Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Catalogue Number
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
2901.0 - Census Dictionary, 2011  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/05/2011   
   Page tools: Print Print Page RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product  
2011 Census Dictionary >> Glossary >> Marital status


Marital status

There are two variables that may be used to identify a person's marital status: Registered Marital Status (MSTP) and Social Marital Status (MDCP).

Registered Marital Status (MSTP) reports responses to the question 'What is the person's present marital status?' and refers to the legal status of the person, and not necessarily his/her current living arrangement.

The output categories are:
    • Never married;
    • Widowed;
    • Divorced;
    • Separated; and
    • Married.
Social Marital Status (MDCP) reports responses to two questions: 'What is the person's relationship to Person 1/Person 2?' and ‘What is the person’s present marital status?’. The output categories are:
    • Married in a registered marriage;
    • Married in a de facto marriage; and
    • Not married.
A response of husband/wife to the relationship question and a response of married to the present marital status question is required for a person to be classified as ‘Married in a registered marriage’ in the Social Marital Status classification. A response of husband/wife to the relationship question with any other response to the present marital status question results in a person being classified as ‘Married in a de facto marriage’.

In previous censuses, a response of husband/wife to the relationship question alone resulted in a person being classified as 'Married in a registered marriage', regardless of that person's response to the question about present marital status.

Married de facto: A de facto marriage exists when the relationship between two people (of the same or opposite sex, who live together in the same household), is reported as either: de facto, partner, common law husband/wife/spouse, lover, boyfriend, or girlfriend.

Married Registered: A registered marriage may be reported in both the Registered Marital Status (MSTP) variable ('married'), and the Social Marital Status (MDCP) variable ('married in a registered marriage').

The counts of people in registered marriages differ depending on which variable is being used. For a detailed discussion of this variation see Married registered.

Not Married: The term not married, as used in the Social Marital Status (MDCP) classification, refers to a person who is not living with another person in either a registered marriage or a de facto marriage. This includes persons who live alone, with other family members, and those in shared accommodation. It should be noted that Social Marital Status (MDCP) is only applicable to those usually resident and present in the household on Census Night (i.e. not applicable to those in non-private dwellings), while Registered Marital Status (MSTP) is applicable to all persons aged 15 years and over.

See also Married registered, Registered Marital Status (MSTP), Relationship in Household (RLHP), Social Marital Status (MDCP).




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.