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Glossary and references



The length of time a person has been alive, measured in complete elapsed years (see also the statistical standard for age).

Child(ren) in a family nucleus

To be a child in a family nucleus, a person must have usual residence with at least one parent, and have no partner or child(ren) of their own living in the same household. Note that child(ren) in a family nucleus can be a person of any age. See the statistical standard for child dependency status. For the purposes of the household composition classification, only children in a family nucleus are counted as children.


Two people who are partnered only with each other. See partnered. There are three types of couples: opposite-sex, male and female. For the purposes of the household composition classification a couple must have usual residence in the same household.


A dwelling is any building or structure, or part thereof, that is used (or intended to be used) for the purpose of human habitation. It can be of a permanent or temporary nature and includes structures such as motels, hotels, hospitals, prisons, motor homes, huts, and tents. At the highest level, dwellings are classified as private or non-private. A private dwelling accommodates a person or a group of people, but is not available to the public.

A private dwelling may be permanent or temporary. Permanent private dwellings include houses and flats, residences attached to a business or institution; baches, cribs and huts. Caravans, cabins, tents and other makeshift dwellings that are the principal or usual residence of households are classified as temporary private dwellings.

All other dwellings, used for human habitation (or intended to be used), are non-private and are available to the public. They may be available for use generally, or by virtue of occupation or study, special needs, or legal requirements, ie prisons. Such dwellings may have facilities (such as a dining room) that are for shared use.

Familial relationship

A relationship in which a person is related to another person by birth/biology, or by registered marriage or civil union, de facto relationship, fostering or adoption.

Family nucleus

A couple, with or without child(ren), or one parent and their child(ren), all of whom have usual residence together in the same household. The children do not have partners or children of their own living in the same household.

Family type

The derived variable that classifies family nuclei according to the presence or absence of couples, parents and children. See the statistical standard for family type.


One person who usually resides alone or two or more people who usually reside together and share facilities (such as eating facilities, cooking facilities, bathroom and toilet facilities, a living area).

Living arrangements

A person’s relationships (familial and non-familial) to all of the people with whom they usually reside in a private dwelling. See the statistical standard for living arrangements.

Non-familial relationship

The relationship between people who are not related to one another by birth/biology, or by registered marriage or civil union, de facto relationship, fostering or adoption.


The mother, father (birth/biological, adopted, or step-), or ‘person in a parent role’ of a ‘child in a family nucleus’. A ‘person in a parent role’ is a person who is not a mother or father (birth/biological, adopted or step-) of the child, but who nevertheless usually resides with that child. The child does not have a partner or child of their own and does not usually reside with their mother or father (birth/biological, adopted or step-). A person in a parent role can be considered a parent according to current social norms regarding parenting. The specific criteria as to who is included or excluded from being a ‘person in a parent role’ should be defined by the survey.


A person with whom another person is:

  • married to or in a civil union with, or
  • in a de facto relationship with.

Civil unions and de facto relationships include both same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples.

People in a parent role

See parent.

Related people

People who have a familial relationship. See familial relationship.

Relationship between household members

Relationship between household members in a private dwelling is a variable that collects the familial and non-familial relationships of each person:

  1. to every other person usually resident in a private dwelling (relationship matrix), or
  2. to one person in a defined group of people (the reference person).

It identifies and classifies the key relationships between persons usually resident in a dwelling and/or visitors in a dwelling on the survey night.

Unrelated people

People who have a non-familial relationship. See non-familial relationship.

Usual residence

Usual residence is the address of the dwelling where a person considers himself or herself to usually reside, except in the specific cases listed in the guidelines. It is recommended that these guidelines be followed in the cases where usual residence is not self-defined.

  1. Dependent children who board at another residence to attend primary or secondary school, and return to their parent’s(s’) or guardian’s(s’) home for the holidays, usually reside at the address of their parent(s) or guardian(s). Tertiary students usually reside at the address where they live while studying. If they give up their usual residence in the holidays (eg terminate the lease on a flat or give up their hostel room) and return to their parent/ caregivers' home during the holidays their usual residence over that period would be their parent/caregivers' home.
  2. Children in shared care usually reside at the place where they spend more nights, or if they spend equal amounts of time at each residence, they usually reside at the place where they are at the time of the survey.
  3. People who are in rest homes, hospitals, prisons or other institutions, usually reside where they consider themselves to live, and this may include the institution.
  4. A person whose home is on any ship, boat or vessel permanently located in any harbour shall be deemed to usually reside at the wharf or landing place (or main wharf or landing place) of the harbour.
  5. A person from another country who has lived in New Zealand the past twelve months, or has the intention of living in New Zealand for twelve months or more, usually resides at his or her address in New Zealand (as in external migration).
  6. People of no fixed abode have no usual residence. However, for enumeration purposes, a meshblock of usual residence is assigned to people of no fixed abode based on their location on the date of data collection. They are still recorded as having 'no fixed abode'.
  7. People who spend equal amounts of time residing at different addresses, and can not decide which address is their usual residence, usually reside at the address they were surveyed at, assuming that they are not a visitor.
  8. If none of the above guidelines apply, the person usually resides at the address he or she was surveyed at.

Residual categories

Household composition unidentifiable

This category should be used to classify households for which there is inconsistent or insufficient data to derive household composition.

Not further defined (nfd)

This is used in hierarchical classifications for responses containing insufficient detail to be classified to the most detailed level of a classification, but which can be classified to a less detailed category further up the hierarchy.

Not further defined codes are usually constructed by taking the classification code for the level to which the category is being classified and adding trailing zeros for the remainder of the code. Thus, not further defined categories always end with a "0". For example, 3200 North Africa (not further defined).

Not further defined codes can be applied to all but the bottom level of any hierarchical classification if required.

Previous titles

Not further classifiable has been used previously for this category. This is no longer a valid alternative title.


Australian Bureau of Statistics (1995). "A Directory of Concepts and Standards for Social, Labour and Demographic Statistics: Volume I", Belconnen, ACT.

Statistics New Zealand (1995). "New Zealand Standard Classification of Households and Families", Wellington.

Statistics New Zealand, "Classifications and Standards".

United Nations (1998). "Recommendations for the 2000 Censuses of Population and Housing in the ECE Region", New York.

United Nations (2006). "Conference of European Statisticians Recommendations for the 2010 Censuses of Population and Housing", Geneva.

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