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Religion Reasons for Moving Structure of Households Sub-Distric Unpaid Work for the Suco Community Working Language

This glossary contains definitions of census terms and provides the explanations needed to understand the census results presented in tables, graphs and maps. Most definitions of entries in this glossary are based on the questions on the 2004 Census questionnaire. This is because the first step to understand a census statistic is to know how it was collected and which specific units are included.

It is expected that this glossary become a helpful document for census data users and provide them with the necessary information for a better understanding of the available census statistics.


The age of each person was obtained by asking directly for the age in years (on the last birthday). The age of babies less than one year old was recorded as 0. Regarding age groups, 0-4 years includes those who are less than 5 years old, 5-9 years includes those aged 5 years or more but less than 10 years. The 85+ group includes those 85 years or older.

Collective Households

They are dwellings where people live, on a temporary or permanent basis, but do not relate to each other to form a household; instead, provisions of living essentials are usually made by an institutional organization. Examples include convents, prisons, orphanages, hospitals, boarding schools and hotels.

Construction Materials

It refers to the predominant or most utilized material in the construction of the house, in particular walls, roof and floor.

1) External walls

  • Concrete/Brick
  • Wood
  • Bamboo
  • Corrugated Iron
  • Clay
  • Other

2) Roof

  • Wood
  • Bamboo/Thatch/Grass
  • Corrugated iron
  • Tiles
  • Asbestos
  • Other

3) Floor

  • Concrete or Tile
  • Wood
  • Soil
  • Other

Notice that the category “other”, refers mainly to temporary material.

Cultivation of Crops

It refers to all relevant crops cultivated by the household. The census question was: Does this household grow any crops, either temporary or permanent, to support the household? If yes, please tick applicable box(es) . The boxes refers to the following crops: rice, maize, cassava, vegetables, fruit (temporary) fruit (permanent), coffee, coconut, other temporary crops, other permanent crops.

Current Economic Activity

This term refers to the classification of the population into the economically active (in the labor force) and the not economically active (not in the labor force). The former comprises people who furnish the supply of labor for the production of goods and services during the reference time period chosen for the census. The latter refers to those persons who did not participate in the labor force during the reference time period and if they were unemployed, did not search for a job. These two categories are then sub-divided as follows:

1) In the Labor Force:

  1. Government. This activity includes individuals directly employed by national, district government agencies, and sub-district that receive wage compensation for their jobs.
  2. UN. Individuals that are employed by the United Nations or one of its affiliated agencies
  3. NGO. The employees of a non-governmental organization devoted to achieving public rather than private objectives. Persons doing volunteer work for NGO’s are also included.
  4. Private Industry. Individuals employed in market-driven, for-profit industries.
  5. Self-Employed. Individuals who operate their own independent enterprises, with or without hiring employees. Also includes persons engaged independently in trade.
  6. Subsistence Farming/Fishing. In the case of farming, refers to a mode of agriculture in which a plot of land is held, though not necessarily owned by a single family that produces only enough food to feed itself. Favorable weather can allow the subsistence farmer to produce a surplus, which can be sold or bartered. Subsistence fishing, is a mode of economic activity in which a family owns full or a significant share of a boat used to fish for sufficient quantities to feed itself. Favorable circumstances can allow the subsistence fisher to harvest a surplus, which can be sold or bartered. In cases where female members of the household do not work outside the dwelling but are involved in the household efforts towards subsistence farming and/or fishing, they were coded as subsistence farmers/fishers rather than home duties.
  7. Looking and Available. Persons not currently employed, but who are currently looking for work and are available to start working.

2) Not in the Labor Force:

  1. Student. A person who is attending a formal educational institution as a full-time student and is not currently working (although he/she may have, or be looking for, part-time employment).
  2. Home Duties. Individuals who are occupied with daily tasks associated with home life in their own household.
  3. Retired/Too Old. This category is for people not seeking work because of their age.
  4. Sick/Disabled. Individuals who are unable to participate in the work force because of a disability or sickness.
  5. No Work Available. A person who may be available to work and who may have attempted to find work in the past, but who is not now looking for work because they consider none to be available.
  6. Other. A person not in the work force who has not worked and has not sought work, and who does not fit into any of the other “Not in the Labor Force” categories.

