Social Marital Status (MDCP)

This variable records a person's relationship status based on their current living arrangements, in terms of whether she or he forms a couple relationship with another person living in the same usual residence and the nature of that relationship.

In the Census, data on the relationships people have with others in the same dwelling, including de facto partnerships or social marriages, is mainly derived from question 5 on the Census Household Form, which asks for each person’s relationship to Person 1 on the form.

Reporting relationships in respect of Person 1 only, can make it difficult to establish all the relationships (including partnerships) which exist in a household. In addition, across the community, a wide variety of living arrangements exists and family structures can be complex and dynamic in nature, and so the identification of all de facto partnership in the Census is partly dependent on people’s ability to describe these relationships within the constraints of the generalised questionnaire format required by a Census. Where relationships information is insufficient to code Social Marital Status (MDCP) then Registered Marital Status (MSTP) may be used to help establish couple relationships. Additional information such as name and usual residence may also be used during data processing to help determine these relationships. Unless a social marriage is identified for a person, they are regarded as "not married".

Person 1 is the 'reference person' for 94.2% of family reference persons and 99.0% of non-family reference persons. In the remaining cases, a more appropriate person on the form is chosen during clerical coding. For example, an adult is chosen rather than a child, or in the event of multiple family households additional reference persons are chosen.

In cases where some members of a household are away from home on Census Night, members of the family nucleus (partners, parents and children) and unrelated persons who were temporarily absent on Census Night (and identified as such in question 53 on the Census Household Form) are taken into account when deriving MDCP. This allows for the further identification of some partnerships.

For more information, see the data quality statements for Relationship in Household (RLHP) and Registered Marital Status (MSTP).

More information on MDCP is available in the 2011 Census Dictionary (cat. no. 2901.0).

Questions 5 and 53 as they appeared on the 2011 Census Household Form

Data for this variable is mainly derived from questions 5 and 53 on the Census Household Form.

Image of question 5 from the 2011 Census
A text only version of this question is also available


Image of question 53 from the 2011 Census
A text only version of this question is also available


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