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Homelessness: People in other marginal housing

People in other marginal housing

The Census of Population and Housing conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) presents estimates of the prevalence of homelessness and compiles estimates for specific key groups of people who may be marginally housed but who are not classified as homeless.

The Census aims to enumerate all persons in Australia on Census night (with the exception of foreign diplomats and their families). The Census is conducted every five years. In accordance with the ABS statistical definition, there are three marginally housed groups used to present estimates of marginal housing. Persons living in other crowded dwellings are those whose dwelling requires three extra bedrooms to accommodate them according to the Canadian National Occupancy Standard (CNOS). Persons in other improvised dwellings are those who were living in an ‘improvised home, tent, sleepers-out’ who reported being ‘at home’ on Census night or having 'no usual address’ but not classified as homeless according to the definition.

The Census was held on 10 August 2021, when states and territories in Australia were under varied COVID-19 pandemic related restrictions. Measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 included: restrictions to international travel and migration; border control measures for some states and territories; stay at home orders; limits on gatherings; and social distancing rules. A number of state and territory governments also worked with service providers to give temporary accommodation to people sleeping rough - or in crisis situations - to protect them, and the community, from the virus. The homelessness estimates presented reflect the unique accommodation circumstances of those experiencing homelessness at the time of the Census. For more information on state and territory government responses to the pandemic and how Census data was collected during the pandemic,

Census data on the characteristics, geographical distribution and living arrangements of those likely to be homeless are used in the following dashboard menu options: Homeless estimates - personal characteristics, Homeless estimates - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons, Homeless estimates - personal characteristics by operational group, Homeless estimates - main source of income by operational group and Homeless estimates - geography.

See ABS Census of Population and Housing: Estimating homelessness ( for further information, including in-depth commentary and analysis, in particular the source data Quality Declaration. Source table reference Data downloads, Census of Population and Housing: estimating homelessness, table 1.2.