De Facto Population

All the people present in the dwelling on the night of the census or all who passed the night there.

De Jure Population

It is the population who usually live in the dwelling regardless of where they passed the night of the census.

Degree of Literacy

It is the capacity of a person to read and write, or any combination thereof as informed by the interviewee.


The district was the main administrative division of Timor-Leste during the 2004 census. The country is divided into 13 districts. At present, the main division is the region . The country is divided into 5 regions.

District of Enumeration

It refers to the place where the person was counted on census day.

District of Residence

It is the place where the person lived on the day of the census.


It is a structure which is intended to have people live in it. There are three types of dwellings: private, hotels and institutions.

Educational Attainment

It refers to the highest grade completed within the most advanced level attended in the educational system. The following levels were considered in the questionnaire:

  1. Primary School
  2. High School
  3. Received Diploma from High School (either Junior or Senior)
  4. Tertiary Education
  5. Received University Degree or Certificate

Head of Household

Is the person identified by other members of the household as such.


It is defined as one or more persons residing in the same dwelling, and who make common provision for food and other essentials for living.

Household Size

It is the number of members of the household. Sometimes it is convenient to distinguish between adult members (older than 6 years or older than 14 years) and child members in order to differentiate the effect of fertility from the effect of household complexity on household size. The latter is the tendency of the adult population to form their own household as opposed to residing in someone else’s household, usually a relative.


Refers to the activity of the establishment in which an economically active person worked during the reference time period or where he worked previously, if the person is unemployed. Activity of the establishment means the kind of goods or services produced.


It is a dwelling that accommodates an institutional household.

Language Capability

This term has two meanings. In the tables related to language it is considered as the capacity to speak, read or write or in any combination thereof, any or all of the official and working languages, as informed by the interviewee. In the tables related to education and literacy, the term is used in a restricted sense, referring only to the capacity to speak a language.

Main Occupation

It refers to the type of work done during the reference time period by the person employed, or the type of work done previously, if the person is unemployed. The two-digit International Standard Classification of Occupations code was used.

Marital Status

It is the personal status of each individual in relation to the marriage laws or customs of the country. The categories included in the 2004 census are the following:

  1. single (never married)
  2. married (legal, traditional or de facto unions)
  3. widowed (and not remarried)
  4. divorced (and not remarried)
  5. separated.

Mental disability (mentally ill)

Limitation(s) in the kind or amount of activities that a person can do because of ongoing difficulties due to a long-term mental condition

Mother Tongue

It is the language usually spoken in the individual’s home in his or her early childhood.

Number of Children Ever Born

It is the total number of children that a woman declared to have had and that have been born alive (stillbirths should not be included).

Number of Living Children

It is the total number of children that a woman declares to have had and is alive by the time of the census

Number of Women Reporting Birth in the Past Year

It is the number of women who reported to have had a birth between 11 July 2003 and 11 July 2004.

Official languages

The official languages of Timor Leste are Portuguese and Tetum (Article 13, No. 1, Constitution of the People’s Republic of Timor Leste).

Ownership Category

Five ownership categories were included in the census questionnaire:

  1. Individual and/or Family Owned Property
  2. Community or Suco Owned Property
  3. Government Owned Property
  4. Church Property
  5. Other

It is important to note that due to the current status of property legislation in Timor-Leste, it is extremely difficult to conclusively prove that an individual is in sole possession of a particular property. Thus this question pertains more to perception of ownership and provides an approximate idea of how many households and individuals live in each category of dwelling.

