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Definition: Living quarters

Population censuses - UNECE

Living quarters are defined generally as structurally separate and independent premises which either are designed for permanent human habitation at a fixed location and are not used wholly for other purposes at the time of the census or are actually used as the principal usual residence of at least one person at the time of the census (whether or not so designed, whether fixed or mobile, and whether permanent or temporary). Thus a set of living quarters may be:

(a) an occupied or vacant house, apartment, room or suite of rooms; or
(b) an occupied hut, cabin, shack, caravan, houseboat, or a barn, mill, cave or any other shelter used for human habitation at the time of the census; or 
(c) a hotel, institution, camp, etc.

The essential features of living quarters are separateness and independence. An enclosure is separate if surrounded by walls, fences, etc., and covered by a roof so that a person, or a group of persons, can isolate themselves from other persons for the purposes of sleeping, preparing and taking meals or protecting themselves from the hazards of climate and environment. It is independent when it has direct access from the street or from a public or communal staircase, passage, gallery or grounds, that is, when the occupants can come in and go out of it without passing through anybody else's accommodation.

Living quarters consist of three groups: conventional dwellings; non-conventional dwellings; and
collective living quarters.
United Nations Statistical Commission and Economic Commission for Europe, “Recommendations for the 2000 censuses of population and housing in the ECE region”, Statistical Standards and Studies, New York and Geneva, 1998