In the 2011 Census a two-page shortened version of the Census form was used to enumerate anyone who was sleeping out, or staying in a squat or improvised dwelling, and was unlikely to be completing a Census form at a hostel, refuge or other accommodation.

Previously, these people were treated as being usually resident at their place of enumeration and were coded as lone person households.

In 2011, since these people are known to move regularly from place to place and therefore have no usual residence, they were treated as having 'no usual address' rather than being 'at home' on Census Night. The place of enumeration for these people could be a soup kitchen or on the street, so they were coded as 'visitor-only households' under Household Composition (HHCD) instead of 'lone person households'.

Their dwelling structure (STRD) has not changed and is coded as 'Improvised home, tent, sleepers out'. This classification also includes other people who do have a usual address – for example, people who occupy a shed or tent on a permanent or semi-permanent basis, and people who are on holiday. The number of people with dwelling structure coded as 'Improvised home, tent, sleepers out' is not affected by this change.

However, in some Census products such as Community Profiles, this dwelling structure is cross-classified against other dwelling variables that exclude visitor-only households – such as Number of Persons Usually Resident (NPRD) – and in such cases there will be a drop in the numbers from 2006. For example, table 15 in the Time Series Profile (Dwelling structure by number of persons usually resident) excludes visitor-only households and shows an apparent drop in 2011 in numbers for 'Improvised home, tent, sleepers out' since 2006.

Time Series Profile – Australia – Table 15 – Dwelling structure by number of persons usually resident
Dwelling structure 2011 2006 2001
Improvised home, tent, sleepers out 3,824 8,790 6,832

Approximately 3340 of the people who are excluded from the 2011 total are accounted for by the changed enumeration strategy.

The coding procedures for these people in 2011 can be summarised as follows:

Unchanged in 2011:
  • Dwelling Location (DLOD) = 'Other'
  • Dwelling Type (DWTD) = 'Occupied private dwelling'
  • Dwelling Structure (STRD) = 'Improvised home, tent, sleepers out'
  • Relationship in Household (RLHP) = 'Visitor'

Changed in 2011:
  • Usual Address Indicator Census Night (UAICP) = Elsewhere
  • Place of Usual Residence (PURP) = 'No usual address'
  • Household Composition (HHCD) = 'Visitor only'
  • Family Composition (FMCF) = 'Not applicable'