Australian Census 2011

The 2011 Australian Census of Population and Housing represents 100 years of national Census-taking in Australia. The 1911 Census was the first one after federation and the 2011 Census can provide us with 100 years of time-series, a rich data source on the changing nature of Australian society. Censuses are now conducted every 5 years in Australia, with the next one being in 2021.

2011 Australian Census – Why 9th August?

The Australian Census was a snapshot of the population for the date August 9th, 2011. Census is always conducted on a Tuesday night in winter, outside school holidays to maximise the number of people likely to be at home. All people staying in Australia on that night, excluding diplomats and their families, were required to complete a Census form.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is responsible for conducting the Australian Census. In 2011 a team of approximately 43,000 people worked on the 2011 Census field process. The majority of these are Census Collectors, who are responsible for ensuring that all households within their designated area are delivered a Census form prior to Census night and have it collected soon after. Special teams worked in remote areas, large hotels and hospitals, offshore shipping, overnight trains and buses and outback travellers to ensure maximum coverage.

The 2011 Census form had the same set of questions as the 2006 Census form, including topics such as age, marital status, ethnicity, language, religion, income, tenure, housing costs, education, employment and disability.

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.

Australian Census results release

Between September 2011 and June 2012, the ABS collated and processed the approximately 10 million Census forms, and produced the dataset for release. The release dates were as follows:

  • 1st release (about 75% of Census topics)- June 27st, 2012
  • 2nd release (the remaining more complex Census topics) – October 30th, 2012
  • 3rd release (Socio-Economic Indexes and mesh-block data) – March 2013.

While the release dates for the 2016 Australian Census results have not been officially released, they are likely to replicate the time frame above. So we are looking at the first release of the 2016 census to occur around mid 2017 – we will update our sites to reflect the exact dates once they are announced by the ABS so stay  tuned!

2011 Census data are available at a wide range of geographic areas, from SA1s (a few street blocks in urban areas) through to the entire country. This makes it the most effective tool for understanding local population change and the characteristics of communities. .id’s products aim to make Census data accessible and understandable through a range of 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.


For more information about .id’s Census-based information tools, visit our demographic resource centre.

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