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2970.0.55.012 - 2001 Census of Population and Housing - Fact Sheet: Usual Residence, 2001  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/06/2002  First Issue
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Usual Residence

Usual residence data are Census counts based on where people usually lived at the time of the Census. It provides information on the usually resident population of an area, and on the internal migration patterns at the State/Territory and regional levels. The 2001 Census asks three questions on usual residence; where the person usually lives on Census Night, where the person usually lived one year ago and where the person usually lived five years ago.

New for 2001

The 2001 Census is the first Census where usual residence data for Census Night are available at Collection District (CD) level. Previously place of usual residence was only coded to Statistical Local Area (SLA) level. As in the past, if the respondent has given insufficient address information, their SLA of usual residence will be imputed. The CD of usual residence will not be imputed in these cases, but instead will be classified as inadequately described.

Most respondents enumerated at a place other than their usual residence provide sufficient information for their usual residence to be coded to a CD. However, in some cases a code of 'State undefined' or 'Capital City undefined' must be allocated and in some cases no response is given.

If there is inadequate information to allocate a code for usual residence, the CD of a parent (if the person is under 15) or spouse (if the person is 15 or older) is allocated. This is presuming a parent or spouse is recorded on the census form with their usual residence details completed.

Change to usual residence

In 1996, 'usual residence' was defined in the Question 7 notes as:

  • that address at which the person has lived or intends to live for a total of 6 months or more in 1996;
  • for people who now have no usual address, write no usual address; and
  • for boarders at boarding school or college, give the address of the school or college.

For 2001 an additional note was included, 'For persons who usually live in another country and who are visiting Australia for less than one year, mark Other country'.

Change to editing procedures

For the 2001 Census there have been some changes to editing and processing procedures for the variables Usual Address One Year Ago Indicator (UAI1P) and Usual Address Five Years Ago Indicator (UAI5P). These changes will address minor data quality issues identified from the 1996 Census, which affected less than one percent of the population. Further information is available from the 1996 Census fact sheet titled 'Usual Residence Indicator', or by contacting Information Consultancy.

Net movement of people

The information acquired from the answers to the usual residence questions is recorded in the variable Postal Area of Usual Address Census Night (POCUCP), and in the usual residence indicator variables:

  • Usual Address Indicator Census Night (UAICP)
  • Usual Address One Year Ago Indicator (UAI1P)
  • Usual Address Five Years Ago Indicator (UAI5P)

Use of usual residence indicators, make it possible to identify the pattern of net movement of people between three dates, i.e. Census Night, one year ago and five years ago.

SLA of usual residence one or five years ago

If no code can be allocated for SLA of usual residence one or five years ago, a code of Not Stated is given. The only exceptions to this are where the person is 16 or younger (for usual residence one year ago) or 20 years or younger (for usual residence five years ago) and there is a parent present with the appropriate SLA coded. The SLA code of the parent is then allocated to the person.

Usual residence variables

The following usual residence variables are available:

  • CD of Usual Residence Census Night (CDUCP)
  • SLA of Usual Residence Census Night (SLAUCP)
  • SLA of Usual Residence One Year Ago (SLAU1P)
  • SLA of Usual Residence Five Years Ago (SLAU5P)
  • State of Usual Residence Census Night (STEUCP)
  • State of Usual Residence One Year Ago (STEU1P)
  • State of Usual Residence Five Years Ago (STEU5P).


People in transit

On Census Night a number of people were enumerated on board vessels in or between Australian ports or on long-distance trains, buses or aircraft. If they gave an address in Australia as their usual residence, they were coded to the CD containing that address. A small number indicated that they were usually resident at the address at which they were enumerated. They were allocated a separate usual residence code describing them as Migratory.

People in non-private dwellings

If no adequate response is given for usual residence for persons enumerated in Non-Private Dwellings (e.g. hotels, motels, hospitals) the SLA is imputed using population distribution patterns from the 1996 Census. Similar imputation is done for visitors in private dwellings.

Family variables

Family and household structures are based on persons usually resident. Temporarily absent persons are used to classify types of relationships and families existing in a household, but they are not used in the derivation of any other census characteristics or in other census output. If all members of a family are absent from their usual residence, no family records are created for them.

Estimated Resident Population

Usual Residence data are used by the ABS in calculations of the Estimated Resident Population (ERP). The official ABS population estimate, the ERP is also derived from Census data, and is used as the basis for estimating the population at the national, state and local government levels, for electoral purposes and the distribution of government funds.

The ERP is derived from census usual residence counts, by making the following three important adjustments:

  • An adjustment for census underenumeration (or undercount). The level of underenumeration is derived from the Post Enumeration Survey which is conducted soon after the Census, and from estimates based on demographic analysis.
  • The inclusion of an estimated number of Australian residents who are temporarily overseas on Census Night and are therefore not covered by the Australian Census. The number of such people is obtained from statistics on overseas arrivals and departures.
  • The third adjustment occurs because the Census does not fall on 30 June. For example, the 2001 Census was held on 7 August. Back dating of population estimates from 7 August to 30 June is accomplished using data from birth and death registrations, overseas arrivals and departures, and estimates of interstate migration, for the period 1 July to 7 August.

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