* They were classified as Persons in Boarding Houses in CTH.



Previous PageNext Page

Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window


Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.