Ownership of Livestock

The absolute number of each species of animal by a household for use or profit as of census day: chicken, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, cattle and buffalo. Because it is known that in Timor-Leste individuals frequently share ownership of livestock, this item may exaggerate the absolute numbers owned. The information, does however, provide an enhanced sense of where certain species of livestock are more prevalent.

Permanent Disability (physical disability)

Limitation(s) in the kind or amount of activities that a person can do because of ongoing difficulties due to a long-term physical condition.

Place of Residence at a Specified Date in the Past

The subdivision, or the foreign country, in which the individual resided at a specified date preceding the census. In the 2004 questionnaire two dates were included: January 1999 (5 years prior to the census) and July 2002 (2 years prior to the census).


Most of the tables in this publication include residents of the entire territory of Timor-Leste who were in the country on the census day (11 July 2004). This is the de facto population, that is, the people enumerated where they are found on census day, which includes residents absent from the country between 48 hours and 1 year, in addition to residents present on census day.

Primary School-Age Children

The age group children are supposed to attend primary school. In Timor-Leste it is from 6 to 11 years of age.

Private Dwelling

A dwelling that accommodates a private household

Private Household

The definition of private household is the same as household. The term private is used specifically to differentiate between private and collective households.

Relationship to head of household

It refers to the relation of each of the residents of a private household to the person allocated to the role of head of the household. The following categories were included in the 2004 census:

  1. Head of Household
  2. Wife/Husband
  3. Daughter/Son
  4. Stepchild/Adopted Child. The former is the natural/adopted child of the only partner in a marriage or the factor relationship. The latter is a non-biological related child that is considered to be a permanent addition to the family unit. Also included in this category are orphans/foster children held in custody by members of the household
  5. Daughter-in-Law/Son-in-Law
  6. Mother/Father
  7. Sister/Brother
  8. Grandchild
  9. Grandparent
  10. Other Relatives. Included in this category are aunts, uncles, cousins and other members of the extended family that have established their permanent residence in the household in question.
  11. Unrelated. This category is applicable to other members of the household which are of no relation to any other member in the household. This may include persons such as servants, friends and paying and non-paying lodgers.


This item refers to religious affiliation or belief. The following religions were considered in the 2004 census: Catholic, Islam, Buddhist, Hindu, Protestant/Evangelical, Traditional, Other.

Reasons for Moving

This item corresponds to a direct question on the reasons for moving, which was asked of all migrants. The question was placed after the question on residence in January 1999 and also after the question on residence in July 2002: If you moved from there, why did you move? The alternatives were: work, education, marriage, family moved, return to family land, violence, more secure, temporary housing, and other. These questions represent an attempt to determine motivation as perceived by the migrant and should be considered with caution in any analysis of migration determinants or causes.

Structure of Households

  1. It refers to a combination of household size and relationships among household members. The following types of household structures are included in the tabulations:
  2. One-Person Household
  3. Nuclear Family Household, which consists entirely of a single family nucleus that could be a married couple with or without children, a father with children, or a mother with children
  4. Extended Households, which form into one of the following arrangements: (a) a single family nucleus with other relative(s) only; (b)two or more family nuclei related to each other without any other person; (c) two or more family nuclei related to each other plus other person(s) related to at least one of the nuclei; and (d) two or more persons related to each other, none of whom constitute any family nucleus
  5. Composite Households, which are all those households consisting of a family and one or more non-family members or two or more persons that are not related to each other.


Each district is split into between 3 to 7 sub-districts.

Unpaid Work for the Suco Community

The sum of days in the previous month (June 12 to 11 July, 2004 inclusive) that the adults of the household (15 years of age and older) spent completing activities and tasks for the benefit of the community. These activities could include working the communal suco land (community farming), repairing irrigation systems, roads, or public infrastructure, preparing for local ceremonies and any activities associated with the church.

Working Language

The working languages of Timor-Leste are English and Indonesian. They have been approved in the Constitution to allow for working communication purposes until such time as the official languages, Portuguese and Tetum, are fully integrated (Article 159, Constitution of the People’s Republic of Timor-Leste).