Skip to content

Homelessness: People without a permanent place to live (2019)

People without a permanent place to live (2019)

The General Social Survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) provides information on the social characteristics, wellbeing and social experiences of people in Australia. The survey aims to provide an understanding of the multi-dimensional nature of relative advantage and disadvantage across the population, and facilitates reporting on people’s opportunities to participate fully in society, including their experiences of being without a permanent place to live.

The survey has been conducted every 4 years since 2002 to 2020. An additional survey was conducted from 15 June to 5 September 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Detailed information is collected about the personal and household characteristics of persons aged 15 years and over in private dwellings throughout Australia (excluding foreign diplomats, members of non-Australian defence forces, visitors, people living in very remote areas and people living in discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities).

In 2019, the survey collected information about the experiences of people aged 15 years and older who had ever been without a permanent place to live. Information from these questions was not collected in the additional 2020 survey, and the data presented here refers to 2019 only. A sample of approximately 3,500 households across the states and territories was included in the 2019 survey to generate estimates and relative standard errors for the Australian resident population.

The General Social Survey includes information on a range of social dimensions such as household income, housing costs and financial statistics, financial stress by household composition, demographic characteristics, transport and mobility, education and employment.

General Social Survey data are also used in the following dashboard menu options: Financial statistics (2014), Financial stress (2014), People with experiences of homelessness (2014) and Households financial characteristics (2020).

See ABS General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia ( for further information, including in-depth commentary and analysis, in particular the source data Quality Declaration. Source reference Data downloads, table 12.