Information about the Australian Census
The Australian Census
The Australian Census (officially the Census of Population and Housing) is the largest statistical collection in Australia. It aims to accurately measure the number of people and dwellings in Australia, along with their demographic characteristics in a number of key dimensions, including age, marital status, ethnicity, language, religion, income, tenure, housing costs, education, employment and disability.
In Australia, the Census is run every 5 years, those years ending in a 1 or a 6. The most recent Census was on August 9th, 2011, and the next one will be in August 2016. The first national Census in Australia was in 1911, so the 2011 Census represents 100 years of Census-taking in Australia.
Every person in Australia on Census night is counted in the Census and expected to fill in a Census form with their individual details. Private households receive a household form with enough space for 6 individuals on it. In 2011, households had the option to fill in their Census form online, with the eCensus. Around 30% of Australian households took up this option.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics is responsible for planning and running the Census, including employing a workforce of about 43,000 field staff including Census Collectors, Area Supervisors, Field Managers and other staff undertaking the huge logistical exercise of getting a Census form to every household, ensuring they are filled in accurately and securely returning the records to the ABS for processing. ABS is committed to ensuring the confidentiality of every person’s Census record, even to the point of making random adjustments to the data output to ensure that no individual can be identified.
The primary aim of the Australian Census is to provide accurate population counts at all geographic levels, to enable the correct distribution of electorates for federal and state elections, and to provide a benchmark for the allocation of revenues from the Commonwealth to the states.
However the detailed information collected in the Census is used by a vast range of public and private sector institutions in planning and locating their services, understanding their clients or constituents, The information supports planning, administration and policy development in government, and is used by the private sector in market research, business planning, real estate etc.
At .id we are experts in the use of Census data, and believe that this enormous statistical collection is often underutilized due to the huge volume of data available.
We make Census data accessible and understandable through a range of online information tools that bring the data to life, and present it in a way to enable users to tell the story of the demographics of their area, rather than spending too much time crunching numbers.
The Australian Census is available at very detailed geographic levels and over a long time series (every 5 years) making it a powerful story-telling tool, to enable evidence-based decision making.
Access Census data for the whole of Australia in our Demographic Resource Centre.
Find out more about the Australian Census 2011 here, including release dates, analysis and commentary.