Thursday, October 4, 2007

Counting the Homeless

The 2006 Census is an essential source for data about housing circumstances across Australia, and includes counts of people who were sleeping out, or in refuges on Census night. However, identifying and measuring different types of homelessness can be a complex issue. Definitions of homelessness include primary, secondary, and tertiary homelessness.

The ABS is undertaking specific analysis of Census data to determine the level of homelessness at the time of the 2006 Census. A report on this analysis will be available in 2008. More information about the issues and methodologies relating to homelessness statistics can be found in the Australian Census Analytic Program: Counting the Homeless, 2001 (cat. no. 2050.0).

To access housing characteristics data currently available online: select the 2006 Census Tables product from the Census pages, and choose the topic 'Dwellings' under the 'Location on Census Night' count method option.
Dwelling Structure tables include the category ‘improvised home, tent and sleepers out’.
Type of Non-Private Dwelling by Person tables include categories such as 'hostel for the homeless, night shelter, refuge' and 'boarding house, private hotel'.

It is important to note that although these tables contain data about housing characteristics, homelessness statistics will not be available until the 2006 Counting the Homeless report is released next year.

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